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June 27th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

"Punished mercilessly" – Is this Islam?

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Octavia Nasr
Middle East Affairs Editor

“Annihilate the rioters,” demanded one of Iran’s fundamentalist clerics during Friday prayer. He believes that the opposition “defied the orders” of Iran’s Supreme Leader, who “rules by God’s design.” Therefore, “they should be punished mercilessly." Either way, his words couldn’t be harsher or more extreme. Some would say those words couldn’t be more un-Islamic.

The word Islam means “surrender.” The entire religion is based on surrendering one’s self, speech, action and thoughts to god. When moderate Muslims hear what this Mullah has called for, they wonder which brand of Islam he is advocating.

The first pillar in Islamic faith is the declaration called “Shahda” that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet.

The first verse of every chapter in the holy Muslim book, the Quran, goes like this, “In the name of God, most merciful, most compassionate.” Devout Muslims start many of their activities or speech with these glorious words.

Where is the compassion in the Iranian mullah’s speech? Where is the Mercy?

He’s directing his wrath at his own people; their only crime was to ask for an honest vote and to insist that their votes counted in a timely presidential election. They are the ones who shouted from their rooftops every night since their demonstrations began, “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar” –God is Great. They are the ones who were denied their legal right to demonstrate so they had to defy the regime and take to the streets anyway.

They are the Iranian opposition movement, young people, mostly students, many women who were kicked and beaten in the streets; they were shot at, detained and even killed. They were called traitors and terrorists. Despite all that, they kept going out for more show offs with Iranian police and a brutal volunteer militia known as the Basij.

The Iranian regime imposed a crackdown on foreign media which made the story impossible to cover freely. The world ended up with two views of on what’s going on: The government perspective came through the state media, radio, TV, newspapers and websites. The opposition turned itself into a media outlet where everyone with a cell phone became a correspondent. They uploaded their images to video-sharing websites and interacted with the world through social media. They provided raw, unedited picture to the entire world.

Now one cleric vowing to “teach them a lesson” is a sign of more brutality and more bloodshed to come. The only difference is that when it happens, if it happens, it will be behind closed doors. We can’t count on Iranians who turned their cell phones into newsgathering machines and became the story and journalists telling it at the same time.

What tomorrow will bring them is a mystery that no one is there to witness or report on.


Filed under: Iran • Islam • Octavia Nasr
soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. Nick

    To John Fullerton and Joe Blonski: do you really think you can judge an entire group of people by the actions of a few? What of the religious conflicts in Northern Ireland and all of the terrorism carried out by the IRA? Does this mean that all Irishmen are terrorist? Then there was Scott Roeder who recently killed the abortion doctor George Tiller. Is Roeder representative of all Christians. Also, Timothy McVeigh, was he representative of all Christians? What of the so called Rev. Pat Robertson, does this hateful man speak for all Christians? I really wouldn't want people to think that he speaks for me as a Christian. I've travelled the world, including the Middle East. Get out and meet some people who are different than yourselves or from a vastly different background or culture and you will learn that people really are that different from each other.

    June 28, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  2. Jerry

    Waddaya bet Mr. and Mrs. Jackson go after Dr. Murray?

    June 28, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  3. The Infidel Alliance

    If the censors at AC 360 & this blog will let posters like Wael Doukmak reference the Koran, I would be grateful if they would afford me the same opportunity instead of deleting all of my posts.

    If this blog is to be productive, all comments should be heard even if they sting a bit, as long as they are supported by facts.

    Here is a hard truth about Islam: It is violent because its founder, Muhammed lived a violent life and demanded violence from his followers. Violence is part and parcel of Islams DNA since the Islamic year 1.

    As can be supported by Islamic sources such as the Koran, Hadith, and Sira, Muhammed murdered, decapitated, amputated, mutilated, enslaved, raped, was a paedophile, was a sex trafficker, looted and committed genocide. Aren't these the acts of an evil man, not a righteous man? Charles Manson did much the same (yet not half as bad), yet he is locked away for life in prison.

    And does the Koran support the Islamic clerics calls to “Annihilate the rioters” or that “they should be punished mercilessly” or not?

