An Iranian mullah who has been insulted says:
…This must be understood in this country. They must in practice pull out their tongues. What reason is there I am walking and they must insult me, a clergyman; why insult the sacred? In an Islamic society at that.
Whilst this brings us back to the importance of free expression particularly for those living under and resisting Islamism, it also raises another issue, which is that Iran isn’t an Islamic society.
As Mansoor Hekmat has said:
…The image of an Islamic society prevalent in the West is one of pious believers of Islam who abide by its rules, pray and fast, and whose opinions are formed by religious texts or sources. In fact, it imagines that a citizen of a society like Iran is a follower of Mr Khomeini, is really offended if someone ventures onto the streets unveiled, does not like Western music, does not drink alcohol nor eat pork, etc.
Given this definition, however, we all know that Iran is not an Islamic society. This is a stereotypical and clichéd image that the West itself has created of societies out of reach of its citizens; it is not an independent and exact yardstick. Islam in Iran, like Christianity in for example Italy or Ireland, definitely influences the thought and temperament of some people. Undoubtedly, religious culture and its thousands of years old dreadful legacy influences peoples’ behaviours, prejudices and even the way they view each other. But this also applies to Italy, Ireland and France with all their secularism; after all, one could say those countries are also Christian. A French person, however, would certainly assert that France is not a Christian society, although Christianity is part of its past and has some bearing. In this manner, Islam has some bearing in Iran. For example, when you read the writings of Iranian poets, writers and intellectuals, the images you are given on women is Islam’s legacy of women. The images you are given of pleasure and sorrow, the fascination with misery, death and martyrdom in culture are extracted from Islam. But when the West speaks of an Islamic society, it suggests a society in which Islamic rules and regulations have been internalised and become inherent for people. We, on the other hand, argue that Islam has been imposed on the people of Iran in a political process through prisons, massacres, arrests and herds of Hezbollah thugs. Iran is not an Islamic society because it wasn’t one before they arrived. And since they have arrived, people have withstood them and defended themselves…