Monday, November 18, 2002

That being said, this still qualifies as somewhat of a positive bit of news:

Thousands of Iranian students demanding political reform have clashed with hardline militia groups in the capital, Tehran.
Witnesses said about 5,000 students gathered at the Sharif Technical University campus to protest against the death sentence passed down to pro-reform academic Hashem Aghajari earlier this month.
Ok, but check this out:

Hashem Aghajari belongs to a left-wing reformist political group, the Islamic Revolutionary Mujahidin Organisation.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not about to make the whole "these guys are obviously all the same" argument based on the name of his movement. Far from it... it seems to be an indication that relying too much on labels and generalizations is quite dangerous. It's also a worthy reminder that despite the claims of some, Islam (like any other religion) has reformists to go with its fundamentalists, even ones with names that don't resonate well in western ears.

More importantly, the protests show that young Muslims aren't necessarily the murderous thugs that they're often portrayed as. Important thing to remember nowadays. After all, it was Al Qaeda, not the Muslim world as a whole, that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and is perhaps planning for more. Al Qaeda does not represent Islam, as much as they'd no doubt like to. Perhaps these kinds of protests are proof that the Muslim world doesn't think Al Qaeda represents them, either.

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