    Koran 5:33 states: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"

    This is a direct quote from the Koran, which is Allah's direct and unadulterated word. After reading this passage, is there any doubt as to the inspiration of the Iranian Islamic clerics to brutally punish the mischievious protesters?

    ~ The Infidel Alliance

    June 28, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  4. Shawn Fleming

    Let Michael rest. If anyone listen to the Dateline brief information from the doctor's atty., Please someone ask the questions; why did this doctor not have a difibulator with him?He should have had a mini hospital setup. Why would he work on him for 30 minutes before calling 911? Why won't any one sign the death certificate?Too much lost information. The public may never know. Only God and Michael. I realize his Mom's religion may not let the Jacksons reveal Michael's medical problems, and that is ok. I just wish someone somewhere on some level would just tell the truth. I am not looking for blame, but that doctor did not follow medical standards and should be held accountable for that contributing to the death. It is just such a lost.

    June 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  5. Benigna Marko

    Difficult.

    June 28, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  6. creeping

    ask Obama – he's able to recite Islamic prayer with a first rate Arabic accent & he has been surrendering the United States to the "Muslim world" since the minute he took office

    sharia is creeping in America – pay attention!!

    June 28, 2009 at 8:05 pm |
  7. Michael C,

    Yes, this is most certainly Islam. According to the Koran, Allah is only 'merciful' to those who submit to Islam totally. Those who don't should be subjucated or killed. This includes Muslims who wish to leave Islam, or who even question Islam. What's more, Islam is also a political ideology, since all laws in an Islamic state are based on the teachings of Muhammed. Therefore in the opinion of this Mullah, the protesters are questioning Islamic authority, and are subject to Allah's brutal penalties. And theologically, he's correct. This is the nature of Islam.

    June 28, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  8. James Urmetz

    They are the Iranian opposition movement, young people, mostly students...If it looks like CIA, and smell's like CIA, it is CIA....

    June 28, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Ms jepperson

    MY HEART GOES WITH JACKSONS FAMILY, it amazed me my how bunch of hypocrites media or stars can do 360 turn around and saying nice thing about michael or pay tribute to MJ. I bet those people who ruing his reputation by creating false allegations, lawyers gave him bad advised as a result of a big media circus and tarnish his image ,media brain washed the people around the world by giving them notion that he is/was guilty are now sorry or are they? why keep playing the 911 call what are you trying to proved ?no matter how much you play that tape it will not bring MJ back. Media is trying find out the truth of his death, but they did not help him to find out the truth to prove that he is inocent while he was accused of molestation in fact you all condemn him. MJ legacy is an infinitive and no one could deny that. or take it away from him, like when media took away his dignity and turn people around the world against him when he was alive. R.I.P. mr. MJ

    June 28, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  10. Steve Klein

    This piece is so disheartening.

    Octavia Nasr wrote: "The first verse of every chapter in the holy Muslim book, the Quran, goes like this, “In the name of God, most merciful, most compassionate.” Devout Muslims start many of their activities or speech with these glorious words."

    Mr. Nasr apparently has only read the first verse of chapters in the "holy" Qur'an. Allah only has mercy on the Muslim believer. For unbelievers – those who rebel against Allah's apostle and his representatives on earth (the mullahs) – and towards hypocrites Allah has no mercy. Thus the Fatwa. This is authentic Islam. I feel sorry for Octavia Nasr. He lives in self-delusion.

    June 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  11. Carol Richie

    I don't understand CNN or the other news outlets in the US that they let the Michael Jackson news take over the airways????? What happened to the Iran News?????? Michael Jackson is so irrelevant.

    – Carol

    June 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  12. Liam McNeil

    No, that is not Islam, that is called being a tyrannical despot.

    What upsets me more is the lack of any real response from both the U.S. and the U.N. It is clear to me that no amount of verbal condemnation is going to dissuade the rulers of Iran from their agendas. What no one seems to have the backbone to admit is that we are dealing with violent and psychotic people hiding behind their religion to justify their crimes. You cannot negotiate with crazy people. The threats and actions by the Iranian government warrant a response much stronger than economic sanctions and angry letters. It's time the gloves came off and Iran's government recieved a good smack upside the head and their nuclear program dismantled forcefully as punishment for their blatant attacks on their own people.

