The non-Ahmadinejad Iranians

We so rarely these days read accurate reports about life inside the Islamic Republic. A rare exception (via the ABC):

While in the West some might associate Iran’s restrictions on freedom with the religion of Islam, it’s over-simplistic to assume that this mass dissatisfaction with the state of the country necessarily signifies dissatisfaction with the state religion. While a surprising number of people I spoke to declared they had “no religion”, almost all of them qualified that statement by declaring that they believed in God.

“I am not a Muslim but I believe in one God and I think the Koran is a very good book,” the motorcycle man explained to me. “Islam is not a bad religion but this is a bad government and it makes Islam look bad.”

“Islam is a good religion but I do not think this is Islam,” said a young woman.

But the Islamic faith of some young Iranians comes with conditions.

“In Iran the Koran is still made to mean that thieves must have their hands cut off and women who have sex with a man not their husband are stoned to death,” another man said. “The world changes with time and Islam must change with the world.”

While Iran’s religion and Iran’s government might have a lot in common, many Iranians urge that they should remain separate lest one pollute the other.

“In the West they see what the Iranian government does and thinks that this is Islam,” said one young woman, holding two cupped hands together and slowly pulling them apart, “but actually they are not the same.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common