September 8, 2005


Shi'ite supremacists emerge from Iran's shadows (Special Correspondent, 9/09/.05, Asia Times)

When mild-mannered former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami lashed out in a post-election sermon at the "powerful organization" behind the "shallow-thinking traditionalists with their Stone-Age backwardness" currently running the country, it became clear that Iran's political establishment is worried by the ideology propelling the government of new hardline President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Khatami's attack coincides with mounting evidence that a radically anti-Bahai [1] and anti-Sunni semi-clandestine society, called the Hojjatieh, is reemerging in the corridors of power in Tehran. The group flourished during the 1979 revolution that ousted the Shah and installed an Islamic government in his place, and was banned in 1983 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the revolution.

Khomeini objected to the Hojjatieh's rejection of his doctrine of velayat-e faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) and its conviction that chaos must be created to hasten the coming of the Mahdi, the 12th Shi'ite imam. Only then, they argue, can a genuine Islamic republic be established.

"Those who regarded the revolution, during Imam Khomeini's time, as a deviation, are now [wielding] the tools of terror and oppression," Khatami was reported as saying at a speech in the conservative northeastern town of Mashhad, the same location chosen by Ahmadinejad to convene the first meeting of his cabinet.

"The shallow-thinking traditionalists with their Stone-Age backwardness now have a powerful organization behind them," he said, in what was interpreted as an indirect reference to the Hojjatieh society.

Such shallow Stone Age thinking is the key to our system and the separation of Church and State--the future of Shi'a republicanism depends on these ideas but also on a recognition that rather than chaos what precedes the 12th Imam is a period of necessarily imperfect rule by the people.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 8, 2005 6:04 AM
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