Posted tagged ‘Islamist State of Iran’

Bazian Uses Islamist Convention to Push “Islamophobia” Scare

May 5, 2017

Bazian Uses Islamist Convention to Push “Islamophobia” Scare, Investigative Project on Terrorism, John Rossomando, May 5, 2017

Bazian’s effort to accuse “Islamophobes” of a racist clash of civilizations at the MAS-ICNA conference and on other occasions distracts from the Islamists’ stated desire to supplant Western civilization.

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University of California, Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian has made a career out of demonizing critics as Islamophobes and flipping the script, arguing jihad is not the problem, but its critics are. He accuses opponents of promoting a type of McCarthyism and a racist clash of civilizations against Muslims.

“…Islamophobia comes in as a way to rationalize a clash of civilizations, using cultural markers as a way of constructing difference,” Bazian said in a speech last month at the Muslim American Society’s  (MAS) joint conference with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) held in Baltimore. “Let me say the following: Cultural racism is another signpost for biological racism.”

Bazian’s anti-Semitism runs deep. As a San Francisco State University (SFSU) student in the late 1980s and early 1990s he campaigned against Hillel, the student Jewish organization. He allegedly participated in an assault on the SFSU campus newspaper, The Golden Gator, claiming it was filled with “Jewish spies,” a 2011 Campus Watch report said. Bazian also allegedly worked to prevent a Jewish student from being appointed to the Student Judicial Council. He also served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), which was aligned with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Bazian has a long association with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to isolate Israel. He helped found Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in 2001 as an outgrowth of GUPS; SJP is known for its pro-Hamas stance and anti-Semitic acts such as disrupting an on-campus Holocaust remembrance event at Northwestern University. In recent years, Bazian has served as chairman of the national board of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). It is closely connected with groups that comprised the Muslim Brotherhood’s defunct anti-Israel network in the United States called the Palestine Committee. Bazian also raised money for KindHearts, a Hamas front whose assets were frozen by the U.S. government in 2006.

Bazian’s Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project that he founded in 2009 churns out academic papers through its Islamophobia Studies Journal that blames the West for terrorism. He also helped found Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts college in America.

For Bazian, screaming “Islamophobia” is a way to build a smokescreen against inconvenient truths when debating the facts about Islamist aggression.

Some in the Islamic community, such as California Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, contend the entire concept of Islamophobia is about shirking responsibility.

“By declaring [Islamophobia], the number one threat to Islam and Muslims in the United States, we effectively bypass the central doctrines of self accountability, and moral fortitude; principles upon which our faith is founded,” Ahmad wrote in The Lotus Tree Blog in 2010. “The sooner we wake up and take an intrepid and honest look at ourselves, the better.”

Bazian’s hosts for his recent speech have their own ties to international Islamist movements.

Prosecutors describe MAS as the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., and it has been alleged to have financial ties to Hamas. ICNA retains a strong spiritual connection with Islamist pioneer Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, founder of the radical South Asian Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami. In his book Jihad in Islam, Maududi argues that Muslims should destroy “all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it.” ICNA’s 2010 Member’s Hand Book advocates the “struggle for Iqamat-ad-Deen,” or the establishment of Islam in its totality, “in this land.”

In his MAS-ICNA remarks, Bazian specifically named Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson, Pamela Geller, David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes as drivers of the “Islamophobic industry” dedicated to preserving Israel’s interests.

Playing off the foundations of Islam, Bazian defined the “five pillars of Islamophobia” starting with the government’s “constant war on terrorism that defines it as a war on Islamic terrorism.” He misleadingly cited data to argue that Muslims are responsible for only 4 percent of terrorism in the United States and Europe. He did not cite a source for his data, but did note that it covered a period ending in 1995 – before al-Qaida, ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and other Islamist terrorist movements that have recruited westerners and attacked Western targets.

Other “pillars” Bazian mentioned include the counter-jihad movement, neo-conservatives and liberal interventionists. But Bazian’s emphasis on “Islamophobes” is to be expected. One cannot expect to attract funding for an Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project without concocting the frightening specter of “Islamophobes.”

Bazian similarly denounced Emerson, Pipes and Geller following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings for connecting the bombings to jihad before the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the attacks were identified.

