Saturday, August 27, 2016

Persian Letters

'Je Suis Charlie' In Tehran

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh shows her solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo killings.
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh shows her solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo killings.

Iranian security forces prevented a January 8 gathering by a group of Iranian journalists who wanted to express their solidarity with the victims of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Nevertheless, according to this tweet by the French Embassy in Tehran, some Iranians expressed their solidarity by laying flowers and lighting candles in front of the embassy’s gate in the Iranian capital.

There were also online shows of solidarity, including by Iran’s prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Sotoudeh posted a picture of herself holding a pen on her Facebook page. Many of those who have taken to the streets in the past two days to show their solidarity for those killed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, have held up pens and pencils. 

“Those who claim they’re defending a particular religion should know that no religion recommends this violence,” Sotoudeh wrote while expressing her condolences to the families of the victims and the French people.

Reza KhandanReza Khandan
Reza Khandan
Reza Khandan

“I thank the French government and French people for not denying other citizens freedom, under the excuse of creating security and order,” Sotoudeh wrote on Facebook.

Her husband, Reza Khandan, also expressed his solidarity by posting a picture of himself with a candle and a Charlie Hebdo pen on Facebook.​

Iranian journalist and political satirist Pouria Alami condemned the attack on his Facebook page.

"People can solve their problems by talking, not with acid [through violence]. Fools, however, can't laugh, they can't debate, they can't solve their problems, [so] they shoot. As a fool, they attack a satirist, four cartoonists, they shoot at 12 intelligent and civilized people," he wrote.

Alami added that the "foolishness of the fools" is laughable, even with "eyes full of tears."

Sobhan Hassanvand, a journalist with the reformist Shargh daily, expressed his sympathy with the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris on Twitter. 

Tehran condemned the killing on January 7, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham saying, "All acts of terrorism against innocent people are alien to the doctrine and teachings of Islam."

But Afkham also said that "making use of freedom of humiliate the monotheistic religions and their values and symbols is unacceptable."

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Comment Sorting
by: Kevin from: UK
January 08, 2015 21:56
But Afkham also said that "making use of freedom of humiliate the monotheistic religions and their values and symbols is unacceptable."....

In other words, yeah, these people deserved it really for mocking our Prophet.
Talk about a slap in the face! It shows the real feelings of Tehran's foreign minister I think. How can anyone even think to use mockery as an excuse for what those evil bastards did? This is the two faces of Islam for you; feigned sympathy and crocodile tears for show, while all the time they really mean just the opposite. Anyone who uses an excuse, however slight, for actions such as this is nothing but a pig!
In Response

by: Sey from: World
January 09, 2015 14:39
There are limits, my friend, to every single freedom in this world. There is no such thing as freedom having no boundaries, no sacred topics. Your freedom ends when my freedom begins.

I'm sure you wouldn't like me making offensive, trolling, mocking comments about your mother or any member of your family just for the sake of stirring up your nerves, wouldn't you?

That's exactly what the guys at Charlie Hebdo did. They stirred up the nerves of Muslims by deliberately doing what they consider the most unholy thing to do, just for the sake of making non-Muslims laugh.

You can indeed condemn this horrendous attack on civilians. But you can also say they should've known better about the kind of people they were messing with. And it's not contradictory. It's, actually, being honest about what happened...not sugarcoating the facts.

In Response

by: Kevin from: UK
January 09, 2015 21:06
You are wrong. Just because someone considers their belief system sacred or not up for discussion, it doesn’t mean that everyone else has to abide by the same opinion. That is EXACTLY what freedom of speech is about. By imposing boundaries on the rest of the world, you are effectively stopping us from criticising. Criticism is part of the process of progression. Without criticism we would have no debate, without which, we would have no progress. In other words, we would still be in the dark ages… as is Islam!
Yes, I do condemn this horrendous attack (which you don’t appear to do by the way), and like all free thinking individuals, I find it inconceivable that anyone, no matter how outraged, would commit such an act, over a few drawings. Indeed you are correct when you point out “the kind of people they are messing with”, for these are the kind of people who need to be mocked, ridiculed, shown up for the cave dwelling scumbags that they really are. The believe that their lives, other peoples lives, are worth less than that of carrying out the orders and wishes of a cave dwelling kiddie fiddler who lived hundreds of years ago, and who knew nothing of progress, nothing of the world we are so fortunate to live in today. These same followers, these low life pigs, would have the whole world bowing down to their ways, to their “God”. It is for this very fact alone that we, that is, those of us who do not want any part of this, we should be able to criticise and mock till our hearts content. And we will. The terrorists have done nothing but harm to their own cause. They have turned a little known newspaper into a world wide phenomenon. These cartoons, the magazine, was circulated to just a handful of French people, but now the same cartoons are shown all over the net.
In Response

by: Sey from: World
January 11, 2015 02:46
In response to your statement, I just want to add that the way you think and the way others, including myself, think is the best example that what we are dealing with today is a war of cultures, a war of civilizations, a second, albeit cultural, crusade.

