Abdolkarim Soroush

Uprising against theocracy

Speech at George Washington University, December 27, 2009:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


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Dear Sheila Khanoom!

by darius on

Just about 40 some yrs ago in this country blacks by many of the white preotestans and catholic and all other denomination were considered bunch of lost souls.Even now , just browse through some of those so called tele-evangelist and the story is not much different that the Iranians that by design visit Imamzaeh Tajrish.

Look at election 2000 and the rise of religious influence in this country as the economy gets tougher and it becomes tougher to make  a living

and in return churches are getting filled with desparate people.

Well your message is so encouraging.

Sheila K

Darius Aghah!

by Sheila K on

All your suggestions are appreciated. However, I'd suggest living in Iran for a little while if you can (obviously when things calm down). That would be a good opportunity to study people and see if they are ready for "transparency" or a real democratic society.

Don't forget to check out some of popular sites like Imam Zadeh Tajrish where piles of money (and I mean piles) are emptied from the site several times a day.

Many believe Imam Zadeh Tajrish answers all your wishes or Do Ah Hah only if you donate some money.

Why don't you have a chat with the visitors there and see what they think of democracy or transparency or the council of the intellectuals.

Btw, that's only one small place in the more moderate part of Tehran, imagine the rest of the country!


Cheers :)


Sheika Khanoom

by darius on

Beleiving in Talking head (Imam Hosein) and Khomeini's face on the moon is not searching  and looking for the divine.Superticious, and idol worshipping constitiute sort of deceptive paganism and that is what Mr.Soroush and Many others accepted to do and follow  and forced people to accept it in form of  Velayate Fagih.Valayat fagihe by itself is clear violation of divine authority.There is nothing holy and divine about this kind of Islam.

Asked  me  what do I suggest, I am an ordinary Iranian , My priority is

1.Integrity of Iran territory, no one should ever dare to  break it in pieces by any means.

2.I  would prefer  a group of outside and inside Iranian scholars to form  a council and build   the  path for a just and liveable society. Every single individual in this council should be subject to public scrutny and prove they deserve to be a decision maker and have a clear past and ready to serve the nation.

The members of this council should not be allowed to side with  any political group but with clear vision and without pressure write a new constitution that will protect all Iranian political groups and the right of its citizen in all area of civil liberty.

Complete transparency, no secret meeting, no behind scene negotiations, no meeting with West or East unless  it is done in public

and a record keeping of all these meeting  should be available for the Iranian to know what they are giving and what they are getting in return.

A constitution that secure all Iranians right to having a civil society  and be able to live thier life and advance their mind and spirit as they are please .

No , force of any kind should be used to interfere withpublic protest

and no person should be ever dare to carry  gun, go underground as long as there is freedom to convene and excercise the right given to them by the constitution.


Assuming that other countries have no interest to  influence  Iranian  is a childish idea and that is why  I am suggesting a complete transparency.




Abdolkarim Soroush: what are you selling now, Sir?

by MM on

Terrible sound - give up.


Abdolkarim Soroush is one of Islamic Republic's original apologists who have now turned around because their Utopia was highjacked by the extreme Islamist faction.  The sad thing is that many of us saw it coming and this blind shaikh did not.

Do you have anything else in your bag now, Sir?  Or, just telling us how good it could have been.  Remember? - free electricity, free gas and free food on the table.

Sheila K

getting to know our people

by Sheila K on

Darius jan,

Khomenei was popular cause people of Iran embraced Islam and the Islamic regime. Islam represented the divine and the holiness. Things have changed now, but they are still (for most part)devout MUSLIMS, attached to their faiths. It is wrong to assume religion is out of their hearts and minds or is going to go away anytime soon.

This is not a popularity contest. This is about people's minds, hearts, and emotions mixed up in their religious faiths. They need a leader who could guide them into a more modernized society and slowly wean them out of their religious dependencies.

Who would you recommend?


Dear Sheila ,Khomeini was too .!

by darius on

Khomeini was also popular and influential, everybody fell for his trap.Actually Western Media did the best job to make him a saint.Khomeini was more popular with the western media who needed a good hot story and  the Shah's opponent needed him to move the

religious class of 1979( including so called our educated class).

