Imam Khamenei

Ayatollah Khamenei's request to western youth: lay foundations for adequate interaction with Islamic world

The military invasions against the Islamic world, in recent years, with countless victims, are an example of the contradictory logic of the West. The assaulted countries, in addition to the human damage caused, have lost their economic and industrial infrastructures: their movement towards growth and development has been stopped or delayed; in some cases, it has been thrown decades back. Despite all of this, they are being asked, rudely, not to view themselves as oppressed.  How can a country be turned into ruins, have its cities and towns covered in dust, and then [the people of that country] be told they should please not view this as an oppressive condition? Instead of enticements to not understand and to not mention disasters, would not an honest apology be better?  The pain that the Islamic world has endured, in these years, from the hypocrisy and duplicity of the invaders is not any less than the pain from the material damage. 

Dear youth, I have hope that you—now or in the future—can change this mentality corrupted by duplicity, a mentality whose greatest skill is hiding long-term goals and adorning malevolent objectives.  In my opinion, the first step in creating security and peace is reforming this violence-breeding mentality.  As long as double-standards dominate western policies, as long as terrorism—in the view of its powerful supporters—is divided into “good” and “bad”, and as long as governmental interests are given precedence over human values and ethics, the roots of violence should not be searched for in other places...

Fissures must be sealed, not deepened. Hasty reactions are a major mistake when fighting terrorism, which only widens the chasms. Any rushed and emotional reaction that may isolate, intimidate, and create more anxiety for the Muslims living in Europe and America—comprised of millions of active and responsible human beings—or would deprive them of their basic rights, more so than at the present, or would drive them away from that society, will not resolve problems, but will only increase the chasms and resentments.

Superficial measures and reactions, especially if they take legal forms, will do nothing but increase current polarizations, open the way for future crises, and will bear no other response. According to reports, that I’ve received, some countries in Europe have issued specific guidelines encouraging citizens to spy on Muslims: this behavior is unjust; we all know that pursuing injustice has the characteristic of unwanted reversibility.  Besides, Muslims do not deserve such ill-treatment.  For centuries, the Western World has known Muslims well—like times when Westerners were guests in Islamic lands, attracted to the riches of their hosts, and other times when they (Westerners) were the hosts and benefitted from the efforts and thoughts of Muslims: they (Westerners) generally experienced nothing but kindness and forbearance from Muslims.

Therefore, I would like for you, the youth, to lay down the foundations for correct and honorable interactions with the Islamic world based on practical understanding, deep insight, and lessons learned from horrible experiences.  In such a case, and, in the not too distant future, you will witness an edifice built upon this firm foundation that creates a tone of confidence and trust; cooling the crown of its architect—like a feeling of warmth of security and peace, a bequest of them and a blaze of hope, in a bright future, which illuminates the canvass of the earth.

Ayatollah Khamenei, Nov 29, 2015


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