The leaders of Iran have chosen to make a symbolic example of Mullah Mohammed Kazemeini Boroujerdi, by arresting the cleric who claims that he is only promoting the true example of Islam, a “passive form” of Sh’iiaism that separates religion from politics. This version of Sh’iiaism is also shared by the most reveared cleric and religious leader in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid, Ali Husaini Sistani.
I remember making exactly this point to the Helsingin Sanomat’s columnist Olli Kivinen, concerning the differences in traditional Islamic interpretations of the Shi’ia faith, after an article by Kivinen this past August (22.8.06). Kivinen, whose op-eds are generally very critical over US involvement in Iraq, tried to make a point about Iranian religious influence inside Iraq being a major contributing factor to the unrest, and its continual destabilizing influence for the future, ect. ect..
I reminded him of the fact that:
“First of all, the overwhelming majority of Shii’aism practiced in Iraq differs greatly from the Iranian version, where under the leadership of al-Sistani, a “passive voice” of Shii’a Islam is observed(that separates itself from an active role in governing). The small minority of Shii’a under the radical (pro-Iranian)al-Sadyr’s governance, makes up the active/political Shii’aism represented in the Mullocracy in Iran, and still remains marginalized by al-Sistani.
So any talk of Iranian influence over the Iraqi Shii’a, is mitigated by the difference of approach to both versions of Shii’aism, practiced in Iran and in Iraq. al-Sistani’s version of Shii’a Islam makes his influence of greater importance than Tehran could ever hope for. That Iran has involved itself in the flaming of sectarian violence in Iraq, has not been overlooked by al-Sistani, and the majority of his followers who make up the majority of Shii’a in Iraq.”
To understand the relationship between the Sh’iite in Iran and Iraq, it has to be understood that there are key differences in their brand of Sh’iia Islam. Personally, I am rooting for the Muslim voices that promote the “paasive” version of Sh’iite faith. The West (and the various international human rights organizations) should be taking notice of the Iranian regime’s arrest of Mullah Boroujerdi, making both his incarceration and cause, an issue of international concern. What happens inside Iran is not only important for the Iranians themselves, but for the future of the region and the whole world as well. KGS