October 13, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1322

Ayatollah Borujerdi: Iranians Are ‘Opposed to the Politicization of Religion and its Exploitation by a Group That Has Nothing to Do With True Islam’

October 13, 2006
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 1322

The London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on October 8, 2006 that hundreds of supporters of Ayatollah Mohamed Hossein Kazemini Borujerdi prevented his arrest by Iranian security forces. Ayatollah Borujerdi, who is in favor of separating religion from politics in Iran, said that "Iranians are tired of the religion of politics."

The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

"More Than 1,000 People, Among Them Hundreds of Women, Went Out to Oppose the [Iranian] Security Forces and Forced Them to Retreat"

"Anti-riot forces and police forces from [Unit] 110 attacked, on the morning of [October 7, 2006], the house of religious authority Ayatollah Mohamed Hossein Kazemini Borujerdi, who opposes [the concept of] 'the rule of the jurisprudent' [velayat-e faqih] and the involvement of religion in politics, with the aim of arresting him.

"The head of Ayatollah Borujerdi's office told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that more than 1,000 people, among them hundreds of women, went out to oppose the [Iranian] security forces and forced them to retreat: 'Some of Ayatollah Borujerdi's students and admirers have been living in his house... for more than two months in order to protect him, after they learned that [Iranian] Intelligence Minister Mohseni Ajai had issued a warrant for his arrest and imprisonment in Evin Prison.'

"The Iranian [government] news service IRNA, which posted pictures of the gathering of Borujerdi's supporters opposite his house and inside it, published some of the slogans that were shouted by his defenders, among them, 'Freedom, freedom - This is our incontrovertible right,' as a counterpoint to the slogan 'Nuclear energy - This is our incontrovertible right' which was shouted by supporters of the regime during Friday prayers. Additional slogans were: '[We are] ready for martyrdom according to our traditional religion - that is, Islam that is not political', and 'Borujerdi is our leader'.

Iranians "Are Opposed to the Politicization of Religion and Its Exploitation by a Group That Has Nothing to Do With True Islam"

"Since Saturday morning, hundreds of women and men have joined the supporters of Ayatollah Kazemini Borujerdi, who gathered in his house and around it... shouting slogans against 'the politicized governmental religion.' According to the IRNA news service, General Shabani, the most senior police officer in the region, said that 'some of those who thought that we came to arrest a religious figure by the name of Borujerdi came to the scene armed with sticks and stones.'

"In a hurried telephone conversation with the daily, Ayatollah Borujerdi said... 'I have donned my shroud today and I am ready for martyrdom; our people are very tired of the religion of politics and political slogans... they (the Iranians) believe that they are loyal to the fundamentals of the true religion and the Prophet's mission, but they are opposed to the politicization of religion and its exploitation by a group that has nothing to do with true Islam. Islam is the religion of tolerance, forbearance, and mercy, to the point where [the Koran] emphasized to us that 'there is no compulsion in religion'.

"'I have sent a number of letters, among them a letter to your respected newspaper, [in which I called on] the leaders of Islamic countries, the U.N. secretary-general, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, so that they would apply pressure to the ruling group in Iran to lift the restrictions on our supporters and on the believers - those who just want to serve Allah in freedom and to follow the path of our Prophet and his family.'

"Ayatollah Kazemini Borujerdi said that his goal is to defend true Islam, which is far removed from any of the deviant phenomena exemplified by the terrorists and by the organizations claiming to represent Islam.

"Amir, one of the young men who are guarding Borujerdi's house, told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: 'I have been here for nine weeks, together with a group of Ayatollah Borujerdi's students, and I will never leave this house until the regime openly declares the rescinding of the arrest warrant for Ayatollah Kazemini Borujerdi, lifts the restrictions it has set on him and his supporters, and releases 200 of his followers."

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 8, 2006,

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