Ett av de store spørsmålene i Midtøsten er om prestestyret i Iran vil overleve. Jeg tipper at det ikke vil det, sier NYTimes-journalisten Nicholas D. Kristof etter en rundreise i landet. Kristof er en åpen, liberal type, vel verdt å lytte til. Her er fra hans besøk i den hellige byen Quom, som altså har vært det åndelige senter for shiaene inntil amerikanerne styrtet Saddam.
En kan bare tenke seg hvilken betydning det vil ha for Irak og resten av Midtøsten, hvis det skulle komme en ny revolusjon i Khomeini-land. Uttalelsene fra ayatollah Montazari er meget sterke.
«Either officials change their methods and give freedom to the people, and stop interfering in elections, or the people will rise up with another revolution,» Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri told me.
«There is no freedom,» added Ayatollah Montazeri, who is among the senior figures in the Shiite world but is excluded from power in Iran because of his reformist ideas. «Repression is carried out in the name of Islam, and that turns people off. . . . All these court summonses, newspaper closings and prosecutions of dissidents are wrong. These are the same things that were done under the shah and are now being repeated. And now they are done in the name of Islam and therefore alienate people.»
Whoa! Ayatollah Montazeri was a leader of the Islamic Revolution, and was initially designated by his close friend Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to be his successor as supreme leader of Iran. Everything he says carries immense credibility, for he is a more senior religious figure than any of Iran’s present leaders. (I’ve posted comments by Ayatollah Montazeri, along with a video of the interview, at www.nytimes.com/kristofresponds, Posting 389.)
Another Shiite leader outside the club of power, Ayatollah Jalaledin Taheri, has denounced the regime as «society’s dregs and fascists who consist of a concoction of ignorance and madness. . . . [and] those who are convinced that yogurt is black.»
So the Islamic Republic is increasingly vulnerable to the most devastating accusation of all: that it is un-Islamic and is alienating its youth from Islam
Overdosing on Islam
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: May 12, 2004