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Monday, October 27, 2008

Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi

Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi is an Iranian Muslim cleric who advocates the separation of religion and government. He first expressed his opposition to the Islamic government of Iran in 1994. He wrote to Pope Benedict XVI and the European Union to complain about the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of his father Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Ali Kazemeini Boroujerdi in 2002, the subsequent confiscation of his father's mosque, and his own and his followers' harassment by Iran's theocratical government.
He opposes the theocratic concept of rule or "guardianship" by Islamic jurists. He said Iranians are "tired of the religion of politics and political slogans." The Iranians "believe that they are loyal to the fundamentals of the true religion and the Prophet's mission, but they are opposed to the politicization of religion and its exploitation by a group that has nothing to do with true Islam. Islam is the religion of tolerance, forbearance, and mercy, to the point where [the Qur'an] emphasized to us that 'there is no compulsion in religion."[1]"
Boroujerdi and many of his followers were arrested in Tehran on October 8, 2006, following a clash between police and hundreds of his followers. Iranian officials charged him with having claimed to be a representative of the hidden Imam, a venerated figure in Shia Islam. Boroujerdi has denied these charges.[2] According to mardaninews website, as of 1 June 2008 "judicial authorities have released no information concerning his prosecution" and his medical condition is deteriorating.[3] - The Iranian government issued a warrant for Borujerdi's arrest and supporters and students of the Ayatollah had been living at his home in order to protect him. On October 7, 2006 a large crowd of over 1,000 people including many women gathered around his house and prevented his arrest by police forces and was able to repel them. The Iranian news service IRNA, posted pictures the demonstration and printed some of the slogans shouted by the crowd: "Freedom, freedom - This is our incontrovertible right," (a counterpoint to the slogan shouted by supporters of the regime during Friday prayers: "Nuclear energy - This is our incontrovertible right," and, "[We are] ready for martyrdom according to our traditional religion - that is, Islam that is not political".[4] On 8 October 2006 security forces arrested Boroujerdi and several hundred of his followers - "172 women and 225 men" - who had gathered to prevent his arrest.[5] - According to mardaninews website: "In June 2007, the Special Court for the Clergy prosecuted him behind closed doors. The authorities have not provided any official accounting regarding his prosecution and sentencing. According to his associates, he was initially sentenced to death, but upon appeals his sentence was reduced to 11 years in prison, ten of which must be served in exile in city of Yazd. He has been deprived of access to an independent attorney throughout his prosecution and imprisonment." [6] - According to, Ayatollah Boroujerdi is suffering from "multiple health complications, including heart and respiratory problems and kidney stone complications, as well as loss of 80 percent of his vision due to cataracts. According to his physician, Dr. Hesam Firoozi, Ayatollah Boroujerdi has lost as much as 80 pounds (36kg) during his imprisonment."
Dr. Firoozi wrote to the head of the Judiciary on September 2, 2008:
“As an independent physician, with no political leanings and agenda, and in keeping with my sacred duties as a physician devoted to the goal of saving the lives of humans, I urge your Excellency to order his transfer to a specialist medical facility outside the prison, to save his life,” Dr. Firoozi wrote to the head of the Judiciary on September 2, 2008. [7] -

^ Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 8, 2006 translated at MEMRI
^ Sadeq Saba (8 October 2006). "Iran arrests controversial cleric", BBC News.
^ News/Imprisoned Cleric’s Life in Danger/Ayatollah Boroujerdi in need of urgent medical care
^ Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 8, 2006 translated at MEMRI
^ News/Imprisoned Cleric’s Life in Danger/Ayatollah Boroujerdi in need of urgent medical care
^ News/Imprisoned Cleric’s Life in Danger/Ayatollah Boroujerdi in need of urgent medical care

[edit] External links
"Arrest of a High Ranking Cleric is a Return to Revolutionary Times", Iran Press Service 10 October 2006.
"Dissident Cleric, Followers Arrested In Tehran", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 9 October 2006.
Nazenin Ansari. "An ayatollah under siege ... in Tehran" openDemocracy 8 October 2006.
"Critical cleric arrested in Iran: reports", Washington Post 8 October 2006.
Alan Peters. "Ayatollah Revolts in Iran", Anti-Mullah 7 October 2006.
Golnaz Esfandiari (October 6, 2006). "Iran: Outspoken Ayatollah Alleges Official Persecution", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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