    June 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  13. y'da

    Saying one or more individual
    Represent the face of a religion
    That's practiced by more than
    Sixty percent of the planet is like
    Blaming every shore in the world
    For every dirty grain of sand on one beach

    June 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Shawn

    It seems to me that situations like this arise every couple of years. The contention of politics is difficult to understand in many cases, but Iran's Unjustifiable banning of media show's the world that they may be wanting to keep some things secret. The videos that have been sent from Iran by independents greatly deteriorate the announcements of the Iranian government and state-run media. The world should take some kind of action in sending a strong and clear message to the Iranian government that this type of behavior is unacceptable. Perhaps UN actions to dismiss Iran from General assembly for a time to settle their problems would be appropriate. It is never justified to use violence against a countries own people.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  15. Shawn

    If Iran claims to be a democratically run country, why, if there are 'irregularities' in the ballot would Moussavi's claim to have a re-election be dispelled? So much information is not being released, it's as if Iran's current regime, like Moussavi's supporters, are seeking for the sympathy of their people by taking aim at foreign diplomats. The whole situation is on the verge of an international dispute that may escalate, but hopefully not, into a war. Blatant, harsh, and deliberate slandering of foreign countries on the scale that Iran is following are nearly threatening to other countries, especially the US and UK.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  16. Florence Cumby

    If we all had the attitude of John Fullerton, there certainly wouldn't be any reason or need to strive for peace in the Middle East..I guess his next brilliant thought would be to go over there and bomb everyone., that would solve the problem???? I feel sorry for someone like Mr.. Fullerton. suggesting that all of Islam is bad and all the people who practice it. is bad. Thats a giantic statement to make,I WOULD like to know how he came to that conclusion.and back up his statement with proof

    June 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  17. Jim Rich

    We have to ask – WWMD or What Would Muhammad Do? Here are his deeds:

    1) a looter (raiding other tribes and keeping ten percent of the booty),
    2) torturer (ordering the cutting of the hands and feet of 600 Jews),
    3) rapist (having sex with a young woman the same night he had her family killed),
    4) assassin (having a pregnant mother of five killed because she criticized him),
    5) lustful (marrying his own adopted son's wife as he found her sexy) and
    6) pedophile (consummating his 'marriage' with a child she being 9, and he 53).

    Given the above – I think the Mullah's are doing exactly what Muhammad would do.

    June 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  18. Kevin

    With the detaining of westerners in Iran.....I think it's High time we step in and say .."Enough "........If not ........Then all options should be on the table............Enough is Enough.....

    June 28, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  19. Greg

    @ John Fullerton

    The very same thing can be said of Christianity. A lot of hatred, killing and disrespect of others has been done in the name of Christianity as well. But, does that mean that all Christians are hate-filled killers?

    There are extremist nuts in all religions that twist the word of God to fit their evil deeds. God's words are not at fault, it is Man's interpretation and misuse that are at fault.

    June 28, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  20. wondering

    Islam has a negative reputation everywhere in the world as an unforgiving, hateful religion.

    Many Islamic experts say that it was Muhammad himself who taught all this to his followers.

    So how do you "reform" Islam exactly? That's my honest question.

    Compare that to Christianity. It's true there are very bad people who call themselves Christians. But the bad stuff they do is against Jesus' teachings.

    In Islam, however, it seems Muhammad himself encouraged the bad behaviors.

    (Please don't bring up the Old Testament. Christians, by definition, are followers of Jesus Christ. They are supposed to follow Jesus' teachings, not anything else.

    If we want to be honest about comparing Islam with Christianity, we should compare Muhammad with Jesus as they were the founders of the faiths who laid the original teachings.)

    June 28, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  21. Too Close to Islam to publish

    This is Islam as it is practiced by the most faithful.

    Below are my thoughts of Islam and the possibility for reformation.

    1) Moderate Muslims are simply those who were born Muslim, but aren't very religious.

    2) A signification number of "rules" of Islam are coming from Sunnah (words, actions, sayings of Muhammad) and are coming from sources other than the Quran. (Most most respected inside the Islamic faith is Sahih Al-Bukhari )....

    3) A reformation of Islam: Bukhari is exactly where reformation should begin. Tearing down these rules by understanding the source, corruption, and hearsay that these "rules" are built on... The Hadith books are target number one.