“…[The] crime of the terrorist is immediate, while that of the Islamophobes is long-lasting, for it creates and impresses on our collective public mind the logic of hate and racism …,” Bazian wrote in an academic paper called “Boston Bombing, Islamophobia and Sudden Ignorance Syndrome.”

But this was no wild leap of logic. The pressure-cooker bombs used in Boston were just like those recommended by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s English language magazine, Inspire. Dhzokhar Tsarnaev later told investigators he and his brother, Tamerlan, got their idea for the bombs from the magazine.

In Bazian’s world, however, it’s Islamophobic and racist to connect violent and imperialistic interpretations of Islam to acts of terrorism today. The Tsarnaevs, indeed, were the bombers, he acknowledged. “But the Islamophobic machine committed crimes against our collective consciousness by exploiting the suffering and pain of our fellow citizens.”

Much of his MAS-ICNA speech was spent attacking Samuel Huntington’s 1993 essay, “The Clash of Civilizations?” which predicted global conflict would be driven more by cultural differences than ideology and economics.

Bazian dismisses this as a “clash of ignorance,” arguing that the past sins of white Western Christians are more important to discuss than jihadist terror.

“Bernard Lewis’ question about Islam of ‘What Went Wrong?’ should be asked in relation to European history with emphasis on the Inquisition, genocide of the Natives in the Americas, the European Trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonization, 8 Apartheid South Africa, WWI and WWII, with the good White Aryan Christian Europeans responsible for the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons against civilians recorded in history to this day,” Bazian wrote.

Then as now, Bazian charged that “Islamophobes” relished in a clash of civilizations.

“It’s interesting that repeated aggressions by Islamists, both violent and non-violent [including Bazian’s speech] don’t count for anything, while criticism of Islamists is used to say that the Bill of Rights is being rescinded,” Pipes told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “That’s highly untenable considering that we’re not the cause of jihad.”

Islamophobia has nothing to do with misunderstanding Islam or Muslims integrating into Western societies, Bazian said at the MAS-ICNA convention. It’s about protecting Western dominance over the rest of the world.

“So often [what] you get with debate and discussion, immediately the Islamophobes who jumps in – ‘well Islam is not a race.’ Well, again, race is a socially constructed category, but the directions of how people are racialized could be for a number of areas,” Bazian said. “You could be racialized because of your language; you could be racialized because of your skin tone; you could be racialized because of your religion.”

Bazian’s cultural racism concept is a flawed one, said American Islamic Forum for Democracy founder and President Zuhdi Jasser. Islam is a belief system. It cannot be treated as a monolithic entity exempt from criticism.

“If you are going to believe that Islam cannot be debated and cannot be reformed, and cannot be changed, the bottom line is you have to make it into a racial identity,” Jasser said. “That’s why Islamists are wedded … to the idea of Islam as a single tribal identity that is defined by the leaders of that tribe who are imams, clerics or theocrats.”

Islamists then use this tribal identity to depict Christians, Israeli Jews and the West as the enemy, Jasser said.

Fellow Muslims also can be “Islamophobes” if they disagree with Bazian. That’s the word he used to slur Muslims who supported the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which ended the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief rule. Presumably this included Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most important clerical institution, who blessed Morsi’s ouster.

When it comes to aggressive clash of civilizations rhetoric coming from Islamists, Bazian turns a blind eye. He chose to write for UCLA’s newsmagazine Al-Talib in the late 1990s and early 2000s despite the fact that Al-Talib regularly featured pro-jihadist articles. For example, an article he wrote in the March 1999 issue appeared along with a piece praising Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.

The July 1999 edition contained an editorial titled “Jihad in America” that criticized calling Osama bin Laden a terrorist. Bin Laden, it said, was a “freedom fighter” who spoke out against oppressors.

By that time, bin Laden had publicly declared war on the United States, “Jews and Crusaders.” That fatwa invoked the Quran to declare that killing Americans “an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it…” The al-Qaida suicide bombing attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania took place the year before Bazian’s Al-Talib article.

Bazian could have opted to stop writing for the newsmagazine after the pro-terrorist articles were published, yet he chose to submit articles in Al-Talib’s September 1999 issue and again in Al-Talib‘s March 2000 issue.

“I think he is a classical civilizational Islamist supremacist,” Jasser said, “meaning that until he is caught and exposed on various positions he’ll do whatever possible to advance the concept that where Muslims are a majority that an Islamic state is the best avenue for governance.”

