Iranian-Canadian academics slam Carleton U.

Ayatolla Khomeini love-in offends

This post is republished from Michael Petrou’s The World Desk blog on Macleans.ca.

Ten Iranian-Canadian academics have written a letter to Carleton University President Roseann O’Reilly Runte to criticize the university for hosting a conference honouring Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founding dictator of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The conference, titled “The Contemporary Awakening and Imam Khomeini’s Thoughts,” was organized by the Iranian embassy in Ottawa and the Iranian Cultural Association of Carleton University, a student group headed by Ehsan Mohammadi, son of Hamid Mohammadi, who is the cultural counselor at the Iranian embassy in Ottawa.

Those wishing to attend the conference were asked to email the “Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” which is run out of the Iranian embassy.

In an email to Maclean’s, Carleton University spokesman Steven Reid said the university was not involved in the event—which was held on university property and promoted on Carleton’s website. The university issued a statement saying that views expressed by speakers at events organized by student groups do not reflect the views of the university as a whole.

Reid later told the Ottawa Citizen the university would intervene if a student group was promoting hate, illegal acts, or violations of the Human Rights Code.

“You may be aware that by the fatwa Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the mass execution of several thousands of political prisoners in 1988,” write the letter’s signatories, who include Ramin Jahanbegloo, a professor at the University of Toronto who was arrested and jailed in Tehran for four months in 2006.

“Through his ‘cultural revolution’ following the 1979 revolution, all Iranian universities were closed down for two years and thousands of faculty and students expelled, and many of them jailed, executed or forced into exile…

“We support, and many of us are engaged in, international academic collaborations. However, we think reputable academic institutions have a moral obligation not to turn a blind eye on atrocities committed against their colleagues in other countries. Providing forum to individuals, who under the pretext of academic freedom, propagate the ideas and values of a regime that is known for its violation of all standards of academic freedom and rights, is far from promoting academic debates.”

Here is the text of the letter in its entirety:

Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte

President and Vice Chancellor
Carleton University
503 Tory Building
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6

June 11, 2012

Dear President O’Reilly Runte

We write to you as a group of Iranian- Canadian academics to register our strong objection to Carleton University’s decision to host an event on June 2nd 2012, under the title, “The contemporary awakening and Imam Khomeini’s Thoughts.” Clearly, this “conference”, organized by a group of people associated with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, does not have academic value and cannot provide an objective analysis of Khomeini’s thoughts and particularly their outcome.

You may be aware that by the fatwa Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the mass execution of several thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Through his “cultural revolution” following the 1979 revolution, all Iranian universities were closed down for two years and thousands of faculty and students expelled, and many of them jailed, executed or forced into exile. The outcome of the Ayatollah’s “thought” for academics in Iran today are forced retirement of the faculty, the expulsion or intimidation of students through a bizarre “star-system” and in many cases their imprisonment. The disciplines of Humanities and Social Sciences are reshaped through an archaic religious ideology. These are among Khomeini’s legacy and “thoughts”, not to mention his antiquated ideas about women’s rights within the family and society, ironically praised by one of the speakers. Promoting these thoughts, and celebrating this legacy through a conference, with participation of few speakers, all with long associations with the Islamic Republic, without the balancing presence of any known Iran experts with differing views is not something in which any reputable academic institution can take pride.

We understand that Carleton University has a long-standing relation with some educational institutions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and your Sprott MBA program in Qeshm Island is the only Canadian University degree program in the country. We support, and many of us are engaged in, international academic collaborations. However, we think reputable academic institutions have a moral obligation not to turn a blind eye on atrocities committed against their colleagues in other countries. Providing forum to individuals, who under the pretext of academic freedom, propagate the ideas and values of a regime that is known for its violation of all standards of academic freedom and rights, is far from promoting academic debates.

Sincerely,

Payam Akhavan, Faculty of Law, McGill University

Amir Hassanpour, ret, University of Toronto

Ramin Jahanbegloo, Center for Ethics, University of Toronto

Haideh Moghissi, Equity Studies, Trudeau Fellow, York University

Shahrzad Mojab, OISE, University of Toronto

Mo Mojahedi, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto

Omid Peyrow-Shabani, Philosophy, University of Guelph

Saeed Rahnema, Political Science and Public Policy, York University

Peyman Vahabzadeh, Sociology, University of Victoria,

Farrokh Zandi, Schulich Business School, York University

CC:

OCUFA, Ontario Colleges and Universities Faculty Association

CUASA, Carleton University Academic Staff Association




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Iranian-Canadian academics slam Carleton U.

  1. This is disgrace for educational institutions of Canada to allow promotion of evil on Canadian soil, especially not on a remote private farm but on the campus of Carlton University .
    Islamic Regime leader and fonder was personally present at the execution of hundreds of shah’s heads of army and government without trial in his temporary residents ( Alavee and Refah Schools in Tehran) in 1979, he approved torture, rapes and executions of countless number of Iranian whom he and his regime perceived as so called “corrupted on the earth, and enemies of Allah ”

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