The Soul of Islam is at Stake in Iran

And hence so is global peace.

Andrew Sullivan said something today that completely blew me away:

[T]he use of the Koran in resisting oppression of this kind, now confirmed all over the place, strikes me as a vital gesture. It puts the lie to the idea that Islam is not, at its core, a religion of peace, however hijacked by the fundamentalists and fascists. It is of a part with the color green and the cries into the night of Allah O Akbar. In this pitched battle, there is also a struggle for the soul of Islam. It is so so heartening to see decent people fighting back to reclaim their faith. Without these Muslims, the world will know no peace.

The gestures of nonviolence offered by the protesters, and their appropriation of Gandhi, accompanied by their Islamic religious expression, must necessarily give lie to the idea that Islam in action is necessarily a religion of violence, and not one that can be sympatico  with peace and nonviolence. This is an important thing to remember from this historic moment. The Iranian regime’s current band of clerics need not be indicative of Islam’s future. Like Martin Luther King, a Christian who saw in the Hindu Gandhi an ally in the practice of humane religion, so Muslims in Iran today are allying in their spirits with Gandhi against their clerics, and using their Korans to justify it.

Think about that, and the breakdown of stereotypes it suggests about the nature of Islam, and of Muslim openness to the non-Muslim world, and the way that Muslims read their own scriptures. Fundamentalism need not own the flag of Islam, nor the Koran, and the people in the streets of Iran this past week suggests that it doesn’t.  

Please visit Sullivan’s blog this weekend and follow his exceptional Iran coverage. His blog is functioning right now as a kind of clearing house for up-to-date Iran information and links.

Here’s an Iranian protester holding up a saying of Gandhi:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Election-Protests-Jun17-7thTir-Tehran29


About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to The Soul of Islam is at Stake in Iran

  1. odienk says:

    well i hve to say, that this pooster look very ” intuitive”

  2. realy i also think that Mahatma has said Excellent

  3. +93799005096 is my mobile number send your Idea

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