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American Author: Supreme Leader’s Letter to Youth Major Blow to West’s Imperial Plots against Muslims

6 April 2015 7:52

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American author Paul Street said that the Leader of Islamic Ummah and Opressed People Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei’s letter to the European young people defuses the plots hatched by certain western states to keep their military and imperial aggression running in Muslim-populated countries.

“It’s a reasonable admonition. I found the letter admirably non-doctrinaire and open minded. …That’s quite fair and sensible… . Currently and for some time in the West, the dominant “mainstream” (corporate and imperial) media and politics culture has been encouraging citizens young and old to identify Islam and “Muslims” with terrorism and violence. This is done without any honest or serious attention to differences between and among Islamic people or to the actual original and primary Islamic texts. This false, dehumanizing, and dogmatic image of Islam and the Islamic world reinforces western, primarily US military and imperial aggression in Arab and Muslim worlds. It also reinforces the marginalization and oppression of Muslim people inside western societies,” said Paul Street, American author and journalist, in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.

He added, “The vicious propagandistic and one-sided image of Islam and Muslim people that western politicians, western media, many western intellectuals and Salafist extremists (ISIL above all) have collaborated in generating in the West can only fuel further US western and imperial aggression, further disastrous US support for Israel and for corrupt authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia, and the further oppression of Muslims inside the West.”

Paul Street is the author of numerous books including “Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11”, “Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era”, and “Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: a Living Black Chicago History”.

Street’s essays, articles, reviews, interviews, and commentaries have appeared in numerous outlets, including CounterPunch, Truthout, the Chicago Tribune, Capital City Times, In These Times, and Chicago History.

Street’s writings, research findings, and commentary have been featured in a large number and wide variety of media venues, including The New York Times, CNN, Al Jazeera, the Chicago Tribune, WGN (Chicago/national), WLS (ABC-Chicago), Fox News, and the Chicago Sun Times.

Here is the full text of FNA’s interview with Paul Street:

Q: The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, has written a letter to the younger demographic of the West, urging them to study and research the incentives behind the widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam and try to gain a direct and firsthand knowledge of Islam from its primary and original sources. What’s your perspective on the message?

A: It’s a reasonable admonition. I found the letter admirably non-doctrinaire and open minded. “I don’t insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam,” the Ayatollah’s letter reads, “What I want to say is: Don’t allow this dynamic and effective reality in today’s world to be introduced to you through resentments and prejudices. Don’t allow them to hypocritically introduce their own recruited terrorists as representatives of Islam.” That’s quite fair and sensible. Of course, anyone who is remotely serious about understanding the tenets of Christianity would want to begin by reading the Christian Bible, not by listening to the ranting of deranged fake-Christian US televangelists like Pat Robertson or to anyone else who represents the Christian faith without honest reference to or knowledge of the Bible’s contents. I could say pretty much the same exact sort of thing about Judaism and the Talmud or about Marxism and Karl Marx’s classic texts. It’s the same for Islam and the Holy Quran, naturally. Currently and for some time in the West, the dominant “mainstream” (corporate and imperial) media and politics culture has been encouraging citizens young and old to identify Islam and “Muslims” with terrorism and violence. This is done without any honest or serious attention to differences between and among Islamic people or to the actual original and primary Islamic texts. This false, dehumanizing, and dogmatic image of Islam and the Islamic world reinforces western, primarily US military and imperial aggression in Arab and Muslim worlds. It also reinforces the marginalization and oppression of Muslim people inside western societies.

Q: It seems that western governments are making all-out efforts in order to marginalize Islam and Quran and then promote Islamophobia throughout the world. In order to accomplish this, their mainstream media outlets are spreading false narratives on Islam and Muslims all around the clock and, in fact, are putting many obstacles in the way of the youth trying to learn Islamic teachings. What’s your take on that?

A: Well, in the US and elsewhere young people and others can easily fall under suspicion of terrorism and “radicalization” and sympathy for Salafist terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL if they show any interest in the Quran and other core Islamic teachings and documents and Islamic history. It’s a bit like the McCarthy era, where a US citizen who showed an interest in socialist and Marxist texts was considered a friend or even an agent of the Soviet Union, America’s great Cold War enemy. In much of the US today, Islamic texts, teachings, and discussions are viewed with great suspicion and disfavor. The main false narrative is one that basically portrays all Muslims as soulless killers and savage terrorists, dehumanized enemies of life and peace. As far as many Americans seem to know, sadly, ISIL, al-Qaeda, and the Charlie Hebdo attackers represent the true face of Islam. In reality, as your readers know, human life is extremely sacred in Islam and in the Quran – not just Muslim life but human life in general.

Q: The Iranian Leader’s message was well received by the younger generation who agree only by reading the Holy Quran can one understand the core values of Islam. Also world mainstream media and dozens of high-profile figures have so far highlighted the importance of the letter given the current situation in the West. What do you think?

A: I confess I know very little about how the letter was received by Westerners, young or old. I do think it is an important and useful letter given the grave and potentially explosive situation that has been created in the Middle East primarily by US imperial policy. The vicious propagandistic and one-sided image of Islam and Muslim people that western politicians, western media, many western intellectuals and Salafist extremists (ISIL above all) have collaborated in generating in the West can only fuel further US western and imperial aggression, further disastrous US support for Israel and for corrupt authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia, and the further oppression of Muslims inside the West. At the same time, the terrible and monolithic image of Islam that western propaganda fuels makes it excessively difficult for the West to work with peaceful Islamic forces to defeat the cancerous threat that is ISIL.

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