Four articles/blogs which are featured today made me to share some information about religion in today’s Iran.
* An airplane leaves Tabriz, non-stop to Najaf and Karbala EVERY DAY. There are four other DAILY planes from other cities to Iraq and Syria for “Zeeyart.”
* It is not unusual to find people inside of Iran who have travelled to Mecca four times, in two cases they had a record of 12 times.
An Offer of Prayer on a Bus; A Variety of Religious Expression
In a city bus trip to Yakhchi-abad in January 2012, an old woman wanted to depart the bus before her bus station stop. The driver asked her to come forward to leave from the front door because of the danger of leaving from the middle door due to passing traffic. The old woman reluctantly obliged and left the bus without having paid the bus fare. The driver quipped, "Why don’t you pay your fare?" She replied, "God bless your father and mother (Khoda pedar o madaroto biamorzeh)." The bus driver angrily said he did not want God to bless his father and mother because if they had been good parents he would not be a bus driver … they would have paid for his education and he would have had a better life. This exchange between the driver and the passenger was loud enough that everyone in the bus heard it (even those seating in the back).
Side note: Handling buses are immense job in a country where many people don’t obey the traffic laws.
Most of the people on the bus did begin to pray for him, but the driver responded, "Praying does not pay for the gasoline for this bus.”
Side note: Women are allowed to sit in men’s section but men are not allowed to sit in the women's section unless they are old men or men with their wives or with another female.
People often express their views openly on public transportation, whether it is a bus or a metro. Sometimes, for example, one will observe persons in religious dress being asked by bus drivers for their blessing, while at other times there will be people who openly criticize their fellow passengers who are in religious dress.
The events on the bus show that, although religion is deeply rooted in Iranian culture, criticism is tolerated.
Side note: Young Iranians have learned to have a realistic view of “religion.”
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