Tuesday, September 26, 2023

MP accuses Friday prayer leader of helping his attackers

Ali Motahari, in a letter to Shiraz Friday prayer leader, defends his viewpoints on freedom of thought and speech.

Ali Motahari, a Tehran MP, was attacked by unknown individuals on Monday (March 9) after he left Shiraz Airport for a university in the southern city where he was scheduled to deliver a speech. The assailants pelted him with tomatoes, eggs and pieces of tiles, and smashed the rear screen of the cab carrying him. He sustained minor injuries and had to cut short his trip and return to Tehran.

Following the attack, Shiraz Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Asadollah Imani [a member of the Assembly of Experts] took what happened to the principlist MP to his sermons, doubting Motahari’s respect for and commitment to the leadership and the Assembly of Experts.

In response, Ali Motahari, released an open letter to Ayatollah Imani and offered his own side of the story. The following is a partial translation of the letter as reported by Entekhab, a news website, on March 15:


To Mr. Asadollah Imani

Shiraz Friday prayer leader

Hello. You mentioned an attempt on my life in Shiraz in your Friday prayer sermons and said, ‘Can the one who disrespects the sanctity of Velayat [the guardianship of the Islamic Jurist] and the Assembly of Expert expect others to respect him? Isn’t it true that the one who sows wind will reap whirlwind?’

Through these words you supported the assailants and approved of what they did. I’m glad to see that you have uncovered your role in the incident. An investigation team set up by the Interior Ministry should naturally consider you an accessory. […]

You have described what played out on Black Monday in Shiraz as a political incident. Apparently you view an attack on a lecturer who happens to be a member of parliament as simply an unimportant political question, not an ethical or legal issue.

I wish you had been with me that day and one of those bricks had hit your head to see whether your judgment would be the same as today’s.

‘Whatever you like for yourself, like for others, and whatever you dislike to happen to you, spare others from such happenings’ is a saying shared by all faiths.

You have said, ‘With problems such as unemployment, factory shutdowns, drought, slum-dwelling and its spread to downtown areas, do we need to invite someone to deliver a speech in the city every day?’ It is unclear how a city’s problems and the need for cancellation of an intellectually and scientifically-themed speech are related. These speeches might even help solve those social and economic problems.

If that is the case, all religious, scientific and intellectual speeches should be called off in Shiraz as long as the problems remain unsolved!

Moreover, what does a speech in a university have to do with the city’s Friday prayer leader? Is the Friday prayer leader supposed to meddle in all affairs of the city?

I’m sure you remember the 1980s when certain IRGC commanders commented on what took place on parliament floor and the late Imam Khomeini said, ‘It’s none of IRGC’s business what’s going on in parliament!’ Thus, legal and real individuals should attend to their own business instead of poking their nose into the business of others.

As for the proverb you have mentioned “The one who sows wind would reap the whirlwind”, I should say this proverb applies to you who are sowing wind by supporting and instigating those hooligans. You will reap the whirlwind in the future. Your turn will come, for sure. You are sharpening the knife – of overexcitement – held by some indiscrete youths, and the very knife will one day cut your own hand, just like Alqaeda and the Taliban which eventually turned against the US and Israel.

You have asked ‘Can the one who disrespects the sanctity of Velayat [the guardianship of the Islamic Jurists] and the Assembly of Expert expect others to respect him/her?’

The question that arises here is ‘When have I disrespected the sanctity of Velayat and that of the Assembly of Experts?’ If memory serves me correctly, I have said that the Assembly of Experts should undertake its responsibility, including supervising the bodies working under the leadership; this is what the Supreme Leader has emphasized and is the letter of the Constitution. In your viewpoint, the constitution itself has disrespected the sanctity of the Assembly of Experts!

Concerning the sanctity of Velayat, do you really think that whoever expresses a view against that of the Supreme Leader has shown disrespect? This is against what the Leader says. A few months ago, the leader told a crowd of students, ‘Some [wrongly] think that they should repeat what I say. No, it is not right. Everybody should speak their own mind.’ […]

As far as you are concerned, anybody who expresses a view which is against yours should be denied entry into the city and to that end beating or taking lives is permissible. Truly, everybody should learn about Islam from your excellency! I send a copy of The future of the Islamic Revolution, a book written by [my father] Ayatollah Morteza Motahari, to get familiar with the nature and ideals of the Islamic Revolution.


As a representative of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, I tell you and your friends that I will not let an atmosphere of suffocation take hold in the country. I will stand up – to the bitter end –for the freedom of thought and speech – the great ideal of the Islamic Revolution.

I recommend you cooperate with the Interior Ministry’s fact-finding team to eradicate the cancerous tumor of extremism and set the stage for changes in Shiraz.

Ali Motahari

March 14, 2015          

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