Now, it is not 1979 , the chantings have a clear message ,demanding democracy and demanding for rightful people that have proven records and they can put their life to secure what these young people and families are fighting for. We are looking for leaders who can create balance between western and eastern power( who would rather have figures that protect their interests) and the welfare ofIranian. A just

and transparent policy, that every single Iranian knows and understand what the government is doing and what is in it for them.

Popularityhby itself does not establish cr edibility, if he was wrong 30 yrs ago , he is wrong again because it seems we are just remodeling the

1979 platform adding new colors and some surface work.Escaping to West and becoming a figure against IRI means a lot of thing . He could be part of a new transformation to

like a 6 month democracy and then again back the same track.Here we are talking about fate of Iranian not a political fashion trend.

Then was popular to be against the Shah, now it is popular to be against the IRI. Definitely not a popularity contest or selling political trend .



Sheila K

One of the most Influential People - Times 2005

by Sheila K on

Dr. Sourosh was named one of the most influential people in Times Magazine, 2005.


For those of you who don't know him, don't judge him. He was and is an extremely popular figure among university students in Iran. He taught for years, then was fired for his intellectual ideas in modernizing Islam, then imprisoned and publicly beaten several times. Eventhough he was threaten, he conducted underground seminars and many (and i mean "many") students attended. To stay alive, he eventually moved to Europe and is currently teaching in some European universities.

He was considered influential for his popularity with the young educated Shitia students, and for his thoughts in modernizing Islam to eradicate radicalism. In fact, in an interview with 60 Minutes (several years ago) he was thought to be one man who could bring modernization to Islam. To understand him better, you should read his books and articles.

Iranians (majority) are attached to their Islamic believes. And that kind of attachment is not going to go away anytime soon.

If there was ever a leader for this new movement, I'd say he's the one!

My 2 cents.



انقلاب فرهنگی و جناب سروش



Dear Divaneh, unfortunately yes. Not most of crowd here that

by oktaby on

has pointed out what this character is or core underlying deceits. But the islamist of various colors and types seem to get most of the microphones and cameras. Hence, channeling the message of the movement and its demands.

It shows the same pattern that we have seen before. Those with most progressive ideas and insights have not yet focused or managed to take the upper hand in the media & message battle.  



Does anybody care what he says?

by divaneh on

I cannot think of anyone less relevant than this idiot. Calling him Islamic Philosopher does not make him any wiser than the backward person that he is. As many of you have already stated, he will always be remembered for dirtying (and not cleansing) our Universities. He should not be allowed back in Iran under any government.

Maryam Hojjat

MasoudA said it all!

by Maryam Hojjat on

we must not listen to these dinosours after awakening 30 years.  We must drive them out of our lives.  These thugs are anti-Iranians, what they have done to the Iran & Iranians no other enemy of us would do it.  All these criminals including this man so called philosopher of Islam must stand in court and be tried for their crimes against Iranians.

Payandeh Iran & true Iranians

down with IRI & its supporters



by PArviz on

Can some one tell this thug to shut up and go wait in line in order to be punished for all the crimes he and likes of him have committed against the Iranian people. Just looking at him makes me want to vomit.

Just look at the daily demonstrations in Iran, does it look as if people need the "preaching" of someone who helped make their lives miserable for the past 30 years?

This brutal regime is falling, and people like Soroush, Mousavi, Rafsanjani and the many others who try to play the roles of champions of freedom and democracy right now have to answer to the people. How come Mousavi never said a single word when thousand upon thousands of Iranians were tortured and executed for their political beliefs during the time he served as the prime minister of this same regime? The movement should use these criminals to its advantage but as soon as the Islamic Republic is dead and buried for ever, these criminals should be put on trial.

Down with the ENTIRE Islamic Republic in any form or shape!


A Devil of Thousand Faces & of Ten Bloody Fingers

by Demo on

After witnessing & participating in 28 years of crimes of Khomeini, Khamenie, and Rafsanjani this devil parrot is playing an innocent angel!!! He is the same creature who was writing article after article as soon as he arrived in London 2 years ago to prove that Prophet Mohammed had fabricated Quran and now he is praising "Foghaha" and especially Rafsanjani & Montazeri (The 2 alike criminals)!!!

