In an interview with the Times Ayatollah Abdolhossein Moezi, has declared it wrong for Muslims to serve in the armed forces and especially not in Iraq and Afghanistan where other Muslims are being killed. He also said non-Muslims should not go their either. Ayatollah Moezi is Ayatollah Ali Khamanei’s personally appointed representative in the UK.

Ayatollah Moezi expressed regret for the deaths of protesters on Iran after the June presidential elections but did say that those deaths were ‘unavoidable’. He also condemned the massacre in Texas last week and called the 9/11 attacks and London bombings wrong.

He went on to say that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were peaceful and that the ‘whole world’ agreed they were entitled to them.

He said was in Britain he said to provide spiritual advice to Muslims and encourage them to get more involved in society through education and employment.

I get mixed messages from all this. He doesn’t want Muslims to join the armed forces and fight Muslim. Nor it seems should non-Muslims. Why does religion always cloud the issue? Whatever that issue might be, from war to birth control. Human beings should refrain wherever possible from killing other human beings. Their religion has no bearing on that.

Religions all rely on the faith that there is a superior being and some of the more extreme preach that ‘my superior being is more superior than yours is’ and use it as an excuse to kill and conquer. Without this ‘superior being’ a religion actually becomes just a mere way of life to be challenged by anyone at any time. But the waving of a divine book (Bible, Koran etc) and having a supreme being who will be upset with you after you have passed on is a nice way of convincing people to toe the line. This is especially the case with children who can be brainwashed into wearing certain clothes and adopting certain behavioural patterns. That way challenges can easily be batted aside, especially if you cannot know the mind of your God.

We in the UK have gradually disentangled religion from politics. Many would say that has been a backward step and has caused many of our recent social problems. But I would say that it is a failure of politics, politicians and us, ie humans that have caused the problems. I would not like to see religion creeping back into politics in any shape or form. My message would be, if you like the British way of life and want to join the armed forces then do so and go and fight where you are asked to go and fight whatever your faith.

What really irks me though is that Ayatollah Moezi said both he and Ayatollah Khamanei are against killing. This did not seem to apply in 2005 when Khamanei refused to lift the Fatwa on Salman Rushdie.

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