TEHRAN, Jan. 25 (MNA) – In her op-ed for Mehr News, North American Studies expert Kadkhodaee describes Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent message addressing the youth in west as being in total harmony with the Islamic Revolution’s approach.

Whilst there have been numerous rumors and reports of letters from Barak Obama to Ayatollah Khamenei in the previous months, the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran has preferred to address the general public, young people specifically, instead of political leaders. This is in total harmony with the nature of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which has always held hope in the ability of people, rather than statesmen, to bring about positive change.

In an age where individuals are bombarded with information and many important facts are lost or distorted in the busy world of social media and online news sources, Ayatollah Khamenei insists on reminding young people that to understand complex issues and contested meanings such as the true nature of Islam, they have to be more investigative and to refer to the “primary and original sources.”

For decades there have been efforts to distort the image of Islam in the West and to manufacture a hideous enemy out of Muslims; what has been termed the “Otherizing of Islam,” or Islamophobia. The irony is that groups and entities such as Al-Qaeda and, more lately, ISIL which would never have entered the world stage were it not because of American and European support and patronage, are now being introduced by the same supportive countries as the face of Islam and the most deadly threat the world faces. Americans and especially Europeans are encouraged to replace their economic woes and everyday hardships with nightmares of bearded Jihadists coming to cut their throats with daggers and swords. But true and pure Islam is not about bearded Jihadists waving swords around; this is only the manufactured image, the Orientalist painting. Ayatollah Khamenei is urging Western youth to make a leap from accepting the biased image their media and governments provide, to referring to more credible sources in order to understand what true Islam stands for. He is asking them to raise their heads above the pool of toxic and hate provoking media images and political rhetoric and breath for fresh air. 

A constructive understanding between European and North American youth and Islam is perhaps what the current “widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam” aims to prevent, as such an approach will unveil “concepts and values in Islam” that “disturb the programs of the super powers” and threaten their interests. Such a leap, if made, can prevent future embarrassment for Western intellectuals and researchers, facilitating a new path for history. Ayatollah Khamenei writes to the Youth, because they have the potential to change the course of history. Future historians and researchers do not have to add Islamophobia and Muslim bashing to the dark phases of Western history. Instead, they can write that this time the “public conscience in the West” wasn’t too late to prevent a new round of prejudice, hatred and bloodshed.


Elham Kadkhodaee is a PhD candidate in North American Studies in University of Tehran.




News Code 105697

Your Comment

You are replying to: .
  • 4 + 4 =