Islam instrumentalized for repressive purposes

Islam instrumentalized for repressive purposes

Of the 25 Iranian demonstrators arrested as part of the vast protest movement and sentenced to death, at least seven demonstrators have already been executed. A pace that some clerics in Qom, the religious capital of Iran, in support of power, consider too slow. After one of these executions, the Qom Seminary Teachers’ Association issued a statement calling for an end to the “Islamic clemency and indulgence” towards the demonstrators and to speed up the pace. And the instance to demand measures “even more decisive” by carrying out “exemplary executions” other demonstrators, whom she describes as “combatants and corrupt”.

To stifle the “Women, Life, Freedom” revolt, the Iranian regime has stepped up killings, after mass arrests of labor activists, members of civil society and political activists sentenced to heavy and long sentences . A way for the authorities to silence the Iranian people and force them to retreat.

For Sara Karimkhani, legal expert, in many cases, judges deprive defendants of the right to choose their own lawyer and hand down harsh verdicts with impunity. “More than half of Iranian citizens executed in 2022 were executed after the start of the Women, Life, Freedom protests and during the last three months of the year, representing a 75% increase in the number of executions compared to 2021. This shows that the Islamic Republic is using executions as a “political tool”. »

Ensuring the survival of the Islamic system

The Association of Seminary Teachers in Qom considers this to be the only proportional punishment for protesters who acted against the Islamic Republic. For many citizens, Qom’s clerics seek to instill fear and terror among the population by condoning widespread repression and violence in order to ensure the survival of the Islamic system.

Reza Mousavi is one of the worshipers who pray daily at a mosque in eastern Tehran. White hair and white beard, he says his children have participated in protests in recent months, but the fear that they will end up being executed for demanding more rights weighs heavily on him. “It is not right to execute the young people of this country in the name of Islam and force their families to mourn them, he believes. Does this behavior serve as a lesson to the rest of the population? I believe that hostile actions only breed more hatred, and this accumulated hatred will spill over in ways that are not beneficial to the power in place. »

Reza Mousavi does not hide his disgust with those clerics who support such verdicts and consider them linked to Islam, stating: “As long as heavy penalties are associated with Islam, young people will turn away from religion. It is the worst form of propaganda for a power that bears the suffix “Islamic” in its name. »

Executions carried out in the name of Islam

Molavi Abdolhamid, the Sunni Friday prayer leader in Zahedan, is one of the clerics who reject the death sentences handed down to protesters. In one of his recent speeches, he criticized the new wave of executions, especially of Baloch citizens. According to local news agencies in Balochistan, in the month of April alone, more than 20 Baluchis were executed in Iran. Many of these executions took place without the families being informed and without the legal proceedings being completed.

For Molavi Abdolhamid, the Islamic Republic kills, instead of creating jobs and ensuring the education of young people. “These executions are carried out in the name of Islam”but “It is the result of a particular view of religion, and I tell people that these executions by the Islamic Republic have no connection with the religion of Islam.”


350 Iranians executed since January

According to the latest statistics from the NGO Iran Human Rights, 353 people were executed in Iran in 2023 alone, including six women. The Islamic Republic has executed 7,338 people since 2010.

The first protester to be executed, on December 8, 2022, was Mohsen Shekari. He was accused of having blocked a street and injured a member of the bassidjis. Four days later Majid Reza Rahnavard, another Mashhad protester, was also publicly executed.

In 2022, the province of Sistan and Balochistan has the highest execution rate of the country, with 39 deaths per million inhabitants.

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