PS: There is absolutely no mention of word "Faghih" and/or "Foghaha" in Quran. Rather the word "Yafghahoon" is used many places in the book as the question to all readers that "Are you using your common sense/reasoning" to grasp the clear meanings of the said verses??? As simple as that. Please read Quran once in your life without any prejudice to better recognize the devils like “Soroush”  Happy new year to all.  


Bavafa, you nailed it!

by Jaleho on

The only thing more disgusting than an intellectual wannabe and a holier-than-thou akhoond is a "religious intellectual-scholar" oxymoron.


If it walks like a duck, sound like a duck, it is a duck.

by Bavafa on

The only thing this guy is missing is an Ammameh. All of his 'sher o ver' is the same as an Akhond. Marge: can't remember is it "dog bless israel?" or "God blast Israel?" Happy new year all Mehrdad


چنین گفت دباغ


این مردک که اسمش را از حسین حاج فرج دباغ به عبدالکریم سروش عوض کرده حالا می خواهدچهره اش را هم عوض کند.

این موج سوار ناشی امروز180 درجه می چرخد. بعد از سی سال قیافه عبوس اسلامی اش شیرین می شود و شوخی می کند. به دنبال همدست، دستمال به دست، دنبال رفسنجانی می گردد. ازخمینی انتقاد می کند و منتظری را بعد از مردن ستایش می کند تا برای رهایی احتمالی اش سرمایه گذاری کند

این را قبلا در این سایت گذاشته بودم برای آنها که نمی شناسندش:

این مرد که دست در دست همپالگی هایش انقلاب را اسلامی کرد و سه سال دانشگاه ها را بست و نسلی را بر باد داد و بعد از باز شدن دانشگاه ها برای ورود دوباره دانشجویان امتحان مذهبی طرح کرد که آیا میدانند کفن چند قطعه است و غسل جنابت واحکام حیض کدام است،

این مرد که بهترین حکومت ممکن را حکومت مذهبی می داند و عمال مذهب (روضه خوان ها) راسرچشمه شناخت جامعه می شناسد،

این مرد که در تمام عمر فقه تنفس کرده، فقه خورده، فقه پوشیده و با فقه خوابیده و حالا خود را سخنگوی فیلسوفان غرب می داند،

این مرد که امروز با پررویی خودش را به نسل جوان و قهرمان ایران می چسباند و می نویسد: "ما نسل کامکاری هستیم.ما زوال استبداد دینی را جشن خواهیم گرفت."

این مرد که همیشه چشم به گذشته دارد و آینده را در ظهور امام زمان می بیند،

این مرد که هم خدای انقلاب اسلامی را می خواهد و هم خرمای مدرنیته و دموکراسی را،

این مرد که مانند دینباره ای چون شریعتی آیه از آستین بیرون می کشد و بعد مثل ابلهی چون بازرگان طلب آمرزش می کند،

این مرد که حتی به هویت خودش هم پایبند نیست و یکشبه نام واقعی اش "حسین حاج فرج دباغ" را به"عبدالکریم سروش" تبدیل می کند،
امروز در پی یک هویت ساختگی دیگر است و می خواهد بانوشتن یک نامه به سبک و سیاق خواجه نظام الملک و بالانس زدن با نثر مسجع گذشته اش را پاک کند. نامه خنکش را بخوانید:


This man, who with the connivance of religious lackeys Islamizedthe Iranian Revolution and closed universities for three years, spelling ruinfor a generation;

this man who crafted religious exams for students vying toreenter the universities with questions such as the number of pieces of burialcloth to be wrapped around the dead or religious rules governing menstruationand washing after sex;

This man, who contended that best kind of governance is areligious one and that its two bit mullahs are the repository of knowledge withrespect to social organization;

This man, who has all his life breathed, ate, dressed, and sleptby Sharia and who now pretends to be the spokesman of western philosophers;This man, who now shamelessly hooks himself unto a young and heroic generationand who writes: "we are the generation of champions and we shall celebratethe demise of religious totalitarianism";

This man, who lives in the past and sees the future in thesecond coming of the 12th Imam; This man, who wants to have his cake of theIslamic Republic and eat it with the utensils of modernity and democracy,

This man who like his peer Shariati, magically draws verses fromthe Koran from his sleeve, similar to the idiot Bazargan (first Prime Ministerafter the revolution) who later sought redemption;

This man, who is not even faithful to his identity and transformsovernight his real name "Hossein Haj Faraj Dabagh" to"Abdolkarim Soroush"; Now wants to clear his name and his past follyby writing a letter in the style of Nezamolmolk with a prose worthy of a circuscontortionist. Read his letter.


