Iran Fails to Deliver the Quds

Boing Boing makes merry at the expense of Bernard Lewis:

A couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published Mideast Scholar Bernard Lewis’s op-ed piece suggesting that Iranian President Ahmadinejad might commit some kind of catastrophic mischief, such as launching nuclear weapons, on August 22.

Lewis said this might be so because that’s the anniversary of Mohammed’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. (Makes sense, doesn’t it?)

As it turns out, instead of attacking anyone, Iran announced it was going to “resume negotiations with the group of 5+1,”

Lewis’s comments were widely reported, with other conservatives sounding a chorus. One “expert” who concurred was Joseph Kickasola of Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Agape reported:

Some Islamic scholars worry that Iran’s president may launch an attack on Jerusalem, perhaps with a nuclear missile, a week from Tuesday. That is the date when Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to heaven from Jerusalem. It is also the date Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has picked to reply to Western demands that he renounce efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Professor Joseph Kickasola, an Islamic scholar at Regent University, says Ahmadinejad believes he has a God-given mission to prepare the way for the Muslim messiah, or mahdi, who will arise from end-times chaos to convert the world to Islam. Kickasola says that while a nuclear strike on Jerusalem would kill Muslims as well as Jews and Christians, Iran’s president believes the Muslims would be ushered into paradise.

And naturally, obliterating a holy site dedicated to Muhammad’s night journey would be the most obvious way for a Muslim to commemorate the event.

However, as much as one might have fun with Lewis and Kickasola, let’s not forget what kind of a place Iran under Ahmadinejad is: Direland has comprehensive coverage of the country’s persecution of homosexuals; I’ve done a few entries on the country’s sponsorship of Holocaust denial and assaults on independent higher education. The situation for religious minorities remains difficult – especially for Baha’is – and Teheran’s sinister Evin jail recently saw the suspicious death of one of the political prisoners held there. Ahmadinejad’s statements about Israel give the likes of Lewis just what they need while failing to do anything useful for the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the US political right shows that it has nothing in common with the sanguinary worldview of Islamic extremists (from a site linked from Townhall):


UPDATE: Robert Spencer has stern words for the mockers and the scoffers:

…all those who are crowing about “right-wing hysteria” should not lose sight of the real problem: the continuing threat from Iran.

Well, Robert, we can try not to – but you don’t make it easy for us.

Meanwhile, an interesting picture of life in Iran today is provided by this Guardian article from Nasrin Alavi:

…Ahmadinejad is not the whole story. Among ordinary Iranians, the talk is not about Israel, Palestine or even the nuclear crisis. Most conversations on buses and in taxis are about inflation, economic stagnation, unemployment, corruption, poverty and drugs. To them, Ahmadinejad is not an all-powerful head of a monolithic regime but a toothless president who can be overruled at any time by figures and institutions that constitute a fracturing elite…

3 Responses

  1. And naturally, obliterating a holy site dedicated to Muhammad’s night journey would be the most obvious way for a Muslim to >commemorate the event.
    Not funny.

    The Saudis have been demolishing historic sites in Mecca for decades, in the belief that they taint the “purity” of the faith by distracting attention from the Deity.

    ISTM that Ahmadinejad has his head so far in the clouds that he might do precisely such a thing.


  2. Hardly. Veneration for the al-Aqsa is enshrined in Islam, along with the two sacred mosques in Mecca and Medina. Puritan antipathy toward other holy sites has no bearing on this whatsoever – and in fact the Saudis paid to renovate the Dome of the Rock just a few years ago. And anyway, the Saudi Wahabi outlook is quite distinct from Ahmadinejad’s Shiite tradition.

  3. […] I did notice that) …this is still a religiously significant and dangerous time. Kamal Saleem, who became a […]

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