What you fail to see is the other point of view. The thing I see is that freedom of expression should be respected (Western belief), but "freedom" doesn't mean insulting, criticizing, or mocking every single thing in this world, specially something as sensitive and massively popular (to the masses, I mean) as religion (Eastern belief).

What you see and defend is the Western position, which you see as absolutely right, as incorruptible, as an upholding value that must be defended regardless of what, of whom, and of how. But you consider the Eastern position wrong, stupid, an unreasonable stance of men properly living in the dark ages.

That my friend is the war of civilizations we as "21st centuriers" will have to deal with for the coming decades. And my God, it will be a war fought on every front.

by: milly from: Los Angeles, CA
January 08, 2015 22:12
But are Iranians free to draw cartoons of Prophet Mohammed? That is the real test.
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 10, 2015 23:58
Of course they're not, they would be executed. Iran is not a free country. Khomeini issued the fatwa agains Rushdie.

by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
January 08, 2015 22:57
Freedom of speech and press are not something that anyone can mold to their preferences. Hate speech and inciting violence are prohibited by law but are routine in the mosque. Depicting the prophet is forbidden by muslims but routine in the free press of the West. We cannot force our preferences in a muslim country and muslims cannot force their preferences in a non-muslim country. No further discussion required.
In Response

by: Tim from: Timbuktu
January 09, 2015 14:29
...and let's just hope that no more non-islamic countries become islamic, because as soon as that happens, freedom dies.

by: Anonymous
January 09, 2015 14:04
These are brave people. We are all Charlie. Merci!!!

by: Tim from: Timbuktu
January 09, 2015 14:26
As a devout Christian who frequently sees my beliefs mocked, I nonetheless disagree wholeheartedly with Marzieh Afkham's assertion that "making use of freedom of humiliate the monotheistic religions and their values and symbols is unacceptable."

As long as someone doesn't threaten or persecute me or my loved ones, they can mock my beliefs all they want. I'm confident in the truth of what I believe, so why should someone's mockery out of ignorance (or jealousy) concern me?

Islamists are uncomfortable with mockery, because the mockery of their faith has a lot of truth behind it. Islam is a false religion that plagiarized other monotheistic religions and created something ugly and twisted, which is often why, incidentally, the rest of us monotheists get mocked so much.
In Response

by: Dara from: US
January 09, 2015 18:53
No, Tim, the rest of you monotheists also get mocked because ALL these religions are in fact laughable. Nothing but ancient fairy tales and promoting an angry and petty God. I went to an evangelical christian high school, so I know your type all too well. Blinded by a sense of superiority of your religion, you can't even see the massive contradictions inherent in its message, as well as those of all other monotheistic religions. I don't know enough about to Buddhism or Hinduism to comment on those.
In Response

by: Dennis from: Holland
January 10, 2015 17:16
Tim, do you know why muslims don't want to see pictures of Muhammed? They don't want to warship anything or anybody, not even Muhammed. I'm atheist, but I have a lot of respect for those kind of 'rules', so I agree with people who blame both terrorism, and those stupid cartoons.

by: MKHattib from: USA
January 09, 2015 23:55
Curiously there has been one quiet corner of the Internet and that is the domain occupied by the supporters and advocates of the Iranian regime. A casual perusal of the social media feeds of people such as Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council showed a lack of commentary or condemnation of the attack. In Parsi’s case he did not even post any comment on the attack until hours later and even then provided a link to an editorial by Juan Cole that attempted to rationalize the murders in the context that it did not represent a broader indictment of Muslims.

Why this is curious is when compared to other acts such as the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri or even the recent protests by New York Police Department officers against New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Parsi has been vocal and quick to cite these incidents and condemn them. Yet in a case where he could have made a clear demarcation between the violent and extremist acts of Muslims intent on perverting a religion for their own gains, he remained largely silent.

This deafening lack of protest from supporters of Iran illustrates the tightrope they attempt to navigate by avoiding any potential linkages back to Iran from acts of terror and violence occurring around the world. It is well established that Iranian regime’s militant brand of sectarian violence and policy has been at the heart of conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Yemen just to name a few places. Yet, none of these actions such as the supply of weapons and cash to terror groups such as Hezbollah nary once engender a word of protest or tweet of outrage from Parsi and company.

It points to the rank hypocrisy of the Iranian lobby in condemning acts in the West that help Iran point an accusing finger yet never question the almost daily barbarous acts of violence committed by the Iranian regime and its agents around the world and against its own people
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 13, 2015 14:24
NIAC doesn't care about freedom of speech or human rights.

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Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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