Allah’s salam and grace upon you and yours.
I write to you after hesitating and pausing many times. I am fully aware that you know much more than I do. I am also intensely aware of the sensitive circumstances within the Islamic rank and file as well as the global ganging up of the ruling elites against your leadership and the 41 years of an Islamic Revolution that has fought valiantly when it had no other choice, remained calm when intimidated, and led the way when others were lost in the political and ideological wilderness of our current times. I think my silence from here on would be considered an accessory to the counter-revolutionaries who are of many shades — from the MKO to members of the clergy who disguise themselves with their religious attire. I humbly divulge to you my innermost feelings and thoughts about my trepidation concerning internal enemies who I maintain are much more dangerous, in the long run, than any external enemy can be.
Let me begin by saying, with your forbearance, that during the course of the past several years I have noticed a gradual reappearance of the Islamic atavistic dogmatists — some of whom are outright bigots — throughout North America and some countries in Africa and the Muslim East. Most of the ones I know of and know about are what may be called “Sunni-phobes.” They are linked to the Hawzahs in both Islamic Iran and Iraq. They are supported disproportionately with all the means that it takes to cause division among the Muslims and to even cause divisions among the “Shi‘is.” I would not disclose what is to follow had it not been for their troublemaking potential, which has been on the rise recently.
In the first incident, more than 20 years ago, one of these individuals who currently is in your inner circle summoned me to his office and told me along with a colleague of his — who was at that time, I believe, the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the World Bank — to vacate my responsibilities at the Islamic Education Center (IEC) in Maryland. One of them also told me on another occasion to cease praying Salah al-Jumu‘ah in the street, as I have done every week since March 1983, outside the Islamic Center in Washington, DC. Another one of these regressive individuals who has access to the highest levels of decision makers in the Islamic Republic of Iran accused me of being a Wahhabi! This same person surreptitiously superimposed a sectarian book into the Islamic Center in Washington, DC, which led to heightened sectarian meaninglessness that eventually culminated in the unlawful seizure of the Islamic Center in Washington, DC by a nexus of Saudi-American officials. These individuals, with their inability to build bridges with other Muslims, are considered assets by high level officials and have their operational connections in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The sectarian voice is becoming louder. A “Shi‘i” Islamic center in the Washington, DC area invited a speaker who gave a presentation in public in which he knowingly and provocatively spoke ill about a companion of the Prophet (pbuh). This is his opinion and he is entitled to it — but for him to express such an opinion in an Islamic center that is considered by everyone to be a virtual “Iranian Center” sponsored by the government in Iran, becomes an issue that weighs very heavily on my conscience as I have been advocating and promoting Islamic togetherness among Shi‘i and Sunni Muslims all my life. How can I continue to encourage Sunni-Shi‘i solidarity when such Shi‘i provocations are voiced in an Islamic center linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran?
In another Islamic center, which is considered a virtual surrogate of the Islamic Republic of Iran, also located in the Washington, DC area, a periodic speaker there, a professor, who I first met during an MSA-PSG sponsored activity in the Chicago area more than 30 years ago, is known for his aversion to Walayah al-Faqih. This same person said, and I heard this directly from him, that he does not believe in unity among the Sunnis and Shi‘is. I surmise that you may be aware of other speakers and spokespersons on the international Shi‘i speaking circuit who are on one hand ill-disposed toward Walayah al-Faqih and on the other hand disinclined toward Islamic Sunni-Shi‘i cohesion.
I am aware that some sketchy characters in the Washington, DC area want to dump all the culpability upon the Islamic Education Center and its administration and I do not exonerate the IEC entirely. What they are not saying, though, is that they are equally blameworthy for the sectarian and nationalist trends that have taken hold during these years.
