Iran showing fastest scientific growth of any country - Page 4

October 13th, 2010  
Micha, how can you be so sure about that? You tell us this like you are sure.

I dont tell you so to contradict you or anything, but just that a democracy dont have to be secular at all cost.

You can use a religion as a constitution. And Islam isnt like christianity or anything, it's a system of laws. It's not a religious delirium, it's a system of law.

And Islam is thought as a democracy. First, you have the principle of "shoura" where Muslims are asked to look for opinions in the community and to hear them.

And they have a parliament. They just call it mosque and it's regional. They gather in a mosque 5 times a day for a prayer, but also to discuss political matters.
To take decision and by working together.

Here, you have debate and a parliament.

And they have elected representatives. They call them "Emirs". Leaders chosen to lead in a well defined project. And if you dont want to follow them, it's your damn right.

And here you have individual freedom. And for minorities, there is no "nation" concept, they can start their own societies and they wont be attacked by Muslims (who cant open hostilities) unless they responding to an attack.

And if it's not enough, you have the concept of "Harram" (double R), it's your home, your sanctuary, you property, your castle, where you can live as you want without anybody telling you how to live inside your home. And if you have neighbors, you can share property and open a new society inside a Muslim society.

Well... In fact, by looking on the Islamic law on the paper. It works very well as a democracy.

I said on paper ^^ Arabs are poor Muslims, and when they mix their laws with the concept of Nations where there is one law for everybody in the territory... Things get messy...

This is problem mankind is having, a wise guy can come and put a working system on the paper, but a few centuries ago, the people who will follow this system will change things... And then, the equilibrium will change.

And I dont believe that democracy is total freedom... The right to do everything you want. We need freedom, but we also need limits. We can have everything we need, but not everything we want. And we have to work hard to reach it.

Are you aware that from the Muslim side, they look at the western world with the same arguments? They say that the system is failing, that every country we have is a corrupt country where people care more about money and what is material than moral values?

We have a lot of things to learn from the Islamic world. We start to notice these things when it comes to our financial system. We believed for years that everything is good to make money, until the system started crashing, and then we noticed that the Financial system based on Islamic values are still holding their ground even with this world crisis...

It's a very complex subject... And if you try to read some Muslim scholars, and I mean free minds who tell the truth and not official versions to please corrupt authorities (governments and such)... You will see that the educated Muslims are working hard in changing things. They share our values. They believe in human rights and they believe in individual freedoms.

And let's not forget that the Western world dont want to see these countries liberate themselves... We dont want to see the Saudis develop into a fine society, we love these corrupt retards buying expensive cars...

We dont want them to turn into a free people working efficiently to protect their interests...
October 14th, 2010  
I don’t think we will ever agree on Islam as a form of government. It seems to me perfectly as a management of a tribal culture but as a form of government by an advanced society is not working.

I don’t believe that there is much we can learn from Islam. I believe that democracy as we see it in the Western world has given us the prosperity we have, after all. For better or worse. Democracy is not the same as total freedom - you are right. There must obviously be some limitations on what you can do and that’s why we have the law but this law must be written by man and not as one given by a divine being.

I often talk with Muslims on my age on many things and also about Islam as a form of government and not only with moderate Muslims but also with fundamentalist Muslims, so I know well the different interpretations and views about Islam and as you probably know, Muslims do not always agree on how they perceive their religion.

I closely work with a group of Muslims who describe themselves as democratic Muslims who believe that one has to separate state and region if you want to prosper in the Muslim countries. One of the things they point out is the lack of education of the population that gives the power elite (politicians and clergy) a free hand to control the people as they please. The more educated and enlightened people are, the harder it becomes for them with the power to deceive the people.

I think we should close the debate now. We’ve been around the most. Otherwise we can always start a new thread. And I must tell you that it is nice that we can disagree and debate without we call each other bad names. Let’s continue with this.

Cheers from Micha.

Salut particulier à ma douce amie LeMask
October 25th, 2010  

Topic: The Ayatollahs' Democracy: A Look at Iran's Inner Workings

Iranian-American writer Hooman Majd attempted to demystify some of the West's preconceived notions about Iran in his 2008 book The Ayatollah Begs to Differ. His new book, The Ayatollahs' Democracy, delves into the workings of the country's politics. Its insights may startle Americans who think of Iran purely as a fundamentalist Islamic state fronted by the demagogic firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Majd spoke to TIME about his work, what an Islamic democracy looks like and why we should all look beyond the labels.
How would you define what an Islamic democracy is?
The definition of an Islamic democracy is very different if you ask [different Iranian clergy members]. In my opinion, it's a democracy which takes precedence over religious law. But Iran is still a religious society. That doesn't mean people want people to be stoned for adultery. It doesn't mean people want people's hand to be chopped off for stealing. It just means they have Islam as a guide. Though that, unfortunately, in some cases, means certain things that are not comfortable for Americans. For example, gay rights do not exist under Islam.

