Iran’s intriquing new weave of tradition and change

  CS Monitor, December 16, 2004 , By Helena Cobban QOM, IRAN - On a recent Thursday, the marble-paved courtyards of Qom's. 400-year-old Hazrat-e Masumeh shrine were filled with family groups of Shiite pilgrims from different communities. Many were Iranians, but I also heard snatches of Arabic amid the Farsi and saw faces from throughout central Asia and saris from the Indian subcontinent. Like nearly all the women here, I was wrapped in an all-encompassing black chador. (It's hard to keep that massive, single piece of cloth from slithering to…

Keeping Faith in Reform, and Islam, in Iran. As Secular Movement Crumbles, Defiant Cleric Spreads Blame With a Smile

TEHRAN -- Mohsen Kadivar is a lonely voice in Iran these days. A charismatic cleric with a salt-and-pepper beard and a spirited smile, Kadivar became a hero to Iranian youth during his 1999 trial for challenging Iran's rigid theocracy. But the once-robust reform movement he symbolized virtually evaporated this year. Its political groups are in disarray. The last of 110 dissident newspapers or magazines have been shut down. Democracy advocates in parliament were barred from running again in elections last February, and student activists have been jailed or harassed. These…

The Principles of Compatibility of Islam and Modernity

Introduction  1.Modernity is such a dominant culture of the day that has influenced all cultures and sub-cultures in a way. Although modernity in one sense contains the greatest human achievements and has made changes which have embraced all the angles of human societies, to the extent that it has now turned to a turning point in all man's individual as well as collective affairs ; but this does not mean that modernity is to be considered as the ideal goal or supreme virtue, taking it as a measure to evaluate…

The New Intellectuals in Iran

    Abstract For a long time intellectuals in Iran have been at the crossroads of two distinct sources of influence: Western thought and Shiite thought. These two traditions began to exert their contradictory influence from the end of the 19th century onwards. The Islamic revolution was the result of a social movement and an intellectual trend, resulting in the renewal of Islamic thought exposed to Western Marxist and Third-worldist ideas. Since then, three generations of intellectuals have been active. There has been a divergent new intellectual trend since the…