Sunday, July 03, 2005

Iran Ready To Take On Western World
Arab News Reports

In this article from Arab News, we learn that the new Iranian President is truly a hardliner Islamist. Apparently, the Mullahs have just been fooling around all these years. Now, they intend to get serious:

It may take some time before the shock caused by the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the sixth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran is absorbed. But one thing is already clear: The election signals the beginning of the first major shift in the balance of power within the Khomeinist regime since 1981.

Rafsanjani and Khatami have tried to portray Ahmadinejad as an uneducated street lout. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, Ahmadinejad is the best-educated president that the Khomeinist republic has had so far.
Ahmadinejad attended the Science and Industry University, one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Iran, and ended up earning a Ph. D. in civil engineering.

Ahmadinejad is a sincere Islamist. And in that he is at an opposite pole from Rafsanjani and Khatami, confused men who never managed to decide what they actually believed in. Ahmadinejad proudly describes himself as a “fundamentalist” (usuli) while Khatami and Rafsanjani have treated the term as an insult and tried to sell themselves as “moderate”, a meaningless term in a totalitarian regime.

Ahmadinejad’s victory represents the defeat of a political and philosophical current that has been present in the Khomeinist movement from the start.

Known as “Iltiqati” (hybrid), the current represents mullas and politicians who see Islam as an instrument of achieving power rather than a model for society. Mahdi Bazargan, Khomeini’s first prime minister, was an “iltiqati” as was Abol-Hassan Banisadr, the first president under the ayatollah. Rafsanjani and Khatami were also “iltiqati”, albeit each in his own way.

But what does iltiqatism, to coin a phrase, actually mean? It means someone who wants to have his cake and eat it. Under the Shah it meant the use of religion as a means of mobilizing the masses of the poor and illiterate against the regime.

After the fall of the Shah the various branches of iltiqatism tried to reduce Islam to the level of a décor behind which they could build their various “ideal” systems. Part of the history of the past quarter of a century consists of the war between Khomeinism and iltiqatism in its different versions, the last of which was represented by Khatami.

Iltiqatism is secretly convinced that the ideal Islamic society either does not exist or would be impossible to build in a world long shaped by Western ideas and experiences. Islam, therefore, should be retained only as the ideological façade behind which a largely Western-style society, minus some of its individual liberties, is built.

The iltiqatis believe that while they and their own children should live a largely Westernized life, the masses should continue stewing in the juice of poverty and ignorance in the name of religion. The iltiqati sends his own children to Europe or America to study but insists that the children of the masses attend Qur’anic school and be protected against “Western corruption”.

All in all the iltiqati lacks the courage of his claimed convictions. When faced with the contemporary world, which is anything but Islamic, he suffers from a deep inferiority complex. He tries to get round this by using the Islamic label for the Western ideas and methods that he is forced to adopt.
He speaks of “Islamic democracy” and” Islamic physics”, although he knows that the adjective cannot modify the noun.

The iltiqati attends the Davos Forum in Switzerland and pretends to be as “modern” as any Western politician or business executive. He loves traveling around the globe to talk about Hegel and Nietzsche to prove that, despite his beard and turban, he is as versed in Western philosophy as an undergraduate in Frankfurt.

Ahmadinejad, however, represents the “usuli” current. He has no inferiority complex toward the West and is sincerely convinced that Islam alone offers a blueprint for the perfect society.

He says that men and women can never be equal although this does not mean that women should not have rights or be respected.
He does not hide behind labels such as “Islamic democracy”. Instead, he states that Islam, which represents perfection, is incompatible with democracy that is, by definition, imperfect.

Rafsanjani and Khatami claim that Ahmadinejad wants to create a Taleban-style system in Iran. Nothing is further from the truth. Ahmadinejad is no mulla Muhammad Omar and Iran is not Afghanistan. What Ahmadinejad shares with Mulla Omar is the belief that a non-Western, largely Islamic, method of organizing society is possible. Omar built his version and Ahmadinejad, if given a chance, would try to build his.

Ahmadinejad ‘s election is good news for all concerned, if only it clarifies the situation. Having tried to dodge the inevitable duel between Islamism and democracy, the Khomeinist regime, by propelling Ahmadinejad into the presidency, declares its intention to take the modern, Western-dominated, and “utterly corrupt” world head on.

Let's be clear about one thing. It is impossible to create an Islamist society, devoid of any Western influence which is at the same time a sophisticated, scientifically-advanced culture. Mr. Ahmadinejad may have a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from an Iranian University, but any sophistication he may have comes from Western influence.

The fact is, Islamist society destroys scientific thought. The proof is in the utter lack of progress achieved in Islamic countries. There are 21 countries which make up what is known as the Arab World. Here are some facts about the state of progress in those 21 countries, as presented by the United Nations Development Program:

  • No Arab country spends more than 0.2 percent of its gross national product on scientific research, and most of that money goes toward salaries. By contrast, the United States spends more than 10 times that amount.

  • Fewer than one in 20 Arab university students pursue scientific disciplines.

  • There are only 18 computers per 1,000 people in the Arab world. The global average is 78 per 1,000.

  • Only 370 industrial patents were issued to people in Arab countries between 1980 and 2000. In South Korea during that same period, 16,000 industrial patents were issued.

  • No more than 10,000 books were translated into Arabic over the entire past millennium, equivalent to the number translated into Spanish each year.

These statistics give the lie to the idea that Mr. Ahmadinejad, and the Khomeinist regime, can build an Islamic society, devoid of any Western influence, which is not like the Taliban. The Taliban is the ultimate Islamist society. And the Taliban is the reason we need to end this Islamist fascism which reigns in the Arab world today