Fereydoun Hoveyda states in his interview about his book the Shah and the Ayatollah: “but I believe I discovered the reason for the decline of intellectual achievement in the Islamic world after the middle ages. ….. The earliest strain of this tragedy are to be found in a 9th century Islamic scholar named Ashari, who insisted that the use of reason in scientific inquiry was incompatible with the Koran and an insult to the sovereignty and sole supremacy of Allah. You can see how different this is from the Western world, where the European Enlightenment of 18th and 19th centuries attempted to respect the compatible character of scientific study and the utilization of human reason with Christian theology. ….. I also want to say that people in the Islamic world who say that Western science and technology is anti-Islam are complete idiots, because Western Science and Technology are heir of Islamic Science and Technology before the advent of Islamic fundamentalism”.
The ambiguities - Why does Ambassador Hoveyda consider documented history as his discovery? Is it right to compare 9th century “Akhondy” sub-culture with the 18th and 19th century European enlightenment period, and miss:
The ambiguities - It is so easy for the ambassador, who has been presented as an intellectual, to negate 3000 years of Judaism, 18 centuries of Christianity, fourteen centuries of Islam and ten centuries of “Akhondy” Islam in Iran and the clashes between them and among themselves based on different interpretation of their holy books. In Iran, clashes between rational thinking and Islam, went underground due to terror of thought and belief, inherent in Islam, due to the vagueness of contradictory statements of ”Makkey verses” and “Maddany verses” of the Koran. In France, the horror of revolution forced the church to climb down. In the rest of Europe and the U.S., fear of similar revolution, brought about the church’s climb down.
The point that Mr Hoveyda is missing is the fact that the future of human beings depends on their view of the world and the motives it creates.
The point that Mr Hoveyda is missing is the political use of religion in de-stabilizing the governments of the Third World countries and forcing on them political systems that socially, economically and politically they are not ripe to adopt.
The need to take refuge with God is a very powerful and appealing force. Terror of thought and belief and dictating behaviour that is against human nature creates a society based on duplicity with fearful liars, who are cunning, obedient, but irresponsible people.
Such religious motives have kept economies in stagnant form for centuries. There is no need to raise further points. This is enough of a basis for political use of religion by those who find improvement of their life dependent on the mineral resources of the Third World. It is not surprising that before September 11th, fundamentalist governments were supported morally, politically and even physically by the so-called civilised industrialized world.
Beating about the bush will not solve any problem. More than 30 different interpretation of Islam by the Shiites did not eliminate introducing the thirteenth Emam’s version of Islam and his “Bedaat e Valayat e Faghih”. The Valayat e Faghih is the Shiite clergies reformed answer to the challenges of western modernity.
The only way to deal with religious fundamentalism and the consequent clash of civilization is to cut the political use of religion, open religious books to the public in a language that they understand what they are reading, help them not to be misled by unverifiable statements and statements that are clearly against human experience. Also by helping people realize that the effect of the divine and the cosmos is merely a placebo effect based on what has been preached to them.
The tragic horror of the September 11 has opened a window of hope. It is action, not rhetoric that would eliminate this clash.
I'd like to add a few other points not expanded upon by Fereydoun Hoveyda, which will amount to a brief history of Post Islamic Iran and the religious movements and western ideologies that have influenced Iran, to better explain the Islamic Revolution. Please Click here
Also, read Hijaking of Islam