    4) Islam, without reformation, is incompatible with democracy.... There is no freedom of religion (those who change there religion, kill them) -- There is no freedom of speech (read the blasphemy laws of Islamic countries, there is a religious source for these)

    June 28, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  22. The Infidel Alliance

    Koran (5:33) – "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and STRIVE TO MAKE MISCHIEF IN THE LAND is only this, that THEY SHOULD BE MURDERED or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"

    Bukhari (52:220) – Allah's Apostle (Muhammed) said... "I have been made victorious with terror"

    Islam. Muhammed. Facts.

    Res Ipsa Loquitur.

    ~ The Infidel Alliance

    June 28, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  23. Farmer

    Octavia,

    I'm certain that, Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, knows more about Islam than you or any of the people who commented here. He is an Ayatollah after all. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. If he says, "merciless punishment" is part of Islam, then he is probably right. Welcome to true Islam, baby.

    June 28, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  24. The Infidel Alliance

    The hard truth, as Ms. Nasr inadvertantly pointed out, is that "SUBMISSION" is antithetical to "LIBERTY".

    The country is officially recognized (especially by Obama) as "The ISLAMIC Republic of Iran". The country is run by ISLAMIC clerics with ISLAMIC Sharia law. Virtually everyone in Iran is Muslim, certainly the protesters.

    Why then should we support or have any sympathy for the protesters? Can't they just be good Muslims & SUBMIT to their ISLAMIC government, their ISLAMIC leaders, and their ISLAMIC sharia law?

    Not if they want liberty they can't.

    The people of Persia need to re-discover their great heritage of Cyrus, who gave the world one of the first charters of human rights and religious tolerance. If the Persians want to reclaim their heritage and their liberty, they have to cast off the yoke of Arab-Islamo Imperialism.

    The Persians can either submit or fight for freedom. There are no other choices.

    ~ The Infidel Alliance

    June 28, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  25. Robert Hansen

    Is this Islam?
    After watching the Algeria unrest, the burning down of girls schools in Afghanistan, the Shia Sunni conflicts in Iraq, the Iranian revolution and it's aftermath, It would appear to me that this is Islam.
    If Islam is enlightenment and peace, why do they have to keep telling us?
    We should be able to see it for ourselves.

    June 28, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  26. Omar

    You cannot have freedom of speech or thought when criticising the government and its laws is an act of Blasphemy (as is the case in Iran and other islamic theocracies).

    You cannot expect Justice when the government has one law and standard for muslim men and another for women and non-muslims.

    You cannot expect to form a gentle society when men are empowered to beat women and children in order to force them to comply with islamic norms and appearances (per Q 4:34).

    You cannot form a civil or truthful society when those who wish to change their islamic religion (or share their non-muslim religion) are persecuted and killed. (Since Mohammad said "whoever changes his religion, kill him").

    Until these issues are addressed honestly (which will entail a wholesale rethinking of the religion). . . . . The answer is, "Yes. This is Islam."

    June 28, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  27. Henry

    The article and some of the comments deny that the clerics – immersed as they are in Islamic scripture and teachings – represent Islam and that this is some terrible aberration of Islam.

    Question – where in the world does the 'mercy and compassion' of Islam show itself? The clerics of Iran speak vile hatred and the Islamic state executes dissidents. The Taliban – translation "those seeking religious knowledge" and a movement led by clerics – behead, blow up schools and throw acid at girls who dare to wear no burka – in some other twisted interpretation of Islam. Poster boy for moderation – Turkey allows no churches to be built/expanded on Turkish soil and the tiny minority of non-Muslims left there are persecuted by the state for speaking of the Armenian genocide.

    When there are so many supposed exceptions to the rule – the rule itself is in question.

    Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    June 28, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  28. Yasin

    True,

    Being a Muslim myself, these incidents leaves me speechless.

    June 28, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  29. Geoff Periakis

    Is this islam?

    Yes.

    From Morocco to Malaysia, and the Sudan to Pakistan, this is islam when confronted by change or difference. The brutal suppression of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the obliteration of the Assyrian culture, the destruction of Hindus in Pakistan, the hatred of and attacks on non-Muslims in Europe and the United States. This is islam in politics, in demography, in supremacism. There are commandments of tolerance in the Quran, but there are also injunctions to destroy that which is not islamic, to suppress and oppress 'unbelievers', despite the given opinion that "oppression is worse than slaughter". Yet, religious minorities are meant to "feel themselves oppressed". Which Mohammed are we meant to believe?

