Top Scholar Contradicts Khatami
December 13, 2003
TEHRAN -- A top Iranian conservative scholar yesterday called on Muslims not to embrace Western democracy, just a day after reformist President Mohammad Khatami gave it an unusually frank endorsement.
They are lying. Do not be fooled by them. Leave democracy alone, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful Guardians Council legislative vetting body, said in a Friday prayer sermon.
Islam calls for justice, and this is what we understand, he added, before citing Muslim Algeria as an example of the failure of democracy.
So do not forget: curse and death to America, since they do not believe in anything except their own interests, said the scholar, who also sits on the Expediency Council, another powerful conservative-run oversight body.
Jannatis comments came just a day after Khatami, a reformist scholar, made an address to a seminar on religious tolerance in Geneva.
I think democracy is the only alternative. We can take it as Muslims, Khatami said. We must accept this has been materialised in the West, we must accept this as Muslims.
The embattled president, who has seen his reform agenda blocked by hardline institutions here like the Guardians and Expediency Councils, warned the alternative to democracy was authoritarian and despotic rule. http://www.bahraintribune.com/ArticleDetail.asp?ArticleId=15895&CategoryId=2
posted on 12/13/2003 7:14:32 AM PST
(Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
Jannati is a member of the 12-man Guardian Council which vets candidates for office.
Biography Shaykh Jannaati was born in Tash, a city in Shaahroud, in 1932. He began to learn the Holy Qur'an and Persian literature when he was only six years old. At the age of eleven, he entered the Islamic Seminary of Shaahroud, where he finished his studies at the highest levels of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and Usool (principles) offered by the seminary.
He left his hometown for Mashhad when he was 18 in order to continue his studies. In Mashad, he attended the lectures of Ayatollah Milaani. After that, he returned to Qom and attended the lectures of Ayatollah Boroujerdi and Imam Khumayni.
Al-Jannaati, thereafter, migrated to Najaf, and for 25 years he benefited from the knowledge of great and eminent scholars such as: Ayatollah Sayyid Mahmoud Shaahroudi, Hajj Sayyid Muhsin Al-Hakeem, Hajj Sayyid Abdul Haadi Shiraazi, Hajj Shaykh Husayn Al-Hilli, Hajj Mirza Muhammad Baqir Zanjaani, and Hajj Sayyid Abul Qaasim Khou'i. In Najaf while teaching advanced levels of the seminary studies he compiled many books over an eleven-year period. Short after the victory of the Islamic Revolution he returned to Iran to live in Qom. Today, he is teaching the Kharij stage (seminary lessons) in Fiqh and Usool.
Al-Jannaati has written more than (350) articles on subjects like Fiqh, Usool, Qur'anic sciences, Tafseer and Hadith (tradition). Many of his articles have been published in various magazines inside and outside of Iran. He also delivered many lectures and attends many international conferences, and educational/cultural congresses.
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