Eli Lake has a devastating article in today's New York Sun on the grooming of Iranian youth into the Islamic jihadist supremicism.
But Andrew Bostom points out that the important historical context to this phenomenon is lost entirely. " What we are witnessing today is not simply a "post-Revolutionary phenomenon" comforting as that may sound--this is a full-throated return to the Shi'ite theocracy that existed in Iran with the founding of the Safavid dynasty at the very outset of the 16th century, and lasted till 1925. i.e., for 4 centuries."
He has written about this extensively (in 4-parts "The Ayatollahs’ Final Solution?"), but here is a brief summary:
The Safavid rulers, at the outset of the 16th century, formally established Shi’a Islam as the Persian state religion, while permitting a clerical hierarchy nearly unlimited control and influence over all aspects of public life. The profound influence of the Shi’ite clerical elite, continued for almost four centuries (although interrupted, between 1722-1794 during the period of Sunni Afghan invasion, and internecine struggle), through the later Qajar period (i.e., until the Pahlavi seizure of power in 1925), as characterized by the noted Persianophilic scholar E.G. Browne, writing in 1930:
The Mujtahids and Mulla [religious leaders] are a great force in Persia and concern themselves with every department of human activity from the minutest detail of personal purification to the largest issues of politics.
Reza Pahlavi’s spectacular rise to power in 1925 was accompanied by dramatic reforms, including secularization and westernization efforts, as well as a revitalization of Iran’s pre-Islamic spiritual and cultural heritage. This profound sociopolitical transformation had very positive consequences for Iran’s non-Muslims. By virtue of , “…breaking the power of the Shia clergy, which for centuries had stood in the way of progress”, Walter Fischel (a pre-eminent modern historian of Iran’s Jewish minority) observed that Reza Shah, “…shaped a modernized and secularized state, freed almost entirely from the fetters of a once fanatical and powerful clergy”.
The so-called “Khomeini revolution”, which deposed Mohammad Reza Shah, was in reality a mere return to oppressive Shi’ite theocratic rule, the predominant form of Persian/Iranian governance since 1502. Conditions for all non-Muslim religious minorities, particularly Bahais and Jews, as well as Muslim women, rapidly deteriorated.
Here is the Lake article
WASHINGTON — A new Freedom House study of Iranian textbooks finds that the Islamic Republic is teaching its children to embrace Islamic supremacism, preparing them to enter a political system that discriminates against women and non-Muslims.
The study, "Discrimination and Intolerance in Iran's Textbooks," is the most comprehensive to date of Iran's textbooks, analyzing 95 compulsory textbooks for grades one to 11. The main author of the study, Saeed Paivandi, is a sociologist at Paris-8 University and one of the few Western scholars to specialize in Iran's post-revolutionary education system.
"The discourse of the textbooks has not been written with the concept of equality of all human beings, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the study concludes. "In the textbooks' reasoning, human beings cannot be equal with one another on this earth, in the same way that, on the day of reckoning, they will be subject to divine judgment for their identity and actions. The trend, based on the clear and official negation of the equality of human beings, created different positions for the various people in society. Some individuals are born first-class citizens, due to their identity, gender, and way of thinking, while others become second- and third-class citizens. Those who are excluded from the inside are victims of this discriminatory system."
That system inside Iran has led to a raft of laws that prohibit non-Muslims from holding high government and military posts, enforce a quota of non-Muslims allowed to matriculate at universities, and require non-Muslim shopkeepers to designate their stores as such. But the lessons of Islamic supremacism also applies to Iran's foreign policy, which the American government says is to support terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. For example, the Islamic culture religious studies textbook for eighth-grade instructs, "Defensive jihad is incumbent upon every one, the young and the old, men and women, everyone, absolutely everyone, must take part in this sacred battle, fight to the best of his or her abilities or assist our fighters."
A seventh-grade textbook on the same subject says: "By taking note of the guidance and instructions provided by Islam, every Muslim youth must strike fear in the hearts of the enemies of God and their people through combat-readiness and skillful target shooting. He must always be ready to defend his country, honor, and faith and use all his capabilities and power in this endeavor. After the victory of the revolution, His Holiness Imam Khomeini, the deceased leader of the Islamic revolution, issued an order for the establishment of the basij (paramilitary group) for the oppressed."
The report places the present school curriculum in Iran in the context of the country's ancient tradition of religious Muslim schools but finds major differences between the two. Iran's modern school curriculum, for example, teaches secular topics such as science and political history, while the Khomeinist doctrine of the state runs through these subjects, as well. On lessons on world history, the textbooks emphasize a unity with fellow Islamic republics.
The textbooks also enforce a strict view that women should be at home raising children. A 10th-grade textbook for religion and life says, "A mother whose husband earns sufficient income cannot say, 'My job demands that I leave my child at the day care center every day,' and, in this way deprive her child from her constant love and attention."
While the textbooks recognize other religious groups in Iran, including Jews, they refer to followers of the Bahai faith as members of a cult.