    I think it's an excellent question that the author poses, but the example of every islamic society confirms that, yes, this is islam. I commend the author's horror and outrage at the developments in Iran, but how can she really be surprised? And what, then, will she do?

    Geoff P

    June 28, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  30. cj rider

    Of course this is Islam. We see it each and every day everywhere in the world. Islam according to the Quran resonates in an all pervasive unified tone "Death to the Infidels" – Islam is the only true religion, and Mohammed the only genuine messenger of God. If you are not a follower of Islam, there can be no quarter afforded you. If you try to convert to another religion, you will be executed. When will the west wake up and realize that Islam is the real danger to civilization ? Religious fanatics have and do carry out atrocities daily in the name of Islam. There is no freedom in Islamic fundamentalist countries, no free speech or press, no rights for women except to be covered up slaves to their male society.
    If Armageddon ever occurs, it will be at the hands of Islam and in the service of Allah !!! Listen to John Fullerton's blog above, and don't be surprised by anything that occurs in the name of Islam.

    June 28, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  31. D

    I don't usually reply to blogs, but I would like to do so for two reasons. First, I really enjoyed reading this blog which somehow presented the difference between religion and culture or practice. We shouldn’t judge people based on the majority. Each person is unique and so are their thoughts, beliefs and actions. Second, I’m sorry that John thinks Islam is a religion based on “hatred, death and no respect for human life”. Islam teaches us to be compassionate, understanding and tolerant of those around us. If there are few who think otherwise, this doesn’t mean that this is what Islam is based on. Islam teaches us that we shouldn’t harm any child, woman, even a tree, so if students, women were kicked and beaten in the streets; they were shot at, detained and even killed, this doesn’t mean that this is what Islam is about. Those who committed these crimes and actions should be punished for their inhumane behavior, regardless what religion they are from. Islam doesn’t contradict moral and social ethics; on the contrary, it celebrates them. I truly hope people will become more tolerant of each other and learn to search for answers before resorting to generalizations. Thank you and God Bless

    June 28, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  32. Michael Jackson

    I just wanted to say that I give the entire Jackson family my sympathy. I also feel it's ironic how all of the sudden a Cardiologist is hired right before this tour of his, and then MJ dies a cardiac death....I just think there is something that is being hidden.

    June 28, 2009 at 7:16 am |
  33. John Smith

    I don't understand why libs tend to think of this as not Islam. It is Islam the west is asleep. Wake up visit any Islamic country. Actually take the time to read the Quran. Learn what it says. And learn about abrogation. Learn how they use verses that are not in effect to trick nonmuslims. They know when they are quoting the nicer parts of the Quran that they are only in the Quran to mislead. And that the verses that came later are the ones in effect . The problem when one studies Islam you find out that the verses are not even in chronological order. If one knows the true history of the verses one can clearly see why that fundamentalist cleric during friday prayer called for the deaths. It is main stream Islamic to the core. To say otherwise means you have never enjoyed the public amputation of so called criminals that woman and children love to watch in Islamic countries, Sorry not all cutures equal some are stuck in the past.

    June 28, 2009 at 7:13 am |
  34. Jon Bartr

    I am so tired of hearing that this is not the real Islam! Your seeing it righh now! We either live with it or destroy it!

    June 28, 2009 at 6:54 am |
  35. Ian

    The answer to the question: THAT IS NOT ISLAM.

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the ULTIMATE coward and hypocrite, and he has hijacked Islam. The same applies to those who call for the annihilation of the rioters.

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rule and will continue to rule under his own designs, NOT God's.

    What is happening now in Iran has nothing to do with Islam. It is a struggle of an ignorant, old man to stay in power and have control of a nation.

    June 28, 2009 at 6:19 am |
  36. Kalim Ullah

    What will western countries will do they will face such type of Protests..It is the consipracy to be defamed the Iranian elections..Why the cnn so cocern abou IRAN..why u are posting what US are doing with innocent Iraqis & Afghanis..IRAN IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS..

