An uncanny fatwa

Iran Focus


The U.S. State Department issued an advisory earlier this month telling Americans to be vigilant about possible terrorist attacks when travelling to Europe.

The decision came as counterterrorism officials in Europe and the U.S. are assessing intelligence about possible plots aimed at Britain, France and Germany.

A day after the State Department alert, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a peculiar fatwa, or religious edict, assuring Muslims living in Western countries that there are no religious prohibitions against their stay if they are there to "defend Islam".

Khamenei was responding to questions about his "religious guidance" to Muslims who live in non-Islamic countries. His answers were posted on his official website.

The Supreme Leader, under Iran's constitution, is construed not only as the leader of Iran but the whole Islamic world, and Khamenei has certainly tried to fit the profile. His latest fatwa is thought to be aimed at non-Iranian Muslims and has a bizarre air, considering its timing, bluntness and substance.

The fatwa is not geared towards Iranians, because Iranians who seek to take political refuge in foreign lands would be banned from leaving their country in the first place, with no ifs or buts.

The cleric cautioned that traveling to non-Islamic countries would be allowed for a Muslim "only if there is no fear about diverting from his religion".

Answering a question about the permissibility of living in countries where perceived vices such as "nudity" and "vulgar music" are prevalent, Khamenei said, "Living there would not in principle be wrong".

Khamenei seems to be trying to provide ideological assurances and permissible "Sharia guidelines" to those Islamic fundamentalists who are tied to the Iranian regime and are living in non-Islamic countries for dubious reasons, perhaps acting in groups or "cells".

They should not worry, according to Khamenei, as long as the purpose of their stay is "to defend Islam and Muslims to the extent [they are] able to do so".

Does the Islam that Khamenei counsels his followers to defend condone terrorism? After all, it was the former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini who said that the interests of the clerical regime in Iran is the only paramount objective, even outweighing all Islamic practices.

On their face, Khamenei's fatwa and comments by other Iranian officials may be dismissed as mere rhetoric by some. Still, coming at a time when the State Department and the US Attorney General talk about the accumulation of evidence regarding terror cells lurking in Western countries, the Iranian regime has once again shown that when it comes to terrorist threats, it does not want to be ignored.

Tehran is indeed the source and resource for Islamic fundamentalism. Its primary objective - according to its leaders - is to promote a "fundamentalist ideology" that remains the greatest threat to global peace and security. It would be imprudent - indeed dangerous - to gloss over this reality.


Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE