By Hossein Abedini
The world today is faced with the grave danger of Islamic Fundamentalism, which threatens universal ideals of freedom and humanity, targeting people from Tehran to Copenhagen, from Peshawar to Paris.
There are several factors, which played a role in the emergence of fundamentalism, including historical developments and policies adapted by the international community. In this century alone, there have been several major developments that have served to promote fundamentalism. However, none of them have been as damaging and crucial as the emergence of the mullahs in Iran following the revolution. Islamic Fundamentalism is strictly opposed to democracy.
Instead, it aims to establish a homogeneous society ruled by a caliph with the aid of the clergy and a set of stagnant, flawed and barbaric laws. Fundamentalists across sectarian, national and ethnic lines share this vision. Shia and Sunni fundamentalists may use different words to describe it, but they have the same picture in mind. The establishment of the theocratic regime in Iran has realised that nightmare. It stands before all religious fundamentalists as a role model to aspire to and follow.
It is important to remember that this is not a contest between Islam and Christianity or other religions. It is the age-old conflict of freedom and oppression. Fundamentalists merely employ religion as a tool to justify their own prejudices and ignorance to spread their agenda through violence. The vast majority of Islam’s followers interpret Islam differently, which allows them to respect freedoms, value rights and equality, and desire peace like everyone else.
The Iranian regime has consistently sponsored extremism and terrorism for the last three decades, and it doesn’t appear willing to stop any time soon. It has relentlessly meddled in of Middle East countries and beyond. Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq – all these countries are under heavy Iranian influence and suffering as a result. The emergence of ISIS is a direct consequence of the policies pursued by Iran in the region. It supports Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime, which regularly kills its people to stay in power absent any moral authority. In Iraq, Shi’ite militias backed by the terrorist Qods Force carry out rampant killings of Sunnis, which directly helps ISIS as more and more turn towards it for protection and revenge. Unless the regime is not evicted from other countries, all the efforts of the international coalition directed towards the establishment of peace and stability in the Middle East will prove to be futile.
In order to defeat terrorism and fundamentalism in general, it is necessary to offer a serious challenge to the Iranian regime and compel it to give power to where it belongs; the Iranian people. If it is allowed to retain power and pursue its destructive policies, the violence will only spread across the region and the world.
Hossein Abedini is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. He was seriously injured during an assassination attempt on March 14, 1990 in Istanbul, Turkey by agents sent by Tehran.