Iran: Islamization vs. Secularization
Ali Asghar Kazemi
The controversial presidential elections of June 2009, which ignited a social crisis in Iran, had a definite impact on the society and truly polarized the nation in two antagonistic camps: pro-government conservative hard-liners on one side and reformist opposition groups on the other. At first the quarrel was limited to the results of the elections which were alleged to be performed with widespread frauds. Ruthless reaction of the government to peaceful manifestations of the unconvinced people pushed the opposition to take a much more radical stand against the whole Islamic regime. This prompted the religious leader to find about the cause and origin of this prolonged crisis which is still threatening the very foundation of the system.
Radical conservatives, while claiming foreign involvement in this turmoil, believe that the Islamization process should continue with much stronger vigor until the nation has converted to zealous followers and supporters of the religious regime. Reformists on the other hand contest that the crisis is a natural response of the people to years of repressive rule, deception and injustice. They express the opinion that as long as the country is under a backward system of government, democratic changes are almost impossible. They believe that Islam has limited capacity for transformation and adaptation to the needs of our time. Therefore, they suggest that secularization is an inevitable and necessary trend of the future of Iran.
Despite earnest attempts of the ruling regime in Iran to impose the strict law of Shari’a, as interpreted by the Shiite doctrine, the result was frustrating. Thus seemingly, the process of Islamization of all vital sectors of the society during the past three decades was quite unsuccessful. We have said that some political elites have singled out Western “social Sciences” taught at the higher education, as the main cause for this failure. Some others are still trying to put the blame on “Western imperialism” and enemies of Islam, who are incessantly conspiring to topple the Islamic regime.
To what extent these arguments hold true in present Iran? What are the main causes of the young generation distancing from Islamic traditional principles and leaning towards secular values? Why those who were brought up in the Islamic environment are now rising up against the ruling system and reject the Islamization process under the guise of what we may label “national secularism”? Read More....