Iran seems to be taking the obsession shown by many Muslim nations for prosecuting “blasphemers” to a whole new level, arresting the father of someone accused of saying mean things about one of Shia’s leading imams while living in another country.
But a 25-year-old Iranian says his Facebook activity has led to his father’s detention in a notorious prison in Tehran. And now he’s struggling to find a way to free him.
“I want my family to forgive me,” Yashar Khameneh said. “But I believe what I believe in.”
A year ago, while studying at a college in Holland, Khameneh joined a Facebook page that made fun of a top Shiite Muslim imam, Ali al-Naqi al-Hadi. Naqi is one of 12 imams considered successors to the Prophet Mohammed. Called “Infallibles,” the imams are protected by law in Iran from ridicule or even frivolous comments. One can be arrested for insulting them…
The day after his father called, Khameneh says, he got a call from his sister and mother in Iran. They were hysterical.
They said Iranian authorities had arrested his father and taken him to Evin prison in Tehran, a lockup notorious for torturing inmates.
It’s just mind-boggling to me that anyone could be barbaric enough to think this is okay.