Imam Khomeini shook thesis of secularization: German expert

TEHRAN, Jun. 03 (MNA) – Dr. Markus Fiedler believes that when the religion seemed to slowly die, Imam Khomeini's appearance shook this thesis of secularization.

The 31st anniversary of the demise of Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Revolution of Iran will be held on Wednesday. He is known to many global figures and enjoys different characteristics that differentiate him from other world leaders. His difference with the others can be seen in the interpretation of his stances and views in the speeches of the world's great figures.

He is the founder of the Revolution and the school of thought that has crossed geographical boundaries and has become an important discourse. The Revolution founded by him has not been limited to Iran and its effects can be seen in the region and other parts of the world.

Political figures and elites around the world, regardless of their different viewpoints and even their opposition to the Islamic Revolution of Iran, have not been able to ignore the important and influential role of Imam Khomeini in changing the course of history and the global equation.

In an exclusive interview, Dr. Markus Fiedler, a German sociologist, Islamic scholar, and lecturer at al-Mustafa Institute in Berlin shared his views on Imam Khomeini’s role and viewpoints in the world.

How do you describe Imam Khomeini’s role in collapsing the dependency theory on Western or Eastern blocs?

We have to visualize the world of 1979 when Imam Khomeini brought about the victory of the Islamic Revolution with his return to Iran. The world was shaped by the confrontation between the two military blocs in East and West. Based on Max Weber's disenchantment process, sociologists in the West assumed that religion is an outdated model worldwide. The Eastern Bloc, with dialectical materialism as the ruling ideology, was considered to be so atheistic, with Albania (a communist state that was not a member of the Warsaw Pact) a state had declared itself the first atheistic state in the world (with supposedly 100% atheists). The development in the West also seemed to go in this direction; the religion seemed to slowly die. Imam Khomeini's appearance shook this thesis of secularization.

A revolution in a “Third World” state could at most have been imagined as a socialist revolution. Sociologists were confused by the fact that religion played a major role in Iran, and it was simply impossible to explain. They then endeavored to use phrases such as "relapse into the Middle Ages", but the contradiction to Western progress thinking becomes clear. German journalist Peter Scholl-Latour, who accompanied Imam Khomeini on his flight from Paris to Tehran, then described that he could now imagine how a prophet like Ibrahim must have had an impact on his environment. All this caused even more confusion, although the appearance of a charismatic figure like Khomeini according to Max Weber was predestined to break up old thinking and the old order. Just as Imam Khomeini shook the theory of secularization, so he shook the dependence theory. Because this theory sought the causes of the lower level of development of the developing countries only in the foreign trade conditions, but not in the internal conditions and political decisions of these countries.

With his slogan "Neither East nor West, Islam is the solution" and a program based on the sovereignty of the country, he broke the logic of the East-West confrontation first. Before that, a state in which there had been a revolution had to either side with the United States and NATO or the side of the Soviet Union.
In both cases, sovereignty was imminent. After the revolution of 1959, the Cubans brought Soviet advisors and rockets into the country and the country threatened to become the game ball of the great powers again, which in 1962 almost triggered a world war. The great powers finally agreed over the heads of the Cubans. This dissolution of thinking in blocks was only possible because Imam Khomeini brought another world view into play, namely Islam. 

What are the potentials of Imam Khomeini’s 'Political Islam' to present a new model for world nations?

The potential lies in the liberation theological approach of Islam, which has been repeatedly emphasized by Imam Khomeini. He said that Islam is the religion of justice fighters fighting alongside the oppressed. If one embraces the slogan haīhāt-minnā-al-ḏillah (Never Oppression) of the prophetic grandson Husain in Karbala and advocates social justice in the Quranic sense, Muslims can even be at the forefront of progress in the global struggle for a better one World stand. Islamic business ethics is not compatible with unbridled capitalism. Islamic business ethics calls for a social balance between poor and rich, which is highly topical today, in view of the widening gap between rich and poor. According to the Oxfam report, eight billionaires now own more than the poorer half of humanity, i.e. than about 3.6 billion people. Western capitalism appears to have no alternative after the collapse of existing socialism. Islam inspired by Imam Khomeini's thinking could offer such an alternative.

How do you see Imam Khomeini’s foresight to future developments of the Muslim world?

The Islamic Renaissance is a reality in the world today. This is astonishing, as numerous western observers predicted the decline of this religion at the beginning of the 20th century. The popularity of western secular ideologies was shaken by the masses in the Islamic world after the Arab defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War. It started to reorient. The Iranian revolution of 1979 had a tremendous impact on this situation. Unfortunately, foreign interests and the Wahhabis/Salafists promoted hostility to the Shiites and numerous excesses.

How significant has been Imam Khomeini’s insight about the Zionism project and his emphasis on al-Quds as a priority of the Muslim World?

The importance is particularly evident nowadays where the Netanyahu government is pushing ahead with the annexation of the West Bank. Hardly any government - even in the Islamic world - still has the courage today to criticize Israel or even sanction it. The scam to denigrate any legitimate criticism of the policy of the State of Israel as anti-Semitism is being pursued to an extreme, especially in Germany. Anyone who dares to criticize Israel, point out its crimes, or even mention the Arabs' right to the land of Palestine is at risk of being branded as an anti-Semite and pushed into the right corner. This can also mean a ban on professions and social ostracism. It is to Imam Khomeini's credit that today Iran is the only country that still dares to name Israeli crimes as such and clearly defends the rights of the Palestinian people.

Interview by Zahra Mirzafarjouyan

News Code 159369


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