You hemmed and hawed about the book's title after the brutal crackdown that followed Iran's 2009 elections. Why did you decide to keep it?
When I first thought about the book, I certainly did believe Iran was on the path to democracy, and being in Iran for the campaign season, it seemed even closer to democracy than even I had imagined. It became obvious that this was something fleeting and illusory, but I felt like [the elections] were actually very good for Iran and the future of its democracy because they really did end up showing where the regime has gone wrong and where Islamic democracy has gone wrong — particularly because so many clerics came out against what happened, both in the election itself and in the aftermath.

So, in a way, the titles of both books hinge on the idea of there being debate among the country's religious leaders?
What I was trying to get across with the first title is that Iran is not this monolithic political system, it's not homogenous in its thinking. It's not North Korea, it's not Cuba, it's not an absolute dictatorship. The ayatullahs do have a tremendous amount of power, but they do disagree with each other. This book is much more about the political culture of Iran. For people who are interested, I certainly think that in times of conflict, when we're told that we have an enemy, it is important for us to understand who that enemy is — and if it is, indeed, an enemy. If we don't understand what the political culture is, then we will ultimately make the wrong decisions, and that can affect American citizens.

Do you get a feeling for how much Americans understand that Iran is, politically and culturally, at odds with much of the Sunni Arab world?
I don't think Americans, by and large, understand that at all. The differences dawned on Americans, probably even the American Administration, after the invasion of Iraq, so that's a relatively recent understanding. Shias and Sunnis hate each other, and it's a hatred that goes back centuries. Certainly the way the media presents Iran, it just seems like it's a fundamentalist Muslim state.

You liken Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Can you elaborate on their similarities?
The connection is that they like to be these blowhards who tap into a certain kind of dissatisfaction among their supporters. It's very cynical in my mind. It's a politician's move. [People like Beck and Palin] are fundamentalists when it comes to religion — as is Ahmadinejad. None of them are in the clergy — and neither is Ahmadinejad. And Ahmadinejad, you have to take what he says with a grain of salt, and I think one has to take what Sarah Palin says with a grain of salt, or Rush Limbaugh or any of those people. The kind of incendiary rhetoric that all of these people employ is calculated, and we have to bear that in mind.

At a recent event, you said that Ahmadinejad was trying to engage the U.S. "in his own wacky way" by challenging Obama to a debate in August. What does that mean?
I think President Ahmadinejad would very much like to see a normalization of relations, if not an alliance, with America. Very few Iranians want to see this heightened conflict between America and Iran, which has been going on for 30 years. It's affected the economy. It's affected people's lives. It's not comfortable. And Ahmadinejad recognizes that, but he would like to be the person who can be the hero and say, "I was able to talk to the United States without giving in." The hard-liner accusation has always been that reformers would give up too much in order to have relations. So his [position] is, "I want to engage, but as equals, not as a subservient power."

You often speak for the feelings of Iranians. Being well-connected in Iran and growing up abroad, do you encounter resentment for explaining how they feel?
I've gotten some resentment, but the vast majority of feedback I've gotten has been very positive. I do get criticism from [those in] the Iranian diaspora who are active in trying to overthrow the Islamic Republic. Those people hate me. But I'm a writer. I'm not an activist. I just try to observe, to see what's really going on in Iran. I try to see and talk to as many people as I can. Despite that, I never claim to be able to say, with absolute certainty, "This is what the Iranian people want."

What's the one thought you hope Americans take away from the book?
Iran is not as simple as we imagine it to be. The Iran-American equation is not as simple as we imagine it to be. In this age of instant-gratification media, sound bites, headlines, of being just inundated with information on a subject that is important, like Iran, it's important for Americans to understand that it's not exactly what we imagine it to be. Let's consider a different view, outside of the sound bites, outside of the hyperbole. Who are these Iranians? What is it that they want? What is it that they're trying to accomplish? If you can take something away from my book, it's that it's complicated.,00.html
October 25th, 2010  
Justice, a great post and the points are very apposite. What is needed is action over rhetoric and individuals willing to tackle current issues without rehashing the past. Are those people around? I don't know, but as my wife says to me - "keep doing what you're doing and you'll get the same result as you did last time".
Our big problem in the West, is that Iran is closed to us, so we rely on news agencies; to whom the country is mostly closed and politicians - who have their own agenda; for information. Hopefully we can start to move beyond preconceptions and more into the realm that challenges the status quo and the standard "embargo" response to difficult situations.

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