In a riff off "The Spirit of '79," Andrew Bostom points out for anyone still wondering that the protestors in Tehran are actually saying "Allahu Akbar," not -- as those who see a secularist behind every headscarf seem to think -- "I Want a Clark Bar."
Along more serious lines, Bostom goes on to respond to the Mousavi speech contained in my earlier post, a speech that stands as a paean to the noxious Ayatollah Khomeini and ends with Mousavi's stated intention to return Iran to "the pure principles of the Islamic Revolution." Bostom writes:
This depressing closed Islamic circle mindset—which still holds sway—was elucidated a century ago (in 1909) by the scholar W.H.T. Gairdner, while his candor and wisdom are absent among our contemporary elites, most` notably those suffering from Soylent Green Revolution Derangement Syndrome:
“It remains to be seen how soon the reformers will realize the account that must sooner or later be settled between real civil and religious liberty and Mohammedan sacred law or ‘Shariat’ (including the Koran, and the Traditions)…It remains to be seen… whether the zimmi [dhimmi], (non-Muslim subjects) can ever really be accorded equal rights with the Moslem in Moslem states; whether the habit of freedom can be taught; and whether the root of the whole social evil, the position of women, can be touched, while a belief in the Koran remains...But apart from the problematic future, we have the historical past:- by the confession of the entire Moslem world itself, nothing could have been more deplorable from every point of view, moral, social, intellectual, political, and even religious, than the state of all Moslem lands before the reform movement from the West agitated them. This was freely admitted at a Moslem Conference held lately at Mecca…Is this confessed failure, then, due to Islam, or is it not? All that can be said is that Islam had practically had an absolute monopoly of influence where the state of things had been brought about; and that the impulse towards change in no case sprang-apparently could not have sprung-from any purely Islamic source. These are, at least, two solid facts. The “movements” that spring from purely Islamic sources are typified by names like Abd ul Wahhab, the Mahdi, El-Senussi [Bostom notes: and one could add Khomeini!]: And these movements are movements-backwards.”
And what of Iran today? Does the protest movement emerge from secular or "Islamic sources"? So far, the evidence I have seen suggests the latter, even if practically all the US commentary insists on the former. Discussing the opposition movement a few days ago, one academic explained here "It is not meant to be anti-Islamic." Indeed, in today's Washington Post, there is further elaboration on this point from a supporter of the protest movement, Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. The Post reports:
[Ghalibaf] spoke out against official denunciations of opposition supporters as "anti-revolutionaries," a loaded term in Iran used for enemies of the state. Iranians who took to the streets June 15 "were part of the people, part of the voters, and they had doubts on the election," the Mehr News Agency quoted Ghalibaf as saying. "All of their slogans were in support of the system and the revolution, even though wrongful accusations were made about this...."
All slogans in support of the system; all slogans in support of the revolution. That doesn't sound secular, anti-regime -- or anti-Islamic. But where do the protestors' "Death to the dictator" chants fit in here among all the "Allahu Akbars"? If, as it seems, this episode proves to be an intra-islamic struggle between rival factions claiming the mantle of the revolution, "the dictator" -- presumably the Ayatollah Khameini -- now represents to Mousavi's (and Rafsanjani's) followers the "deviation" from the Islamic Revolution that Mousavi promises to correct in returning Iran to "pure principles." This whole struggle may come down to who prevails in painting the other side as "anti-revolutionary" -- again, a Stalinist tactice by way of Mecca.
As for "wrongful accusations" about the movement being anti-system and anti-revolution, Ghalibaf seems to mean accusations coming from the government. But could he also be referring to Western analysts who claim the opposition movement as anti-regime, anti-revolution, pro-secular freedom-fighters?