Saturday, May 30, 2009

Iran, Islam, "Arrogant Powers" and "Certain Expansionist Superpowers;" and Common Sense

The headline pretty much says it all: "Iran hangs 3 over mosque bombing."

Somebody set off a bomb at a mosque in southeastern Iran Thursday. Quite a few people were killed. The explosion caught worshipers commemorating the death of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Mohammed.

Turns out, the three hanged men were arrested before the explosion. They're charged with providing explosives to the actual bomber. They may have actually had something to do with the bombing. And, perhaps more to the point from their perspective, they're now dead.

Unlike American courts, Iranian justice is swift: arrested Thursday, hanged Saturday. With a trial in between.

Sunnis Killing Shiites Killing Sunnis

Jundallah or God's Brigade, said they did the bombing. The Associated Press called them "a Sunni militant group believed to have links with al-Qaida". An outsider might think it's odd that Muslims calling themselves "God's Brigade" would kill other Muslims, damaging a mosque in the process.

It makes perfect sense, though. Iran is a predominantly Shiite country. "God's Brigade" is Sunni. And, they're part of an ethnic minority in Iran: Baluchi.

Makes perfect sense: from their point of view.

As I've said before, Islam is far from a united, monolithic, bunch. The Shiite-Sunni feud was going strong when the Hatfields and the McCoys started killing each other - and from the looks of things, will be going on as long as there are Sunnis and Shiites.

- - - And it's the Fault of America

Iran's judiciary system gave names to the dead men:
  • Haji Nouti Zehi
  • Gholam Rasoul Shahoo Zehi
  • Zabihollah Naroui
Seems they were involved in several other bombings: which may be true.

The hanging gave someone named Hojatoleslam Ebrahim Hamidi a chance to say a few words:
"...Before the executions, Hojatoleslam Ebrahim Hamidi said: 'These three traitors, who smuggled in the explosives and put them at the disposal of a terrorist played a major role in the murders,' IRNA said.

"The three were hanged in public just before the funerals of the people killed in the mosque Thursday.

" 'The three were charged with waging war (against God), corruption on earth and activities against the state. They were convicted and they had confessed to their crimes, and their role in smuggling explosives into the country had been proven,' Hamidi told IRNA...." (CNN)

"...Hamidi said: 'The enemy is now trying to sow dissension among the various tribes and sects and are trying to flame the fires through terrorist acts. While the country is preparing for the 10th presidential elections, the hand of world's arrogant powers is coming out through the sleeves of a bunch of traitors who ignore even the sanctity of mosques.'..." (CNN)
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, had a few words to say on the subject:
"...'In his statement, he condemned the involvement of certain expansionist superpowers and their spying organizations in the plots against Muslim nations and between the followers of Islam's different sects and causing bloodshed among Muslim brothers in Iran and other regional countries,'..." IRNA reported. (CNN)

When in Doubt, Blame America

Looks like "certain expansionist" may have replaced "imperialist warmonger," but it's the same tired old line I've heard for about a half century now: Whatever the problem is, it's the fault of America.

Blaming America has a certain attraction. The odds are good that there's an American company, or at least an American embassy, within stone-throwing distance of trouble anywhere in the world. America's a big, powerful country: but, as North Korea has been demonstrating, remarkably slow to react violently to threats - Professor Churchill and Code Pink notwithstanding.

With Friends Like These, Does Islam Need Enemies?

As I've written before, I don't see Islam as being behind the mess in the Middle East. I think that what's happened is that a culture which was ancient when Abraham moved out of Ur added an Islamic paint job to its customs and assumptions.

For more than a thousand years, that worked just fine. For Middle Eastern men, anyway. That part of the world was isolated. If you wanted to cut off your wife's head because you were feeling out of sorts, there weren't any human rights groups around to make a fuss.

Only a few generations ago, that changed. Men who had, from time immemorial, been living in a world of burqas and beheadings were faced with Barbies, Budweiser, and civil rights. It must have been a terrible shock - and apparently still is.

I think what we're seeing is in part a culture being pulled - kicking and screaming - over several thousand years' worth of social and legal change: in a few generations.

Interestingly, Islam as practiced in places outside the Middle East doesn't seem to be quite as crazy as what we see in places like Saudi Arabia.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.