Edward Stourton asks if a battle over theology could help bring about the end of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The demonstrations have been suppressed and the president is still in power, so has the storm that blew up in Iran after this summer's elections been stilled? Far from it, and now the opposition is coming from where you'd least expect. Some of the country's top theologians and clergymen think that President Ahmadinejad is doing grave damage to the standing of Islam and they want him out.
The programme features an e-mail interview with Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri, who in July issued a fatwa calling the country’s rulers “usurpers and transgressors”.
Below are some background links on clerical dissent mostly collected from earlier Iran posts.
Translations from the words of dissident cleric Mohsen Kadivar: On the Role of the Leader, and Where are the Ayatollahs? An excerpt:
Which Islam? The Black Islam or the Green Islam? The Islam of Ayatollah Montazeri or the Islam of Ayatollah Khamenei? the Islam of Mousavi or the Islam of Jannati? The Islam of Mesbah Yazdi or the Islam of Sanei?More.
There’s a world of difference here, do not put everything under one category. The ruling system in Iran has behaved tyrannically in the name of Islam, that’s a correct assessment and those who have suffered the most are these Muslims themselves.
Consider this: Iranian Christians in Tehran have their own churches, but Sunni Muslims in Tehran, in Mashad, in Qom, in Tabriz, … they are not allowed to have their own mosques. Dervish Iranians are not permitted to have places of worship in religious cities in Iran, like in Qom, in Mashad. These are Muslims. We have Jewish synagogues, but as a Sunni Muslim or Dervish Muslim, we can not have our own places of worship.
Or consider this, I have the same religion and same faith as these gentlemen [Shia Islam], but I don’t agree with their stance on anything. If I want to go for the Fetr or Ghorban prayer, if I want to go for Friday prayer, I have no place to go in Tehran. In the Shah’s time, Ayatollah Taleqani had his own mosque, Hedayat Mosque. In the Islamic Republic, we do not have an inch of space for ourselves. They’ve turned all mosques into government and state mosques.
This is the way this system treats the Muslims, the Shi’a Muslims, the Sunni Muslims, the dervish Muslims.
Defending the Islamic Republic by Any Means?! Translation of an article by cleric Mohammad Motahari.
Clerical Leaders Defy Ayatollah on Iran Election, New York Times, 4 July.
Iran Arrests Children of Dissident Clerics, New York Times, 15 September.
Christopher Hitchens on the connectivity between Shi’ite dissent in Iran and Shi’ite clerics in Iraq.
Reject the rule of the dead, on Iraqi cleric and parliamentarian Iyad Jamal Al-Din.
The Ayatollahs Love to Write Letters, and Pedestrian runs to keep up.