Translating Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the United Nations General Assembly was laced with what might be interpreted as standard progressive rhetoric. Here’s an example…

All members of the United Nations are affected by both the bitter and the sweet events and developments in today’s world. We can adopt firm and logical decisions, thereby improving the prospects of a better life for current and future generations.
Together we can eradicate the roots of bitter maladies and afflictions and, instead, through the promotion of universal and lasting values, such as ethics, spirituality and justice, allow our nations to taste the sweetness of a better future.
Peoples, driven by their divine nature, intrinsically seek good, virtue, perfection, and beauty. Relying on our peoples, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection.
Whether we like it or not, justice, peace and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world, with the will of the almighty God. It is imperative and also desirable that we, too, contribute to the promotion of justice and virtue.
OK, I guess the reference to “Almighty God” means that Ahmadinejad’s statement couldn’t have come from American or European-style progressives. But references to God aren’t the part of Ahmadinejad’s remarks that people need to be concerned about. The quest for “good, virtue, perfection and beauty”, the stuff that might resonate with the post-Christian West’s “spiritual but not religious” crowd, should be of more concern.
Contemporary Islamist thought is clear that earthly harmony and the universal acceptance of Islamic law are one and the same. Here is Sayyid Qutb, a main influence on modern radical Islamist thought, explaining the concept in Milestones, a tract widely read in the Islamic world today…
Indeed, the Shari’ah of God harmonizes the external behavior of man with his internal nature in an easy way. When a man makes peace with his own nature, peace and cooperation among individuals follow automatically, as they all live together under one system, which is a part of the general system of the universe.
When Ahmadinejad talks about ending “oppression” in his address (which he does frequently), if he is true to radical Islamist beliefs, he is not talking about Western-style progressive programs for ending oppression, e.g universal health care or a living wage or giving Africa a veto on the Security Council. Radical Islamists believe that freedom from oppression can be achieved only by destroying every earthly system not based on Islamic law. Here’s Qutb again…
Islam, which is a way of life, takes practical steps to organize a movement for freeing man. Other societies do not give it any opportunity to organize its followers according to its own method, and hence it is the duty of Islam to annihilate all such systems, as they are obstacles in the way of universal freedom. Only in this manner can the way of life be wholly dedicated to God, so that neither any human authority nor the question of servitude remains, as is the case in all other systems which are based on man’s servitude to man….Jihaad in Islam is simply a name for striving to make this system of life dominant in the world.
Ahmadinjead’s speech is consistent with Qutb’s philosophy. Nothing that he said gives any sign that he or his government believes that Islam and other religions can peacefully co-exist. Instead, he tells us that one single version of justice and virtue — his version — is coming, “whether we like it or not”.

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Anthony
Anthony
15 years ago

On a different, but related note, Citgo is Venezuala’s state-owned gas company. Last year it made $41 billion that was given right back to Hugo Chavez. Chavez put $1 billion into military equipment while simultaneously entering into a military treaty with Iran and calling for the destruction of the United States “empire”.
If you currently patronize Citgo, you are helping undercut our nation and may very well be helping to fund terrorism.
Strangely, US Navy bases offer Citgo gasoline on their bases because it is cheap.
Here’s to a boycott of Citgo!

Stretch Cunningham
Stretch Cunningham
15 years ago

I just heard on Fox News that a former Boston City Councilman is starting a drive to replace the Citgo sign that dominates the Boston skyline, most famously from Fenway park. He is calling for its removal in response to Hugo Chavez’s remarks at the U.N. and for it to be replaced by an American Flag.
I like the idea.

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