by Mohammad Baqer Ansari (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 34, No. 1, Muharram, 1426)
After fifteen years of endeavour against the US-supported regime of the Shah in Iran, under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (ra), the Iranian people were finally successful in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution of Iran proved victorious.
In the dawn of this important historical event, the two contemporary schools of kufr thought, namely communism and liberal democracy, both came out completely against it. This was why one of the main slogans of the Revolution was “Not east, not west, but Islamic republic” (derived from ayah 24:33 of the Holy Qur’an). The object of the revolution was to create a model Islamic system to stand in contrast to the existing systems of kufr, to save human beings from cruelty, corruption and ignorance.
Although Islamic Iran was immediately challenged by the two dominant secular schools of thought, the challenge was not primarily ideological, but political, military and economic. Communism, however, was already on the verge of collapse in the Soviet Union, after 70 years, because of the lack of its competence and its incompatibility with the nature of human beings and human societies. With the decline and collapse of communism, western liberal democracy considered itself victorious and thought that it could dominate the whole globe without challenge. Only the Islamic Revolution in Iran presented an alternative, Islam as a progressive school of thought and as a way of life that has attracted attention of many people all over the world, even inside western societies.
For years, the West deliberately built up a positive image of liberal democracy by proclaiming ideals such as freedom, human rights, respect for laws, universal civilization, and so on. Despite its blatant double standards in these issues, in both western countries and others, they largely succeeded in maintaining the claim to being the best model and philosophy for the life of all peoples, although ordinary people all over the world knew better. But after the events of September 11, 2001, and the Bush administration’s declaration of war against “terrorism”, liberal democracy was cracked and its real nature exposed.
There is no need to remind people of the things that are happening in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at Guantanamo, or of the daily realities of events in Palestine and elsewhere. All these are well known to the supporters of democracy. There is also no need to mention the barbaric deeds of the exporters of democracy in Iraq, such as the trade in the organs of wounded Iraqis, western democracies have never followed the international laws and conventions of war in their own wars against other countries. The USA’s use of its atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan has been followed by the use of abnormal weaponry in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan recently. During the Iraqi-imposed war on Iran, Saddam Hussain used chemical weapons provided by western countries.
The conclusion that millions of people have rightly reached is that the greatest gifts that the liberal democracies have given people have never been anything but cruelty, corruption, war, debauch and lechery. The result is that today human beings all over the world live in a situation defined by fear, decadence, immorality and terrorism.
Today, the USA cannot deny the appalling consequences of the export-by-war of its so-called democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq. The world is watching the spread of the cultivation of opium all over Afghanistan, and the daily bloodshed and terror in Iraq. It is clear to all that America is interested only in promoting its own interests, without paying the slightest attention to the rights or interests of other peoples. Who knows the full cost of the American invasion of Iraq – how many barrels of Iraqi oil, and how much of its national resources, have been transferred to the USA during its occupation of the country, quite apart from the mass killing of ordinary Iraqi people, including children, old men and women.
The problem is that the exporters of liberal democracy are utter absolutists. They are of the opinion that only they themselves are the arbiters of what is right and correct. They believe that all other peoples and nations of the world, if they do not agree with the Western liberal democrats, are wrong and ignorant, and they must be made to do as they are told. Meanwhile, we see the appalling situation of the western societies, the base and foothold of liberal democracy, where the foundations of family life are endangered, homosexuality is spreading, and the levels of murder and other crimes are constantly increasing.
Within their own societies too they show the same double standards, and the same lies and deceit, that they show in dealing with the other nations. When Salman Rushdie wrote his blasphemous book against Islam and Muslims, the west offered him total support him on the grounds of “freedom of expression”. The British government have spent millions of pounds on his protection, including repeatedly changing his place of residence on grounds of security. But when French writer Roger Garaudy published his book, in which he questioned the truth of the holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis during the World War II, he was sentenced by a court in Paris to a fine of 160,000 francs and a suspended nine month prison term. It is interesting that after the verdict was issued he said: “The doors of media are closed to me.”
More recently, in the USA, we have the issue of the film Fahrenheit 911, made by Michael Moore and heavily attacked because its content is not acceptable to the Bush administration. We also now find the Lebanese television channel al-Manar banned first in France and then in the USA. Is not all this inconsistent with claims to uphold the ideal of “freedom of expression”?
On the issue of “human rights”, also much-vaunted by the West, nowadays no one doubts that it is a stick used by the West against the peoples, governments and ideologies that do not agree with their policy. Everyone can see the double standards in their approach to issues of the rights of human beings in different parts of the world.
And now we also have the issue of nuclear energy. Everyone can see the way in which the West is targeting Iran, which aspires to have this technology and use it in peaceful ways, while Israel totally ignores international laws, agreements and institutions such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is left completely free to develop its nuclear weapons.