    June 28, 2009 at 6:13 am |
  37. Amjad Roushdy

    I forgot to mention a really important point to mr.john , deeds are useless unless you believe in God , his prophets , angles , heaven , hell , the books He sent , the day of resurrection and divine preordainment.

    and by prophets i mean , from Adam to Muhammed (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all ) this includes Abraham , moses , jesus & Muhammed.

    so do your research , before it is too late.

    June 28, 2009 at 4:43 am |
  38. Jengistan

    This group of protesters can only fool the west. From a aisan point of view we saw differently.

    1) If a presidential election is that important.. large crowd at rallies does not necessary mean you are a winner. No oposition protests during balloting? No oposition protests during vote counting? Are you sure you know the meaning of electionsor the democratic process?
    Just cry foul whenever you cannot win. The Jews will say 6 million. The demonstrators will say few millions protesting at Teharan.If that was the case, you would hv over run down Iran Government hands behind yr back
    2) From the media we saw well educated english speaking (american slang) in jeans and women dressed in no way muslim... yet screaming Alah Alah from roof-tops..I am rather confused by such action... You have to decide. A muslim as in conservative Iran or be a westerner .. Please bear in mind that either way you choose, you choose, you cannot be accepted in the west .

    3) In Pakistan ,India,, etc.. you will see that same act.. A small group of english educated political families creaming the country for personal gains.. nothing about democracy .

    June 28, 2009 at 4:33 am |
  39. Freen Iran (green movement)

    I think your blog was excellent. You nail it with this blog. Ahmad Khatami is disgrace to all Iranians and Islam religion. He doesn't represent true Islam. Islam is peacefully religion. Its never about hurting your enemies or even killing them. Its say in Quran never get mad at your enemies but loved them. Ahmad extremely radical and a true evil person.

    June 28, 2009 at 3:56 am |
  40. Amjad Roushdy

    Honestly as i stumbled upon the heading of the article , i just had to see what more can journalists do when it comes to defaming islam. to my pleasant surprise , you did quite a good job in making sure people dont get the wrong idea that anyone that speaks on behalf of islam ..is actually defining islam when they do so..

    which unfortunatly most people simply accept without giving themselves a chance to check it out for themselves.

    a prime example of this is our dear mr.John Fullerton.
    wake up , and know that no one will be at your side when you are resurrected mr john , not your family , wealth , people you are standing for , except what you intend when you do your deeds

    if you are so concerned with what islam is and what it isnt , then do your research properly instead of absorbing what you REALLY want to hear instead of learning the facts , the problem with this my friend is that your state of mind reflects what you hear , see , intellectually absorb etc.. ,and the media isnt helping either , so try to brush all that aside for a moment and look at things as they are without letting how you "feel" or who you grew up with from gettting in the way , for your sake.

    know that anything that stands for good will be bound to have enemies that wish to silence it , this isnt only something that is special to religion.

    back to the topic at hand : Iran , screaming for some form of freedom and the god-given right of choice , are getting silenced because what the people want isnt according to what the elites of iran have cooking under all this , i guess they cant make it happen without being in control.

    June 28, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  41. Shocked and Sad

    Dear moderator. Sending again after spell check. and a few refinements.

    answer to John F,

    Did you not read: ‘When moderate Muslims hear what this Mullah has called for, they wonder which brand of Islam he is advocating.’

    There is a ‘real’ Islam of love and compassion. The one you describe is as foreign to real Islam as your own hate is foreign to the teachings of Jesus.

    Extreme Islam; extreme Christianity, extreme Judaism; Catholics fighting Protestants; it is all the same fear and hate. Non of that is religion.

    The moderate/ real Christians and Jews and Hindus and Islamism are the ones that preach love and compassion. All the rest of the haters, no matter what religion they hide behind, they are all liars fighting for power.

    Fight for power, any of you, if that is what you wish. But do it with out stealing the noble religions of the world.

    PS. We need more writers like Octavia Nasr

    June 28, 2009 at 2:02 am |
  42. Someone

    Being very well versed in Islam, I have to add that NONE of this is Islam, and this includes the protesters actions. The vote was won properly despite some alleged irregularities which would in no way change the landslide vote that Ahmadinijad achieved. The protesters are causing trouble and bloodshed for absolutely no reason what so ever and to be honest, they are enjoying the the coverage the international media is giving them. If the International media really stopped its coverage the protesters would stop instantly. Now THAT is not Islamic either. You need to look at both sides, otherwise you too would be hijacking Islam and using it as a tool for your interests.