Islamists love clash of civilizations rhetoric because they view the world in terms of the Land of Islam and the Land of War ruled by non-Muslims,  Jasser said.

Bazian’s effort to accuse “Islamophobes” of a racist clash of civilizations at the MAS-ICNA conference and on other occasions distracts from the Islamists’ stated desire to supplant Western civilization.

As a Muslim, I am Shocked by Liberals and Leftists

March 25, 2017

As a Muslim, I am Shocked by Liberals and Leftists, Gatestone InstituteMajid Rafizadeh, March 25, 2017

(Please see also, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh: Why the Islamist State of Iran is So Dangerous. — DM)

It is the fear of this violence, torture and death, wielded by extremist Muslims, that keeps every person desperate to obey.

If liberals are in favor of freedom of speech, why do they turn a blind eye to Islamist governments such as Iran, which execute people for expressing their opinion? And why do they not let people in the West express their opinion without attacking them or even giving them the respect of hearing what they have to say? They seem, in fact, like the autocratic people from whom I was fleeing, who also did not want their simplistic, binary way of thinking to be threatened by logic or fact.

As, in Islam, one is not allowed to attack except to defend the prophet or Islam, extremist Muslims need to keep finding or creating supposed attacks to make themselves appear as victims.

Finally, a short message to liberals might go: Dear Liberal, If you truly stand for values such as peace, social justice, liberty and freedoms, your apologetic view of radical Islam is in total contradiction with all of those values. Your view even hinders the efforts of many Muslims to make a peaceful reformation in Islam precisely to advance the those values.

If you had grown up, as I did, between two authoritarian governments — the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria — under the leadership of people such as Hafez al Assad, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you would have seen your youth influenced by two major denominations of Islam in the Muslim world: the Shia and the Sunni. I studied both, and at one point was even a devout Muslim. My parents, who still live in Iran and Syria, come from two different ethnic Muslim groups: Arab and Persian.

You also would have seen how the religion of Islam intertwines with politics, and how radical Islam rules a society through its religious laws, sharia. You would have witnessed how radical Islam can dominate and scrutinize people’s day-to-day choices: in eating, clothing, socializing, entertainment, everything.

You would have seen the tentacles of its control close over every aspect of your life. You would have seen the way, wielded by fundamentalists, radical Islam can be a powerful tool for unbridled violence. It is the fear of this violence, torture, and death, wielded by extremist Muslims, that keeps every person desperate to obey.

My father was brutally tortured — justified by some of the fundamentalist Islamic laws of the ruling governments in both Iran and Syria. The punishment extended to my mother, my family, and other relatives, who were tormented on a regular basis.

What was even more painful was, upon coming to the West, seeing the attitude of many people who label themselves liberals and leftists, towards radical Islam.

These liberals seem to view themselves as open-minded, but they have a preconceived way of thinking about Islam: to them, it seems, there is no radical Islam, Islam is only a force for the good, Islam can do no evil.

How could they not see the way extremist Muslims exploit some aspects of the religion of Islam to legitimize its acts? How could they not even acknowledge that radical Islam, a force that threatens to destroy the planet, let alone my family, exists?

Instead, many liberals would criticize me or attempt to turn a blind eye, as if I were accidentally making some embarrassing mistake. They seemed instead to love being surrounded by Western Muslim “scholars”, those who are apologetic towards radical Islam and — notably — have never actually lived in a Muslim country under the strangling grip of the official fundamentalist laws, sharia.

Why do many liberals, who criticize Christianity and religious conviction in general, appear to open their arms to radical Islam so affectionately? Why are so many liberals, who call themselves the robust defenders of peace, social justice, and freedoms, apologetic for all types of fundamentalist Islamist laws?

If, as liberals argue, they support women’s and LGBT rights, why, by their silence, do they condone gays executed and women subjugated on a daily basis throughout most of the enormous Muslim world? If liberals are in favor of freedom of speech, why do they turn a blind eye to Islamist governments such as Iran that, based on the government’s radical, theocratic laws, execute people for expressing their opinion? And why do they not let people in the West express their opinion without attacking them before even giving them the respect of hearing what they have to say?

Liberals argue that they are in favor of critical thinking, but they do not like anyone challenging their “comfort zone”. They seem, in fact, to be just like the autocratic people from whom I was fleeing, who also did not want their simplistic, binary way of thinking to be threatened by logic or fact.

