From Nameh Mardom, Central Organ of the Tudeh Party of Iran No. 964, January 12th 2015
“The contextual conditions of the growth of terrorism and Islamic extremism should be sought in the destructive and adventurous policies of imperialism in the regions, from Syria and Iraq to Lebanon, Palestine, Persian Gulf and Iran.”
A few days ago the world witnessed the horrendous crime of murdering writers, cartoonists and staff of the French magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris. The attack of extremist Muslims on the office of “Charlie Hebdo” and massacre of a few of the editorial personnel and staff members of this magazine only because of their views and opinions is an indication of the growth of a very dangerous and destructive phenomenon that the progressive people cannot remain silent about. As a result of the terrorist attacks in recent days in Paris, 14 innocent people, from the staff of the “Charlie Hebdo” magazine to the customers of a Jewish kosher shop and 3 police officers- one of whom was a Muslim of Algerian descent- were killed. Tudeh Party of Iran strongly condemns this dreadful crime whose objective is to exterminate dissidents and to spread fear and intimidation.
Attempts to physically exterminate and massacre dissidents is nothing new and surprising for us, Iranians, who have been living for years under the chains of a medieval theocratic regime. From Khomeini’s fatwa (religious decree) to murder Salman Rushdie, to massacre of thousands of political prisoners for their progressive and freedom-seeking beliefs in the summer of 1988; from serial killings in which prominent figures like Foroohars [Dariush and Parvaneh] and Mokhtari and Pouyandeh and other political activists and dissidents were slaughtered by the security forces of the regime, to arresting and jailing and persecution of dissidents and screams of “suppress them, crush them” by the Supreme Leader to silence any dissenting voice; all are similar ways to deal with opposition views, which has caused our nation to suffer for 3 decades. Thousands of freedom-loving and progressive people, scientists, writers, translators, artists, and social and union activists have lost their lives because of that.
It is interesting that under the pressure arising from strong repugnance in the world public opinion, some of the regime leaders and figures had no choice but to condemn terrorist actions and attack on the “Charlie Hebdo” magazine in Paris. For instance, Ahmad Khatami, the Friday prayer Imam of Tehran and one of the most dark-minded advocates of the theocratic regime, said in his sermon on January 9th: “We strongly condemn the terrorist attack in France and believe that Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people. It does not make any difference if these innocent people are in Paris, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan.”
These words come out of the mouth of someone like him when he and his like-minded allies, such as Jannati and Larijani (Speaker of the Parliament) and others, in recent weeks have reconfirmed their support for the bloody suppression of the people protesting against the 2009 election coup, and have asked for execution of the leaders of the Green Movement, Mousavi and Karrubi, who are still under house arrest, for their opposition to that coup. Jannati, the spokesperson of the Guardian Council, said in an interview with an Islamic Republic TV station: “These perpetrators have been treated with favor. If they are tried, any educated and fair judge would sentence them to death. No country treats such people who oppose the system- not the President or a Minister or a judge, but the system- like we did. Therefore we have done them a favor. For whatever reason, such as Islamic kindness, their punishment was reduced. Otherwise, if this was anywhere else in the world, they would have been executed.”
Paris terrorists claimed that the reason for their attack on “Charlie Hebdo” and killing the writers and cartoonists and staff of the magazine was their “publication of offensive material against Islam.” While we believe that all religions and schools of thought have to be respected and the faith symbols of people must dealt with diligently, but we also believe that the idea of exterminating dissidents stems in medieval thinking, when individuals were killed because of casting doubt on and questioning religion (then the Rome Catholic Church), or were forced to confess against their own beliefs and burned, as in the case of Galileo. Emergence of such way of thinking and behavior in the 21st century and in the present stage of the development of the human society is a horrific and destructive phenomenon which has to be opposed and confronted by any progressive person and advocated of human rights.
Following the emergence of the “political Islam” and its view points about the role of Islam in today’s world and the aspiration to establish “Islamic Empire” such conducts gradually transformed from political protests into state policies and took the shape of a global order for Jihad against the opponents of “political Islam”. One of the most notorious and controversial examples of such conducts was Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989. A point to reflect upon is that a few months before this fatwa, Khomeini had issued another fatwa for mass killing of thousands of political prisoners in Iran which at the time was mainly ignored by the European leaders, who practically turned a blind eye on it. Double standard [of the West] in reacting to these two fatwa was noteworthy. In his 14 February 1989 fatwa Khomeini said: “I am informing all brave Muslims of the world that the author of The Satanic Verses, a text written, edited, and published against Islam, the Prophet of Islam, and the Qur’an, along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents, are condemned to death. I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may find them in the world to kill them without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth. And whoever is killed for this cause will be a martyr, Allah Willing. Meanwhile if someone has access to the author of the book but is incapable of carrying out the execution, he should inform the people so that [Rushdie] is punished for his actions.”
