Dr. Soroush's Response to Reports by a Monthly Journal









One of the monthly journals, the first article of whose unwritten constitution is "distortion of facts and sanctification of violence", has quoted me as saying that "The lack of commitment to secularism in the Iranian society has resulted in its demise and instability".

Although I am aware of my legal right to publish my denial of this outrageous slander in that same libelous journal, I am concerned that, in doing so, I would have subdued the right of friends to truthfulness, and tarnished their immaculate glance by the filth of beholding that squalid publication.

Therefore, I hereby declare, in this much oppressed journal "KIYAN", to all truth-seekers and violence-detesters, that such a despicable remark and hideous fabrication is befitting only of those same inventors and fabricators. It is only a figment of their ailing imagination and has no connection, direct or indirect, with the author [of this letter].

The same journal had earlier propagated another lie about me, with the intention of causing harm and damage. It had cited Chilllr, Turkey's former premier, as one of the supporters and endorsers of a seminar in Turkey in which I had been the keynote speaker, thus hoping to confirm and prove my [alleged] relationship with the seculars of Turkey, and throw yet another veil on the face of another fact. It was hoping to conceal and tarnish the tremendous success of the seminar, not knowing (or knowingly distorting) the fact that the seminar had been organised by Turkey's Islamic Welfare Party and that, despite the enmities of the envious and the malicious, it proved so fruitful that the full transcript of my lectures there and the questions and answers as well as the proceedings of my other dialogues with the writers and intellectuals of that land were all compiled into an independent book and published by the Welfare Party.

I hold no hope in taking my case to the judicial authorities; when I see that, in the case of Hamed Algar, the Director General of Justice Ministry himself submits a complaint as the public prosecutor and demands the prosecution of Kiyan's editor on the charge of propagating lies and disturbing [the public's] minds, while in my case it has been over a year since I complained to the Justice Ministry against two journals for an outrageous and extra-ordinary libel (which even the interrogator of the Intelligence Ministry acknowledges as a blatant lie) but have not received any response. And now once again, I place the recent fabrication of that enmity-ridden paper before the eyes of Mr Director General of the Justice Ministry to see whether or not he is prepared to stand up for justice on this occasion as well? And whether or not, in the position of public prosecutor, he will demand justice for this oppressed citizen?

There is also another remark in the afore-mentioned journal, quoting Mohammad Javad Larijani as saying: "If our brother, Dr Soroush, is propagating the teachings of secularism, this is against the constitution and the laws of political activity."

I have no doubt that, following the disgraceful invasion of Tehran University by Ansar-e Hezbollah (11 October 1995) and having publicly declared that he would "kiss their hands", he is now trying, as the theoretician of Ansar, to throw a veil of lawfulness and religiosity over their unlawful and illegitimate actions, and to cleanse and sanctify the dark and sinister incidents that have taken place within Iranian universities (Tehran University and Amir Kabir University).

I have not much to say to him. "Each man weaves to his own tune". I would just add that he has understood this well, that the Islam of Dr Soroush is, undoubtedly, not the Islam of ministry and premiership, and offices and officials shall gain no benefit from it. As to what kind of Islam it is, it requires fairness and contemplation [to understand]. That is the same two gifts of which the seekers of ministry and premiership are deprived.

"Only the mature understands,
as this talk is not with the naive".

-Abdol Karim Soroush

Translator's Notes:

  The monthly journal referred to in the letter is "Sobh", edited by Mahdi Nasiri, former editor of Keyhan daily

  The libellous remark against which Dr Soroush has complained to the Justice Ministry was the allegation that, during a 1995 trip to Germany, he had been involved in 'espionage meetings' against the Islamic Republic.

  The 'case of Hamed Algar' refers to an incident in which the name of Mr Algar was mistakenly published in Kiyan (June 96), alongside that of 4 other Western scholars who had written to President Rafsanjani in support of democracy and freedom of speech in Iran. Kiyan pointed out the mistake in the following issue and apologised. Although neither Mr Algar nor anyone else had submitted a complaint on this case, it was taken up by the Director General of Justice Ministry himself, filing a law suit against Kiyan's editor for 'distorting the facts and propagating fabrications'.



Translation from Persian original, published in KIYAN, Issue No 33, Nov-Dec 96



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