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Published on 09 Mar 2015 | Category : #letter4u (1&2)

Eric Walberg: Letter of Iran’s Leader Warns about Vicious Propaganda Campaigns to Undermine Islam

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In an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency, Eric Walberg said, “Western media is virtually totalitarian now. Youth are dissatisfied with the lies and excess commercial and sex flaunted in the media. Distortions abound centering on western issues of feminism and the separation of politics and religion. Any backhanded complements to Islam are always laced with poison, intended to make Muslims believe they must reform Islam to meet the needs of the West. This poison is repeated every day. No doubt Goebbels would be delighted.”

“The Ayatollah’s letter encourages youth to read the Holy Qur’an. I have found that a powerful way to attract youth to the Holy Qur’an is through the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The Holy Qur’an really ‘came to life’ for me after I stumbled upon a biography of the Prophet, and learned about his remarkable life, his closeness to God, his brilliance and fortitude as a leader. The Sunnah is a precious record of a truly remarkable man, and makes the Qur’an more accessible to westerners interested in broadening their minds,” he added.

Eric Walberg is a Canadian journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s. He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. His articles appear in Russian, German, Spanish and Arabic and are accessible at his website ericwalberg.com. Walberg is author of Postmodern Imperialism Geopolitics and the Great Games (2011).

What follows is the full text of FNA’s interview with Eric Walberg:

Q: Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a letter to the West’s younger generation has underlined the importance of learning about the teachings of Islam and Quran from primary and original sources in Islam. In his letter, the leader has also warned against the disinformation campaign active in the West, and stressed, “….in reaction to the flood of prejudgments and disinformation campaigns, try to gain a direct and firsthand knowledge of this religion.” How do you see the timing of the Leader’s letter considering the current situation in the West?

A: The Ayatollah’s appeal to the youth of the world is an important mediation in the current battle to undermine Islam. He urges the young to examine Islam first hand rather than believe prejudiced views. This extreme bias in the West is ironically what led me to Islam. Goebbels once said to the effect ‘People believe a big lie sooner than a small one. Just repeat it often enough.’ When I realized the depth and insidiousness of the propaganda in the western media when it comes to all other cultures, I decided to find out for myself. That began my journey to Islam. I realized how fundamental Goebbels is to western ‘culture’.

Q: The infamous French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, published a sacrilegious cartoon of Islam’s Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in its January 14 edition. The publication of the cartoon came after ISIL terrorists stormed the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and left several people dead. The special issue came out in 16 languages and in a print run of up to three million copies. Muslim leaders around the world lambasted the publication of the magazine, describing it as a “blatant provocation” and an “act of war”. How do you see the timing of the Leader’s letter in light of the terrorist attack in Paris and Charlie Hebdo’s subsequent publication of the sacrilegious cartoon?

A: Charlie Hebdo has made defamation of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) its calling card in recent years. The magazine was unsuccessfully sued in 2006 by Islamic organizations for publishing the Jyllands-Posten Mohammad cartoons. The cover of a 2011 issue, dubbed “Charlie Hebdo” (a pun on Sharia law), depicted a cartoon of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The newspaper’s office was fire-bombed and its website hacked. Editor Charbonnier stated at the time, “We have to carry on until Islam has been rendered as banal as Catholicism.” In 2012, the newspaper published a series of satirical cartoons of Mohammad (PBUH), including nude caricatures. The journalists probably were just hoping to create another sensation, ‘go viral’, and boost sales.

Anything goes in the ‘free press’ of the West, so no fears about prosecution. But they lost their gamble, paying with their lives (and the lives of two policemen) in what is being called France’s worst act of terrorism since 1961, when 28 people died in the train bombing carried out by the OAS (a rightwing paramilitary organization opposed to the independence of Algeria). They did manage to unleash a firestorm of Islamophobia—which also was their intent, so their efforts were not entirely in vain. Charlie Hebdo has continued to publish its scurrilous ‘humor’, but with a much larger than usual print run of one million.

Q: The Iranian Leader’s message was well received by the younger generation who agree only by reading the Holy Quran can one understand the core values of Islam. Also world mainstream media and dozens of high-profile figures have so far highlighted the importance of the letter given the current situation in the West. What do you think?

A: It is heartening to know that the Ayatollah’s message is being read and respected by high-profile westerners. Western media is virtually totalitarian now. Youth are dissatisfied with the lies and excess commercial and sex flaunted in the media. Distortions abound centering on western issues of feminism and the separation of politics and religion. Any backhanded complements to Islam are always laced with poison, intended to make Muslims believe they must reform Islam to meet the needs of the West. This poison is repeated every day. No doubt Goebbels would be delighted.

The Ayatollah’s letter encourages youth to read the Holy Qur’an. I have found that a powerful way to attract youth to the Holy Qur’an is through the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad. The Holy Qur’an really ‘came to life’ for me after I stumbled upon a biography of the Prophet, and learned about his remarkable life, his closeness to God, his brilliance and fortitude as a leader. The Sunnah is a precious record of a truly remarkable man, and makes the Qur’an more accessible to westerners interested in broadening their minds.

The Qura’n comes alive today through the Prophet’s life. It is hard NOT to be a Muslim when you come to love the Prophet.

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