Even if a person is from a Muslim country, and has direct experience with extremist Islam, many liberals will strenuously avoid this information. They seem not to want their apologetic view of radical Islam to be questioned or contradicted. They apparently have no desire to open their closed minds on the subject. The thought of a question evidently wounds them, as if an answer would mean that they were turning their backs on the ongoing crimes against humanity. How come, then, that so many liberals appear resistant to seeing that the crimes of radical Islam are those crimes against humanity? And at present, the largest?

Second, these liberals — indulging in faulty, sophisitic, logic — seem to think that if they criticize Christianity and Islamists criticize Christianity, then Islamists will like them for hating the same thing. In the same vein, many liberals hate the U.S. Republican government and many radical Muslim groups hate the U.S. Republican government, so perhaps many liberals think that Muslims will like them for hating the same government? Sadly, as these liberals will soon find out, the enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

Third, and more fundamentally, sympathizing with all kinds of Islamist practices and radical Islam seems to fit a wider narrative of bashing the West and white people for “imperialism, colonialism, and any sense of superiority”. Unfortunately that view fails to take into account that there have been no greater imperialists the Muslim armies; they conquered Persia, the great Christian Byzantine Empire in Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East, virtually all of Eastern Europe, most of Spain, and Greece.

As, in Islam, one is not allowed to attack except to defend the prophet Muhammed or Islam, extremist Muslims need to keep either finding or creating supposed attacks to make themselves appear as victims.

Anjem Choudary, a radical British Muslim cleric, was sentenced late last year by a British judge to five and a half years in prison for encouraging people to join the Islamic State. (Image source: Dan H/Flickr)

Many liberals, not knowing the background, buy into this claim. By siding with the “other”, they probably feel a moral superiority: they are helping a cause, championing the “other” and rescuing a “victim”! But this moral superiority is both superficial and misplaced. It is more like that of the proverbial boy who murders his parents and then asks the judge for mercy because he is an orphan.

Maybe that is why, when many liberals hear criticism of radical Islam and the nuances of some aspects it, they refuse to hear it. For them, as radical Islam is not being depicted as a victim anymore, this view does not offer them the comfort of being morally superior defending victims. Ironically, that is the same motive for many radical Islamists: feeling morally superior defending Islam. The liberals then become confused, and do not know how to answer because I am a Muslim, have grown up there — not a Western Muslim who has never lived in a Muslim society. I am not even a Western conservative, with whom the liberals are also at odds. Many liberals, like all people happily married to a fantasy, and despite towering evidence, will stick to the fantasy and to their binary way of thinking. It is like trying to tell your friend that the stripper he wants to marry might not want to stay home, make babies and cook. He is so emotionally addicted to his dream that he will do anything to protect it.

Finally, it goes without saying that, as with all of us, liberals too attempt to preserve their financial and political interests. These material and social investments are also threatened by hearing from Muslims who have endured oppression and torture under radical Islam. Those liberals seem to suspect, correctly, that this new information might create some kind of conflict of interest, so possibly decide it might be safer not to hear it in the first place. Instead, again to protect their investment, many liberals and leftists ignore or criticize Muslims such as these.

Finally, a short message to liberals might go: Dear Liberal, If you truly stand for values such as peace, social justice, liberty and freedoms, your apologetic view of radical Islam is in total contradiction with all of those values. Your view even hinders the efforts of many Muslims to make a peaceful reformation in Islam precisely to advance the those values. In addition, sadly, your view towards radical Islam actually contributes to the violence and the repression of millions of people — women, children, slaves, and all those people whom you claim you want to protect. These are the true victims. They are subjugated, dehumanized, terrorized, tortured, raped and beaten on a daily basis by the practitioners of radical Islam and the religious laws of sharia, which are at the core of that fundamentalism. It is time to open your eyes and your minds and see what is staring at you.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh: Why the Islamist State of Iran is So Dangerous

March 22, 2017

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh: Why the Islamist State of Iran is So Dangerous, Clarion ProjectElliot Friedland, March 22, 2017

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh. (Photo: Supplied)

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a world-renowned Iranian-American political scientist,  businessman and author. He is a leading expert on Iran, Middle East, US foreign policy, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East and North Africa. Harvard-educated, Rafizadeh serves on the board on Harvard International Review. Born in Iran, Dr. Rafizadeh lived most of his life in Iran and Syria.