BTW: Thank you “IHave a Crush on Alex Trebek” that was beautiful.


Sophistry and Shamanism

by Ahura on

A democratic religion is an oxymoron, since there is nothing democratic about the absolute autocratic edicts of religion. People need religion in their personal lives and societies cultivate it for the welfare of their members, consequently the prevalence of religious institutions and religious businesses in human culture, shamanism and metaphysics included.  The absolutes of religion are inherently incompatible with flexible political institutions that must address the changing needs of all the inhabitants of their societies.  So world community has learned to keep religion separate from politics. This separation is essential for proper functioning of both disciplines.

Like philosophers that pose irrelevant meaningless questions by misuse of words in their correct context such as “What is the nature of existence?” and spend many lifetimes to answer it, religion has its own language game and vocabulary such as gnosis (knowledge of God), theology (study of God), injunctions, and laws that are constructed by the divine providence shop keepers and endlessly interpreted and reinterpreted with volumes of exegeses.  You have spin doctors who make a living off it and religious leaders who claim to speak for God and thus rule the gullible masses.  Behind their words is all emptiness. May be what Ludwig Wittgenstein has said about philosophy is true about religious interpretations too.  I paraphrase, “Some statements that sound profound, are really meaningless!”  Ludwig Wittgenstein did not reject philosophy and religion but accepted them in their respective language games and with the provision that “Better keep silent than make a meaningless statement.” Ultimately the individual establishes the demarcation line between sense and nonsense.


Here is My Dilema

by masoudA on

What is wrong with us?  Why can't we get akhoonds and akhoondism out of our systems?   I for one forgive Soroush for the significant lack of vision in 1978, because he woke up early and has for many years been trying to remedy the mess.   But what I can't understand is how do we stiil follow what they say?   In politics you only get to make ONE mistake - one strike and you are out.   How long we look into these guys?   No offense to Soroush - but many people we give the spotlight to - don't even know the problem, let alone the answers.    You want to be a factor - think about what our kids need to do tommorrow - and share.   And remember good ideas travel fast. 


Velayat-e Mardom!

by Taqizadeh on


Baba Taher-e Oryan

Sag nakhorad Gosht e Sag

by Baba Taher-e Oryan on

You will never see a Fatwa against a Mulah never mind an Ayatolah specially a Supreme Leader.

a Mulah can be defrocked by a juri of Hojat-al-Islam or Ayatolahs and that is the furtherst it can get

The Supreme Leader Ayatolah Khamenai has done nothing wrong in the eye of Islamic practices nor did Imam Khomaini. They follow the teachings of Quran letter by letter

We have to wait and see how the plot will take shape in the next few weeks and months


Mullah are hesitant to issue fatwas against brother / nephew

by MM on

Hi JJ,

The reason Mullahs are hesitant to revolt against each other or issue fatwas against their own is that they are related to each other.  As the old saying goes "Blood is thicker than water".

Nepotism, corruption and terror run deep in the divine cesspool. 


Social Contract

by ghalam-doon on

I haven't studied philosophy but isn't he talking about a "social contract?" Isn't it the same stuff that Western philosophers talked about in the 17 and 18th centuries?

He just says in passing that "gharardad" was not an invention of Montazeri but "others" have come up with the same idea.

Yeah, 300 years ago. Most likely Montazeri after writing 4 books on "Velayate-faghih"  got hold of one of Rousseau's books and came up with this brilliant idea.

Good for him. Now we just have 300 years to catch up!


Key point, is your 'baffling' question rhetorical?!

by Hovakhshatare on

Islam, or orther monotheistic religions derive their power from unquestionability of some key points. islam being the most dictatorial & inflexible of them and specially Shi't the Iranian invented version that is almost detached from all facts and reality could not afford such questioning. Certainly, not from its own 'olama'. This broader point is true with all of them, whether it is the Jews' 10 commandments or Christians' Jesus as God. Daniel Dennet is among those covering this broad subjec. Religion is the only place in human life where one can get away with complete lack of logic, common sense and sanity and simply say God said so or wants so. Soroush is just another manifestation of an opportunistic or confused group of people mascarading as scholars and filling classrooms to pass their B.s. . "Dr." Nasr is among the early group of these characters (Vali his son is now an advisor to Obama) and both are quite a snake. They all pose a risk to Iranian democratic movement or for that matter American foreign policy. The idea of scholarship on something that is inherently based on one's 'faith' is an oxymoron, excepting the pure historic aspect of it. Your last point is quite appropriate jj.