At the time, Nameh Mardom, the central publication of the Tudeh Party of Iran wrote in an article titled “Khomeini and Rushdie”: “Nameh Mardom revealed that during the recent massacre of political prisoners, religious judges were calling on the prisoners and asking them whether they believe in god or not; whether they were still insisting on their views and beliefs or not. If they were not getting their desired response, they would immediately issue the death sentence… [The news published in Nameh Mardom] might have created this doubt for those who are unfamiliar with the “culture” and “logic” of the theocratic regime of Supreme Leader that we had exaggerated in circulating these news… The order to kill Salam Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses… proved that when these guys don’t like an opinion or belief (rightly or wrongly) and consider it “offensive”, they cannot like any other civilized person deal with it in a logical and scientific manner, so they decide to kill the person.” (Nameh Mardom, No. 248, 28 Feb. 1990)
The context of growth of terrorism and extremism in the region and the world
While unconditionally condemning such medieval and destructive beliefs (mentioned above) in dealing with the dissidents, we cannot ignore the objective context of the growth of this phenomenon which is directly related to the destructive and adventurist policies of the global imperialism in the Middle East in the recent decades. The founding of the terrorist group “Al Qaeda” in Afghanistan during the “cold war”- with the aim of toppling the democratic government of that country at the time- with the financial and moral support of the US and Britain imperialism and under the direct supervision of the intelligence service in Pakistan, and with the cooperation and financial aid from the local reactionary forces, such as Saudi Arabia regime, created and mobilized a horrible beast in the world which revealed itself in the bloodiest way in the West in terrorist attacks of September 11 of 2011, and its continuation could be seen today in bloody civil wars in Syria and Iraq.
The military attack of the US and its allies on Afghanistan and then Iraq, and the continuing bloody suppression and violent violation of the rights of the Palestinians by the state of Israel, have in general laid the ground for the growth of religious extremism and intensification of tensions and bloodshed not only in the Middle East region, but also all around the world.
A careful and critical review of the news in the recent months about the raids of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and then the recent terrorist attacks, indicate this undeniable fact that imperialists and their allies have supported these same criminals as “freedom fighters” in Syria in the past two years, and have provided all kind of financial and military assistance to them. The revelation that the French terrorists have been training and transferring “jihadists” to Syria and Iraq under the guidance of the France security forces in the past few years, and the European states turning a blind eye on the fact that terrorist organizations have been recruiting warriors in the European capitals in order to organize “jihad” in the Middle East countries, backed by the billion-dollars financial support of the Saudi Arabia and Qatar regimes, are indications of the destructive consequences of a policy that strives to impose its hegemony, in this very sensitive and high-tension region at any cost, and without any consideration for the will and interests of the people of the region and the world.
Another important point to note is the growth of fascist and racist views in European countries, including France, which provides grounds for the growth of extremism in various forms and shapes. The results of the recent EU parliamentary elections and the unprecedented and dangerous growth of racist forces, from Germany to France and England and Greece and Holland and East European countries, is a serious indication of a social crisis which is spreading widely every day on the ground of the capitalism economic crisis and its efforts to impose neoliberal policies on the world. The demonstrations of racist groups in Dresden and other German cities in recent days, which were opposed by the progressive forces and ordinary citizens, and also the events in Ukraine and the support of the imperialists of fascist forces in that country proves this fact that contrary to what the Western leaders say, it is not the governing capitalist system that defends the human rights, equality and fraternity and “liberté” in France or anywhere else in the world.
While categorically condemning the horrendous crime of terrorists affiliated with the Islamic extremists in killing writers, cartoonists and staff of the “Charlie Hebdo” magazine, our party does not believe that the way to save the world from the scourge of terrorism is religious crusade and transforming the cities in Europe and North America to military bases, but the answer is in the fair and just solution of the crisis in the Middle East, implementing people-orientated socio-economic policies, and in putting an immediate stop on the adventurist and destructive policies of imperialism to impose its hegemony over the Middle East region. The presence of millions of French people in the streets of various cities of France and the solidarity of the progressive and humanitarian people around the world in memory of the victims of this horrific crime and in defence of freedom of thought and expression does not mean that they defend the devastating policies of the imperialist states in the Middle East and Africa.