He can be reached on Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh or by email at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu

He graciously agreed to speak with Clarion Project Dialogue Coordinator Elliot Friedland about Iran and why he feels so strongly about the threat posed by the regime. The views expressed below are those of Dr. Rafizadeh’s and not necessarily those of Clarion Project.

1. Clarion Project: What do you think is so dangerous about the regime of Iran?

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh: There are so many reasons why the Islamist state of Iran is extremely dangerous. They could fill an entire book.

Briefly speaking, I believe there are four major reasons, or what I will call, five concentric forces of extremism and fundamentalism:

First of all, from my perspective, the Iranian regime is far more dangerous than terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or Al Qaeda. On a daily basis, Iran tortures and executes people on a much larger scale than terrorist organizations such as ISIS. It is the top state sponsor of terrorism in the world. It supports militarily and financially hundreds of militia and terrorist groups all around the world. It regularly gives birth to terrorist groups. Only one country, the Islamist state of Iran single-handedly assists almost one quarter of world-designated terrorist groups. The Iranian regime contributes in terrorist attacks around the world. This means that the Iranian regime is responsible for blood spilled across many nations, for the slaughter of countless victims of terrorism. Iran has placed spies, lobbyists and agents across the globe, even in the U.S.

The Iranian regime is more dangerous than ISIS and Al Qaeda combined because the Islamist state of Iran operates under the “legitimacy” of the state system. Unlike ISIS or Al Qaeda, the Iranian regime has easily gotten away with its brutal actions for almost four decades because it is a “government” and supported by the United Nations when it comes to sovereignty. Since the ruling clerics rule a country, no one questions their actions.

Unlike terrorists groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda, the Iranian regime has powerful ballistic missiles which can hit any country in the region; it has military institutions, it hires hundreds of thousands of militiamen, it freely controls the wealth of a large nation and wields all of the influence that comes with it. Instead of solely focusing on ISIS, the international community should also address the Iranian regime.

A military parade in Iran. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Secondly, the Iranian regime is a radical theocracy. This means that its core pillars are anchored in radical Islamism and extreme interpretations of the religion of Islam. The Iranian regime imposes strict Shia sharia laws to suppress and control its population and export its ideology beyond its borders.  For nearly four decades, the ruling political establishment has exploited Islam and used their fundamentalist version of Islam in order to advance its parochial, religious, ideological, revolutionary and political interests. From the Iranian regime’s perspective, it is mandatory to commit any act of terrorism necessary to advance these religious and political goals.

Third, the Iranian regime ranks at the very top when it comes to human rights abuses according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. This regime brutally cracks down on religious and ethnic minorities. It crushes all kinds of freedoms on a daily basis, engages in torture, and executes children.

Fourth, the Iranian regime’s objective is to spread its Shia radical Islamism across the globe. The Islamist state of Iran’s constitution clearly states that it is the mission of the Islamic state to export its ideology, religion and revolutionary principles beyond its borders. The functions of Iran’s Quds Force, proxies, lobbyists and agents among others, are to accomplish this goal. The constitution mandates an “Imam” or “Velyat-e Faqih” to rule people; which is another form of authoritarian theocracy. The regime believes that the world will be ruled under the power of the Islamic state of Iran and its Shia sharia law. It will do anything to achieve this religious and political objective.

Fifth, the Iranian regime aims at directly damaging the US and Israel’s national security interests in addition to any other country that opposes its authoritarian views. The regime has killed Americans and Westerners and it continues to fund efforts to harm the lives of American and Israeli people, as well as millions of other people.

 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif laughs during the nuclear negotiations. (Photo: Reuters)

 

2. Clarion: The Iranian people are a lot more liberal than the regime. How can outside powers such as the United States reach out to and empower the people without emboldening the regime?

Rafizadeh: First of all, the U.S. government and other powers need to cooperate with those voices which oppose the theocratic and Islamist state of Iran. Powerful countries should stand on the right side of history.  There are many human rights groups and civil societies inside and outside of Iran that aim to democratize Iran and eliminate its violence. The U.S. specifically can help these people and unite the groups they form. It is in the long-term interest of any influential country that makes the effort to unify those that oppose the Islamic state and the human rights activists that struggle against it. Providing support to  opposition groups is an effective tool that will empower the Iranian people without emboldening the government. Seeing these groups strengthen and grow in numbers would frighten Iran’s government and weaken its grasp on the country as a whole.

