In just about 27 hours in Tehran, I attended a conference that attracted Islamic scholars of different persuasions from over 100 countries.
It was memorable. And more importantly, the president of the Islamic Republic DR. Ebrahim Raisi attended the opening session where he gave a touching, frank speech that relates well to the issue of the hour: “The Al-Aqsa Storm and the Awakening of Human Conscience”. There was nothing like ‘political correctness’ in his speech but simple plain truth. He pledged the continued support of the Palestinian cause and other regional resistance groups, not in rhetoric but by action.
This rare courage is hardly seen in presidents of countries in this complex geopolitical interplay of interests and conflicts.
The conference came out with suggestions of greater cooperation between Muslim countries themselves and also with friendly nations to come out openly and assist the plight of the Gazan people and stop the genocide happening now.
With my turban worn, I found Iran the most hospitable country that treats scholars with respect and decorum not as ‘terrorist’ suspects as it is unfortunately in most Arab nations probably except Morocco or Yemen, to which I’ve never been and some few others. In 2021, I was invited by the International President of Global Peace Foundation, a refutable foundation, Mr. James P. Flynn to a peace conference in Washington DC. Still, I was subtly denied a visa for a reason we all know.
In Iran, I have not stayed long enough to get my head cleared of many questions I would have needed to clarify, yet from the little interactions I had with them, and with the Nigerians residing in Iran, some doing business, or studying, I understand that Iran is a country that needs to be fully engaged politically, and economically.
The Persian civilization is quite old, comparable to the Nile Egyptian civilization, this gives Persia an upper hand to surpass most developing Muslim states in handling global politico-economic world orders that have made Muslims the underdogs. This call for Iran to come out of its cocoon. It should also take a leading position in soldering inter-ummah cooperation and solidarity on common interest. It should quickly mend fences with the Arab world and encourage trade and bilateral cooperation with African nations.
The biggest fear of most Muslims especially the Sunnis, is the creed of Shi’ism which is seen as reactionary and divisive. I found the president’s speech and that by the Secretary General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, DR. Hamid Shahriari encouraging, when they opened their speeches including the Sahaba in their reverence and prayers as good and reconciliatory. The main grouse of the Sunnis is the desecration of the companions they hold venerable being cursed by Shi’ism. With an effort to respect each other’s point of view, there is nothing that stops the cooperation of the Sunnis and Shiites in the common interest of economic and social interests.
Muslims deeply interact with the West despite their tendency to support the character assassination of the prophet- peace be upon him- in the name of free speech. The same speech is not free when it comes to anti-Semitism. Why not then Iran?
My visit to Iran was an eye-opener for me. It’s an old civilization, unlike the relatively recent Western civilization that has been destroying mankind recently by infusing ‘gender’ confusion.
I salute Iran for their steadfast stand on international issues, their resilience in the face of economic blockade, sabotage, blackmails, and terrorism, and their efforts to bring contiguity to Islamic Schools of Thought. This is an Islamic divine injunction.