Post-Muslim (Mohammad’s confession)

A good friend of mine has posted his ideological ‘confession’ on Philip Weiss’ Mondoweiss. While Mo(hammed) and i often disagree, we often agree on even more. He introduced me to Slavoj Zizek. I, by accident, introduced him to Bobby Sayyid.

Mondoweiss: Post Muslim (Mohammad’s confession)

Post Muslim is a complex case. Not easy.

My mother’s maternal grandfather was a founding member of the social democratic party (later on the communist Toodeh party) and was elected to the first constitutional assembly in Iran (1906) from Tabriz. My mother’s paternal grandfather was a Syrian Jew who moved to Iran and converted to Islam and became a very wealthy land owner and lived 108 years… Even though aristocratic, he had a love for poetry (and property!) and donated a lot of his money to modern/moderate Shie establishment in Kermanshah.

For me to be post Muslim, I had to first be anti Muslim. From 1992 to 2001, I was a strong and vocal anti-Islamic activist. Back then nobody, including Zionists, dared to point to what was wrong in the strict interpretation of Quran. I was a neocon before The “clean break” was ever commissioned [1996]. I dreamt about American intervention to liberate Iran (what a nightmare; now I know after Iraq) . I used to wear a star of David around my neck to piss off my community. I used to say a lot of things before they became state policy in USA and the west.

However, I never stopped identifying with the problems of Palestinians even in the thick of my anti Islamic period. My main theory was that the larger and more determinate conflict in the middle east is between religious nationalistic Jews and secular progressive ones, not between Arabs and Israelis, and my theory was that once the internal Jewish conflict is settled, Palestinians will automatically receive their fair share of the land/political process. The election of Sharon and the breakdown of peace process and the growth of Jewish nationalism in Israel following the second intifada shattered my hopes.

Then 9/11 changed what was left of my anti Islamic sentiments. It was only after my 10 year rhetoric was adopted by Bush that I realized I must have been wrong all along.

I am a non-ideological atheist who thinks religion is an empty signifier, an empty form that can carry good or bad, can be utilized for a good cause or evil or operate as just a sign, a vase on the shelf, and there should be nothing wrong with that. I also consider the human rights/democratic regimes as a religion/ideology that can be used for good or bad or just an empty cute ornament on the display… nothing wrong with that either. Even though I don’t personally believe in Allah, I think others could, or better said, others should be allowed to believe in Allah without harassment or embarrassment. I don’t see any difference between Quran and Vogue International. (And I like Vogue International…)

I think people of the west are more ideological than fundamentalist Muslims, since fundamentalist Muslims choose to think the way they do in spite of growing global evidence they are aware of that is contrary to their belief. They have to challenge themselves and remain “faithful” since they know that the basis of their beliefs are metaphysics and mythology. No sane person, even a religious fundamentalist, can assume that god is there. Believing in Allah in the early 21st century is like being a person who is determined to lose weight in spite of a slow metabolism and abundance of greasy high calorie fast food; the only way you can do this is by working hard everyday on the treadmill or else the fat is going to come back–the fat being doubt about Allah, god, and divine justice.

And yet westerners really believe, even though they think they are beyond faith. Mostly because they dont have to make an effort to believe; everything around them already is naturally constructing the belief system, since their beliefs are based on the three pillars of science, history and philosophy [Didn’t you leave out the Pillar of Tom Friedman, Mo?]. Much more “concrete” and therefore more scary. Especially history : )

I used to hate Ahmadinejad in opposition to the reformers, but given what he has achieved internally and globally, I hope he gets elected for another term. This is absurd because even my best friends and family back in Iran have a hard time understanding my logic. Don’t forget Ahmadinejad’s deputy president spoke about Israeli people not being enemies and even though a lot of people asked for his resignation, Ahmadinejad did not fire him.

I believe that Israel’s a semi-legal entity since it has failed to ratify its existence through a Palestinian consensus. I wish Israel would use its power and influence to organize a referendum of all Palestinians to accept a Jewish state behind 1967 borders in exchange for a sovereign Palestinian state.

I prefer a vague statement in the referendum preamble in the hope of one day joining these two states into one– once the people of both sides are ready to join together. [Chomsky says something like this too] Iranian “hardliners” have already signaled that they would encourage and accept a situation like this. The goal of Israeli boycott should be to force Israel to help organize and accept the results of a referendum. I would personally vote for the ratification of the Jewish Zionist state behind 1967 borders, if there is a willingness at least in language for a future one state for all. Let Zionism be a Jewish problem, rather than a Muslim or a world problem.

But right now we just have to stop the killing and lift the siege.

Have you read BOBBY SAIED [sic]: FEAR OF FUNDAMENTAL [sic]? Its an essential reading in the fall and rise of Islamism (or the rise and fall of secularism) in the region. Bottom line: secularism is not the solution for the Muslim world, we need to modernize and democratize Islamism, and for this there is only one model: Islamic republic of Iran. Have you ever wondered why after the invasion and regime change in both Afghanistan and Iraq with the help of USA and the support of Israel, both of those countries are called Islamic Republics and their constitutions are copied out of Ayatollah Khomeini‘s vision for Iran? So was Khomeini a great visionary or a backward ayatollah? And if Islamic republicanism is the future of the Muslim world, why not let this happen naturally and without billions of dollars of American money wasted on the project?

…for the rest of the post, please pay a visit to Mondoweiss.

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