These and much more Shi‘i sectarian manifestations are very troubling inasmuch as they purport to represent the Islamic orientation and the Islamic leadership in Islamic Iran. I am aware that the civil war in Syria has taken its toll on many “Islamic” individuals whose bottom line is that “Shi‘is” (from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, etc.) were fighting “Sunnis” from all over the world; and not any “Sunnis,” rather “Sunnis” who should have known better, “Sunnis” who come from “Islamic movements.” The problem with this characterization is that it concedes Saudi/Wahhabi representation of the other 1.5 billion Sunnis in the world! There were more “Sunnis” killed in Syria, and in Iraq for that matter, than there were Shi‘is killed by the Wahhabi-Saudi-Takfiri nexus. Obviously such assessment amounts to a lack of discretion and a damaging mistake. The Zionist-imperialist-Wahhabi instigated civil war in Syria in particular, but also in Iraq, as I see it, is a deep wound in the Islamic conscience, which will not heal if sectarians, both Sunnis and Shi‘is, are calling the shots.
With your permission, let me disclose to you my modest foresight of what may emerge in the future course of Islamic self-determination in and around the Holy Land. There is and has been a welcome consolidation of an impending united front of combat-ready Muslims from Islamic Iran to the areas north of colonized Palestine. This accomplishment has driven the Zionists and their allies into deep-rooted but well-hidden despair. But this same accomplishment carries within it a sectarian contagion due to the fact that the “Sunnis” feel discriminated against (in the millions), or made into refugees (in the millions), or forced into involuntary oppositional silence (in the millions). This type of demographic volatility, if not resolved in good time, could come back to “get even” with its ostensible oppressors (the sectarian Shi‘is). Parallel to this east-west generational military consolidation commanded by your Islamic leadership there is another north-south additional embryonic consolidating front of inclined Islamic Movement Muslims. This “war front in the making” has the government in Turkey, with its Islamic oriented statesmen, linking up with the Islamic Movement members from Egypt.
This new alliance finds its common ground in Libya. Should this developing alliance of committed Muslims win their common battle against the Saudi-Emirati-Egyptian regimes imposed war on them in Tripoli, that would become a game changer and the Muslims of the world will have another consolidated military force that can deliver on the liberation of the Holy Land. Within this up-and-coming alliance, if it manages to overthrow the military dictators in Egypt, there are those “Sunni” sectarians who carry within them the wounds of “Syria and Iraq.” The north-south unity for liberation (Turkey and Egypt) and the east-west unity for liberation (Islamic Iran to Lebanon) are the ideal juggernaut for the final undoing of the Zionist colonization of the Holy Land (Palestine) to establish a justice-based order for all its people, and by extension the end of the Wahhabi-Saudi colonization of the Hallowed Land (Arabia). This can become the climax of the Islamic Revolution.
Some significant parts of the “Sunni” Islamic Movement have freed themselves from Saudi hegemony in the past years — they committed serious mistakes and they paid for those mistakes and we pray they have enough maturity in them to join hands with you and the dedicated Islamic corps to do what has to be done. Sadly, considerable parts of the “Shi‘i” Islamic Revolution have obstructed themselves by regressing into the pre-Walayah al-Faqih attitude, which serves sectarianism and “otherism.” I need not recall the sad days in the 1960s and 1970s when the late Imam Khomeini (rahmatullahi ‘alayhi) was considered a menace and an agitator by the Hawzah and its well-known maraji‘ (high-up religious scholars). It appears to me that those high-up relapsing religious scholars have made a comeback. And if things continue the way they have been going, I fear that history will have repeated itself. The same way the forces of the status quo that were defeated by our beloved Prophet (pbuh) came back through Umayyad scheming and imposed a king on the Muslims — that is, Mu‘awiyah — the status quo forces of the pre-Islamic Revolution who were defeated by Imam Khomeini are poised to take over and declare there cannot be an Islamic government in the absence of the 12th Imam. There may be a Mu‘awiyah lurking — waiting for his moment to strike, may Allah (swt) forbid.
My humble advice, and your knowledge is superior to mine, is to initiate a “cultural revolution.” The time has come. It is either that, or may Allah (swt) help us, our children and grandchildren may end up saying, “Once upon a time, we had an Islamic Revolution.”
I don’t mean to be unenthusiastic or pessimistic. I only meant to say what is on my mind and in my heart. Forgive me if I hurt your feelings in any way. May the Almighty shower you with His blessings and guide you as you are a radiance to the rest of us. Please accept my modest greetings and my sincere salutations and my congratulations on the occasion of the 41st year of an enduring and unbowed Islamic Revolution, “…And I am a trustworthy adviser to you” (7:68).