What are we supposed to learn from all of this? That only western liberal democracy is right and all other peoples’ philosophies and ideas are wrong? That all people and nations all over the world must follow them and provide them their interests? The question that arises is whether there is any alternative for other peoples to this model of western fascism and dictatorship.
Given the reality summarised here, it is perfectly clear that western liberal democracy and its armed and violent heralds have neither the will nor the ability to save human beings’ society and solve its problems. Instead, human beings and societies must turn to the divine teachings of the prophets and follow their words and commandments. The holy Qur’an says :
Indeed they who believe [Muslims], the Jews, the Christians and the Sabians – those of them who have faith in Allah and the Last Day and act righteously – they shall have their reward from their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve. . (2:62)
The message of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, which was founded and led by a pious and committed leader, namely Imam Khomeini, was precisely this. He encouraged the whole Muslim Ummah, and all the oppressed people of the world, to understand themselves, to rely on God, the Almighty, and to rise against their oppressors to achieve their rights.
The Iranian people, and many others in different parts of the world, Muslims and non-Muslims, have come to understand the realities of their situation, and turned to the Islamic movements that provide the only true leadership which has been a good model for Muslims and other oppressed peoples. One of the most important achievements of the Islamic Revolution, therefore, is the global awareness and understanding about the world powers and the policies of the oppressors that has emerged among ordinary people.
The Islamic Revolution of Iran proved that a nation is able to stand on their own feet, and to live in genuine independence, despite the opposition, anger, dollars and armaments of the global powers. It has also proved that a country is able to progress in technology, agriculture and other dimensions of modern life without Western involvement. Moreover, it has also showed clearly that a “divine democracy”, combining Islamic values and institutions with democratic institutions, can be the best philosophy for the organization and administration of the collective lives of people, for it guarantees both the moral dimension of life and scientific and technological progress.
The Islamic Revolution also proves that a country can stand against the aggression of global enemies, combining the powers of both the western and communist imperialists, as proved by Iran’s survival and successful emergence from eight years of an imposed war.
The establishment of a genuine Islamic government in Iran, which brought in Islamic laws, regulations and norms in the daily life of the Iranian people, proved that Islam, as a divine and truly progressive religion, can save the mankind from spiritual and worldly decadence. After many ups and downs in their history during the last two or three centuries, the Iranian nation, under the light of Imam Khomeini’s brilliant leadership, faced the fact that they must, for once and for all, turn away from the self-proclaimed civilisation of the western countries, based on moral corruption, illegal force, false facades and the policies of carrot and stick. It is clear that the masters of such a civilisation have never thought of the interests of the weak and oppressed; rather, they are always seeking their own interests, even though it may result in war and the mass slaughter of ordinary people. The first and second world wars are evidence of their avarice and drive for domination. They also believe that they have won a third world war, the ‘Cold War’ against communism. Now some of the US intellectuals think that they are fighting a fourth world war against Islam.
What the west calls globalisation is in truth nothing but the imposed domination of US power and western liberal democracy over the whole world. However, it should be borne in mind that historical experience and also Divine revelation both tell us that the dominance of a self-appointed and oppressive ruler can never be maintained for ever. The iron will of ordinary peoples, and resistance to imperialism, has always been a hard and rigid block against the avarice of the arrogant.
The holy Qur’an says (50:36):
How many generations have We destroyed before them, who were stronger in power than these, then they run for refuge in the lands! Could they find any place of escape? (50:36).
Numerous other ayaat offer similar warnings; see for example, 6:6, 10:13, 19:74 and 98, 20:128, 28:58, 32:26, and 43:8. The ayah quoted also reminds one of the fate of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, as he travelled fearfully from one country to another – including Egypt, Morocco, the Bahamas, Mexico, the USA and Panama – between his flight from Iran on January 15, 1979, and his death the following year.
Last but not least, it is not out of place to point out frankly that many Christians nowadays have left their religious teachings or abuse them. They, especially the Christian Zionists, are complicit in every American crime and oppression. As Bush inadvertently admitted on one occasion, they have started another crusade under the name of the “war against terrorism”. Their crimes dwarf those of the Muslims who have also gone astray and misuse Islamic teachings to justify the pursuit of their objectives by terrorist actions, something that is absolutely unacceptable to Islam.
Therefore we should call the holy prophet Jesus (as), saying: “O apostle of Allah! Today some of your followers have gone astray and they cause corruption and shed blood in the earth! May you pray for them to leave oppression, otherwise they may be destroyed!”
And we should also call to the Holy Prophet of Islam, saying: “O the Last Prophet of Allah! Some of your followers have misunderstood the teachings of Islam and have caused infamy for your religion. May you ask Almighty Allah to guide them to His right path!”
Mohammad B. Ansari,
Tehran, winter 2005 (1383 AH).