4th December 2023
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Blasphemy and Apostasy in Islam

Take a front-row seat to the debate on blasphemy and apostasy in Islam: a. Presents a back-and-forth debate between two Shi’a jurists (one conservative, one reformist) that locates the exact points of controversy surrounding apostasy and blasphemy; b. Engages with the broader subjects of religious freedom and human rights, addressing both secular and religious interests; c. Articulates the secular–religious divide and proposes a pluralistic solution, making a case that apostasy and blasphemy are non-existent in the Qur'an; d. Packed with translations of primary sources, including fatwas and interviews.
The collected works of Āqā ‘Ali Modarres was published twice in the span of nineteen years. The present book is the review of the second edition by the editor of the first one that was selected as the Book of the Year in 1999 and the Leader of the I.R.I. removed it. It represents the evidence of plagiarism, violation of moral rights, and a waste of public purse. After 12 years of having all his publications banned in Iran, this is Kadivar’s first print publication released in Germany.
The first question arises when the non-Christians or non-Western societies want to apply secularization in the processes of their modernization: ‘what is the precise meaning of secularization? or what are its major connotations?’ Is non-secular modernization possible, without a decline in religious beliefs and practices, without privatization of religion, and even without separation of church and state? Is secularism an end in itself, or is it a means to some other end? Which kind of religion do humans need? By whom are the categories of religion and the secular defined?
Ayatollah Khomeini expanded the domain of fiqh and Shari’a to include all political, social, economic, personal, public, cultural, and even the military affairs. He thought that fiqh had a comprehensive capacity to promote the jurist to the position of an absolute ruler, who is the final decision maker after consulting with experts. He tried to compensate the shortcomings of fiqh by adapting the public interest. We may reverse his theory, and appoint the elected experts as the final decision makers who consult the jurists! Jurisprudence doesn’t have such big capability.
I am from the Rest and now I am speaking in the West. Human rights and democracy for the others (the Rest) are not the first priority from Western perspective. We cannot generalize our understanding of Western white Christianity for all religions in the globe. Isn’t liberalism an ideology itself? we can have different approaches to religion. We need to be accepting of diversity, pluralism, existence of the others (tolerance) and equal rights. The Rest are in the margin, while the West are in the center and more equal!
‘Minimal democracy’ is the problematic of the residents of authoritarian countries, including most of Muslim majority countries. The record of Western liberal democracy for the ‘rest’ in both periods –colonialism and postcolonialism – is not defendable, neither in support of democracy and human rights abroad nor in support of peace, morality and ethics in the globe. According to ethical-based Shari’a, democracy is the best available means for serving the moral purposes of Islam. Democracy offers the greatest potential for promoting justice, protecting human dignity, human freedom and emancipation.
Khomeini’s political theory of the absolute appointive guardianship of the jurist council was based on several problematic prerequisites or hypotheses: 1) The teachings of Islam could not be practiced completely unless political power was held by the jurists. 2) The establishment of an Islamic State as the necessary premise of implementing Shari’a. 3) Shari’a as Islamic law as state law. 4) Jurist ruler can make any law or suspend any law including Shari’a rulings for the purpose of public interest or regime protection. It is absolutely wrong theoretically and practically.
This is a narrative of an ‘insider’ of the revolution of 1979 and in the Islamic Republic of Iran. “What went wrong in Islamic Republic of Iran?” is the major question that I am trying to answer. My response is ‘theocracy’, which entails an ideological understanding of Islam, misunderstanding of the key-concept of law, replacing it with decrees of jurist-ruler, implementing sharia as state law, having the dream of “Islam is the solution”, and ignoring modernity. My presentation is rooted in my personal experience of the revolution and Islamic Republic.
General Qassem Soleimani is worthy of appreciation for Iranians because of his courage in the battle with ISIS. This conservative politician as the head of Iran's Quds military force was the executor of Khamenei’s adventurous policies, which have structural problems and should be criticized. His assassination by Trump administration is wrong, problematic, and risky It will put more strains on the democracy and human rights in Iran. Assassination and bullying will never contribute to the establishment of human rights, democracy, and rule of law. Instagram has completely removed my page!
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