Mehrban's comment is on point with Montazeri et al. Akhoond is akhoond even if by miracle one grows a conscience as Montazeri did or Kahroubi may be.

I have..Trebek, your general point on Military/industrial complex and Israel need may be valid but the rest has little to do with soroush and this post. Certainly Israel as a Jewish state (not necessarily religious) does not impose brutality on its own people and does gain many national advanatages. On that basis alone your analogy with IRR/islamism fails.


Dear BabaTahere Oryan

by darius on

You got it right, another AASH is being made for the poor Iranian,

when normal decent Iranian can't get an entry visa , there are many of those Marg Bar Amrika Chanters along with their famlies living in North America and they are real welcomed.Usually, when they travel around, CIA

issue a confidential travel bulletin to US offices about protecting these guys.Now if you combine these ex-chanters andpeople like Mahmoud doug and few other like him and then spice it up with Mujahedeen and fadayeian and tude , you no longer need decent Iranians , you have got all you need to shove that AAsh down the poor Iranian throatSo, be prepared to  wander and being chased around Naked  by a new AASHPAZ .



Who is this man?

by farokh2000 on

Do we know who this man is and how he got here, giving speech at GWU?

Is he bringing a message from the Mullahs, saying if people don't want them, they would go away, hopefully?

Are they going to leave all the money they have stollen and then go away, or with the money?

It is not clear why/ how he is here and what his message is.



Do you need the Fatwa?

by cyclicforward on

Here it is, I declare Khamenei as anti-religion and should be removed and Iran should become a democratic state.

Trust me, my Fatwa is as good as them and trust me I know a whole lot more than any of the Ayatollahs.

Baba Taher-e Oryan

I Don't Get it!

by Baba Taher-e Oryan on

Is this guy now living in USA? How did he get Visa? didn't the Consular Official ask him how many times in the past thirty years he has raised his fist chanting "Death to America"?

A big Aash (Iranian stew) is being prepared for the Iranian people to be accompanied with a large hat to fit  Iran proper. 

The original revolutionaries, all  being anti American zealots are now preparing their plot to overthrow the present Iranian administration and bring about a new face of Western Freindly Islamic regime in line with the Old jimmy Carter's and now newer version of Obama's Middle Eastern policy

God help us


JJJ are you "waiting" for Sanai's fatwa?!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.

Jahanshah Javid

Key point

by Jahanshah Javid on

Soroush points out that Islamic theology throughout history has been silent over the right to rebel against an Islamic state.

And here lies a key point that answers a baffling question: Why are our living moderate clerics not directly challenging Khamenei's authority, while they were so firm against the Shah?

Why didn't Montazeri issue a fatwa directing the people to rebel against the Islamic Republic even in the last months of his life when he was so outspoken against the crimes being committed?

Ultimately, the clerical establishment, including moderate and radical ayatollahs and junior ayatollahs, has a vested interest, an emotional attachment, an ideological loyalty to Velayate Faghih that prevents them from publicly rejecting the Islamic Republic from its very foundation.

In the coming weeks and months this may change. Ayatollah Saneie, for instance, could indeed be the one to issue a fatwa against Khamenei, although he will not question the merits of Velayate Faghih. In any case he's not as influential as Khomeini or Montazeri to be able to pull off a major challenge.

The people are ready for something new and very different. They are not dreaming of an Islamic Republic even under a fair and just Vali e Faghih. They are completely fed up with the entire concept of a religious state. They are ready to embrace a secular democracy. "They" are a clear majority of Iranians.


These Islamic anti-people

by Cost-of-Progress on

have seen the writings on the wall and have abandoned their murderous ways like rats leaving a sinking ship.

They MUST all be tried and given a painful death.

Death to the Islamic anti-people and anti-nationalist regime of the murderous mullahs and their supporters. Including those on this site.