Secondly, the U.S. and other powerful countries should cease all diplomatic, political, or economic ties with the Islamist state of Iran. They need to put pressure on the regime to respect human rights and to moderate its militaristic and ideological foreign policy. Four decades of diplomacy has not changed the violent behavior of the Islamist state of Iran.

A building in Tehran emblazoned with anti-American graffiti. (Photo: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

3. Clarion: Now that the Iran Deal has gone through and will be upheld, what is the next step for those worried about the regime’s nuclear ambitions?

Rafizadeh: I strongly believe, and we should all be aware, that the Iranian regime will use every opportunity to acquire nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are the Iranian regime’s golden shield which can guarantee its rule for eternity and will ensure the achievement of its radical goals.

The nuclear deal is very dangerous. When it expires, it will allow Iran to legally become a nuclear state. It is already providing Iran with billions of dollars every year, wealth that is used for extremism, terrorism, damaging U.S. national interests, and killing Westerners and Americans.

The nuclear activities of the Iranian regime should be monitored by independent groups meticulously. History has shown us, that the International Atomic Energy Agency or the UN will not detect Iran’s undercover nuclear operations. They have failed to do so several times.  All violations should be brought to the attention of the public. In addition, sanctions (particularly the UN Security Council’s sanctions) should be re-imposed on the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime should be punished for its ballistic activities and violations of UN resolutions. Without consequences, they have no motivation to limit their activities or progress toward becoming a nuclear state.

Then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tours the nuclear facility at Natanz. (Photo: Reuters)

4. Clarion: Should international activists who want to see the Iranian situation improve be using a policy of detente and engagement or isolation, boycotts and shaming?

Rafizadeh: The only policy that has resulted in success against the Iranian Regime was the application of pressure and boycotts. For example, in several cases, when there has been an international outcry and when the media paid attention to a victim of torture or execution in Iran, the Iranian regime has been forced to change its sentence. The economic boycotts successfully forced the Iranian regime to the negotiating table.

For the Islamic state of Iran, engagement and concessions signal weakness, not diplomacy. Negotiations only embolden and empower the regime. Applying pressure is the most effective, and likely only way, to create change within the regime.

A woman protests against nuclear weapons for Iran at a rally in Times Square. (Photo: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

5.  Clarion: What is the most important thing people who want to eliminate extremism and see positive relations between Muslims and non Muslims should be doing?

Rafizadeh: The most important thing is to do what you [Clarion] are doing: to give a voice to those Muslims who strongly oppose radical Islam and attempt to create reforms from within Islam. Those silent moderate Muslims need to speak up, and need to be supported when they do. If we stay silent, radical Islam will continue winning and expanding. It is our job to strongly stand against radical Islam even if that endangers our life. People should know that there are truly some Muslims who want to forge genuine reformation in Islam and help eliminate radical Islam.

Many Muslims, including myself and my family, who have endured oppression under radical Islam in Muslim nations, would like to eliminate radical Islam, promote a peaceful moderate form of Islam and lead a reformation.

Finally, I describe in detail other important topics in this article “As a Muslim, I am shocked by Leftists and Liberals” as well as in my books.

I grew up between two authoritarian governments, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria, under the leadership of people such as Assad, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. My youth was influenced by two major denominations of Islam in the Muslim world; the Shia and Sunni. I also studied Shia and Sunni Islam academically, and at one point I was a very devout Muslim. My parents, who still live in Iran and Syria, come from two different ethnic Muslim groups; Arab and Persian.

Unfortunately, in the West and particularly in the US I have witnessed that there are some groups, who have access to megaphones, including liberals, democrats, leftists and Western Muslim scholars (who have never experienced radical Islam first hand and have never lived under states ruled by sharia law) spread apologetic views toward radical Islam. They also criticize those Muslims who attempt to promote social justice and peace within Islam.

If liberals, leftists and many Western Muslim scholars truly stand for values which they call for, such as peace and social justice, they should be aware that their actions are actually contributing to the expansion of radical Islam, and they are hurting us and our efforts to lead reformation in Islam and weaken radical Islam.