    June 28, 2009 at 2:00 am |
  43. Rick

    If there is a God , There is only one..All Religions claim their God is the real one. If there's a hell , Then its right here on earth. What God would allow such behavior from man.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:59 am |
  44. Jay

    With reference to “Punished Mercilessly- is this Islam?” I found the read very interesting and insightful, yet, even though I disagree with what is going on in Iran, the response is understandable. This form of devotion, for the religion of Islam as quoted, lies on the fact of blind devotion and trust to the messenger of god. And for people who have spend there lifetimes believing this, the fact that Islam can morph into something that is compromising is completely disregarded. The western quest of freedom and self-development has become an innate part of the world we live in today.
    No, Islam does not incite violence, the people who do believe in violence are very much like the radical groups that you find within the U.S. of in that case, the Crusaders who fought the holy war and the way they interpreted Christianity. What the leaders of Iran fail to see is the future of their country, which is more compromising, more acceptable and more freedom willing. In Iran, the situation today, is a reflection of the power of an individual on his quest to freedom and liberty, and I dread the consequence for the people who have been bold enough to raise their voice in faith of what they believe.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  45. Shocked and Sad

    John,

    Did you read: 'When moderate Muslims hear what this Mullah has called for, they wonder which brand of Islam he is advocating.'

    There is a 'real' Islam of love and compassion. The one you describe is as foreing to real Islam as your own hate is foreing to the teachings of Jesus.

    Extreme Islam; extreme Christianity, extreme Judiasm; Catholics figthing Protostents; it is all the same fear and hate. Non of that is religeon.

    The moderate/ real Christians and Jews and Hindus and islamist are the ones that preach love and compassion. All the rest of the haters, no matter what religeon they hide behind, they are all lier fighting for power.

    Fight for power, any of you, if that is what you wish. But do it with out stealing the noble religeons of the world.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  46. Yaya

    Why does ignorant man refer to himself as the Supreme leader? God is the only Supreme leader.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  47. Prince Francis Efoagui II

    I know Michael is already introducing the "Moonwalk" to the Angels in heaven. May I also use this opportunity to beg those who bought tickets to his upcoming concerts to keep their tickets as final tribute to Michael and for the promoters to live to their end of the contract and pay Michael's debts and leave some money for his kids. Rest in Perfect Peace, Michael.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  48. Millie G

    Sadly, Mr. Cooper, this really seems to be Islam. A doctrine based on extremism, fundamentalism, violence, hatred and intolerance which they call "religion". How on earth can a cleric/priest/whatever – who's supposed to be closer to God thatn anybody in this world and to spread His word, so to speak – demand to harm the integrity of fellow human beings only because they share different views on the president of their country?
    The theocracy in the Islamic world is sickening and everybody but them already realized that it's what is sending those countries centuries backwards.
    So how can Mr. Obama say: "we should learn from the Islamic world"? What exactly would we learn from them as a civilized and democratic society is beyond me.
    The day they learn to use the word "concede" more often would be a good beginning.

    Cheers from Peru.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  49. Every One Is Born Free

    Lets pray for them. So that they are blessed with courage, faith and hope.

    May God protect them.

    June 28, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  50. Jon Martinelli

    What an elegantly written argument.
    Islam is poorly understood in this country. Too many share Mr. Fullerton's hatefull view, which is surely evidence of his ignorance. He has obviously lived in isolation from muslim people to be so fearful. Understand, Mr. Fullerton, that the protestors–who courageously pursue, in defiance of this brutal regime, the most basic freedoms that we take for granted–are muslims also.
    What troubles me most at present is that the obsessive 24 hr coverage of Micheal Jackson's life and death has given cover to the Iranian regime. I shudder to think what will become of the detained protestors and those whose homes are raided nightly by basij while Iran thinks that no one is watching. Enough about the Pop star already. Both sides of the Iranian conflict must know that the world is watching.

    June 28, 2009 at 12:42 am |
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