June 2, 2014


Rouhani Mocks His Critics, Reactionary Clerics (Arash Karami, 6/02/14,Al-Monitor)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded today against critics who have publicly reprimanded him for saying that "heaven cannot be forced" onto people. He also compared some of the clerics opposed to change to the reactionary clerics who were also once opposed to private showers and daylight savings on the grounds that it would harm religion. 

"Some people seriously have nothing better to do," Rouhani said May 31 during a speech in front of environmental officials, without addressing his critics by name. "They have no work, no profession, they are with delusions. They are incessantly worried about people's religion and the afterlife. They know neither what religion is nor the afterlife, but they're always worried," Rouhani added to applause. [...]

Rouhani said that technological advancements have been good but have also brought challenges. But he also mocked reactions of some of the clergy to these changes. He joked that when Iran's traditional-style public baths were eliminated in favor of showers, many clerics argued that "half of religion would be destroyed." He laughed, and said he was in Qom during this change and remembers the commotion over it. 

In continuing his attacks, laughing intermittently at his own comments, Rouhani said, "There were two great events in Qom during those years. One was the bath becoming a shower, a tragic event in the minds of some, and the other was when they wanted to change the time, winter and summer hours. They said that this was to 'eliminate religion.' They said, 'How will we know noon prayers?' Well, how did we know until then? We used to pray at 12:15, now we pray at 1:15, will something happen?" 

Rouhani also made it clear that he would not use his administration to promote religious activities but rather would facilitate religious activities that are initiatives of the people. "A religious government is a very good thing, but a governmental religion, I don't know, we need to discuss that," Rouhani said. "We must not give religion to the administration, religion is in the hands of experts themselves, the clerics, the seminaries, the specialists. It is them who have to propagate religion, the administration must support them, help them, all of this is right." 

Posted by at June 2, 2014 6:36 PM

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