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Opinions

The Deafening Silence of Grand Ayatollahs

November 22, 2019
Mehrangiz Kar
2 min read
Lawyer and human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar: "I am ready to start this movement by posing my own questions and paying whatever the price:"
Lawyer and human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar: "I am ready to start this movement by posing my own questions and paying whatever the price:"

A Historic Question

Where do the Grand Ayatollahs – Iran’s leading Shia Islamic scholars, with the power to issue religious edicts – stand on the recent murderous rampage by the government in Iran? Perhaps we all believe that they are generally accomplices of the criminals who have used lethal force against protesters in Iran over the past week. However, in the perilous conditions Iranians currently find themselves, it is crucial that we ask the ayatollahs to answer the question: “Up to what point are you willing to support the criminal, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic?”

I am prepared for any insult hurled at me by my opponents – but I insist that we force these high religious authorities to answer this question and to voice their opinions on the current situation.

Inside Iran, the conditions are too risky for anyone to step forward to seek an answer. It is, however, possible to start a petition outside Iran, collect and verify signatures and share it with the ayatollahs. They have a unique authority in Iran’s Islamic system, because they teach in the seminaries and they issue religious decrees followed by millions.

Ladies and gentlemen with expertise in religious matters! Please compose these questions for the ayatollahs. Improve on the movement I am starting! The crackdown on the protesters has passed the threshold of everyone’s tolerance. And it is even testing the limits of those living abroad. Watching a single video of violence against Iranian protesters, perpetrated by Khamenei’s forces, is by itself overwhelming and devastating.

In Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Sistani single-handedly condemned the crackdown on the protesters by the Shia government there and did not try to justify the onslaught. Why have many Grand Ayatollahs in Iran turned into silent witnesses to the Shia regime’s atrocities?

Regardless of our wrath and frustration over the religious roots and tentacles of this regime, let us ask these grand religious authorities and scholars where they stand. 

Do you stand with Ali Khamenei? Or with the people whose recent ordeals make even the most religious forget agony and suffering of the first Shia saints?

I am ready to start this movement by posing my own questions and paying whatever the price: 

Shia scholars, Grand Ayatollahs! It appears that I am alone. The majority are so disillusioned with you that they do not wish to address and question you. But answer me!

Express clearly your views at this crucial time, when the lives and dignity of many Iranians are perishing under boots and under a hail of bullets.

Where are you? The Iranian people need to know. You cannot stay safe forever in your homes and offices in the seminaries. You must answer us.

You are not as immune and safe as you think you are. Your continued silence will be interpreted as consent and complicity in Ali Khamenei’s crimes. 

 

Mehrangiz Kar

November 2019

Washington, D.C., USA

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