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Iranian-Tied UK Human Rights Group Publishes Book in Tehran

October 14th, 2020 06:32

Iran­ian media report­ed in July on the launch of a book at the offices of the Iran­ian IQNA news agency in Tehran and Titled “Polit­i­cal Islam­o­pho­bia at Amer­i­can Pol­i­cy Insti­tutes: Bat­tling the Pow­er of Islam­ic Resis­tance.” The book was authored by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tehran’s Prof. Hakimeh Saghaye-Biria, and pub­lished by the UK based Islam­ic Human Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC). Accord­ing to IHRC’s web­site, the book ana­lyzes the work of three Amer­i­can think-tanks – RAND Cor­po­ra­tion, the Brook­ings Insti­tute, and the Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute for Near East Pol­i­cy, which since the Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion in 1979 have pro­duced high­ly influ­en­tial pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions on the region and more broad­ly on Islam (as reli­gious and polit­i­cal ideas) and Mus­lims. IHRC describes the book as follows:

Overview­ing these three think tanks’ obses­sion with Islam and Mus­lims since the Islam­ic Rev­o­lu­tion in Iran in 1979, Saghaye-Biria dis­cuss­es the impli­ca­tions for Mus­lim soci­eties of the direc­tion of trav­el pro­posed. This thor­ough back­grounder and analy­sis rais­es impor­tant and chal­leng­ing ques­tions for Mus­lim pol­i­cy mak­ers, polit­i­cal activists and civ­il soci­ety lead­ers, as well as pro­vid­ing impor­tant cri­tique for those study­ing Islam and pol­i­tics in the cur­rent era.

Speak­ing at the event was IHRC Chair­man Mas­soud Shad­jareh. The three tank tanks ana­lyzed in the report rep­re­sent wide­ly vary­ing polit­i­cal orientations:

  • RAND Cor­po­ra­tion is known for its close work with var­i­ous U.S. gov­ern­ment agen­cies, inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, and oth­er foundations.
  • The Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute for Near East Pol­i­cy is a pro-Israel think-tank, which was accused in the ear­ly 2000s of being part of the U.S. “Israel Lobby”.

Accord­ing to IQNA, Saghaye-Biria:

  • Alleges that the West­ern world has been fac­ing the Islam­ic world in two ways – the first being vio­lent con­fronta­tion dur­ing the colo­nial peri­od, where the West occu­pied Islam­ic coun­tries and killed a large num­ber of Mus­lims; and the sec­ond – a cul­tur­al and ide­o­log­i­cal con­fronta­tion, which through­out his­to­ry had sup­port­ed the vio­lent confrontation.
  • Per­ceives the think-tanks as those which always plan and set the appro­pri­ate method to con­front the Mus­lims in every peri­od, and empha­sizes what she grasps as an impor­tant role they have been play­ing – espe­cial­ly after the Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion – in fram­ing U.S. poli­cies against the Islam­ic world and Islam­ic resis­tance [muqawamah] move­ments.
  • Refers to Islam­o­pho­bia as a form of racism. She sug­gests that what she describes as a cur­rent glob­al uproar against racism cre­ates a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to bridge between the [muqawamah] and anti-racism move­ments around the world. The intel­lec­tu­al lead­er­ship of the Islam­ic world by the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran has strength­ened these move­ments around the world; this strength lies in influ­enc­ing pub­lic opin­ion by link­ing Islam­ic resis­tance with the oth­er resis­tance movements.

Saghaye-Biria also iden­ti­fies the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR) as one of the most impor­tant US Islam­ic orga­ni­za­tions which she said had tak­en steps to iden­ti­fy and mon­i­tor all types of dis­crim­i­na­tion against Mus­lims. CAIR is an impor­tant part of the US and Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, a transna­tion­al Islamist influ­ence net­work also mon­i­tored by the GIOR.

Estab­lished in 1997, the Islam­ic Human Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC) is a UK based NGO in Spe­cial Con­sul­ta­tive Sta­tus with the Eco­nom­ic and Social Coun­cil (ECOSOC) of the Unit­ed Nations since 2007. Its web­site says it works with dif­fer­ent orga­ni­za­tions from Mus­lim and non-Mus­lim back­grounds “to cam­paign for jus­tice for all peo­ples regard­less of their racial, con­fes­sion­al or polit­i­cal back­ground”. The IHRC is con­sid­ered sup­port­ive of the Iran­ian regime, and for many years has been cen­tral to orga­niz­ing the events of the annu­al Inter­na­tion­al Quds Day, ini­ti­at­ed by the Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ary regime. The IHRC’s chair­man is Mas­soud Shad­jareh, who is close to the anti-Israel web­site inminds.com and served as a direc­tor in the now inac­tive Mus­lim Chan­nel; his wife Arzu Mer­ali is a co-founder, writer, and researcher at the IHRC. Anoth­er Mus­lim Chan­nel direc­tor Shab­bir Has­s­analy, a schol­ar and web devel­op­er, is said by the UK Times to have been “one of a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions in the UK…whose views and activ­i­ties are close­ly aligned to the reli­gious ide­ol­o­gy of the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment”. He devel­oped appli­ca­tions to oth­er pro-Iran­ian out­fits like the Iran­ian TV chan­nel Press TV and Ahlul­Bayt Islam­ic Mis­sion (AIM). In Octo­ber 2019, the Times report­ed that since 2013, the IHRC has also been receiv­ing dona­tions through the UK tax­pay­er-fund­ed Gift Aid scheme for char­i­ta­ble organizations.