[The views expressed in this blog post are the author’s own.]
Abdolkarim Soroush, former director of the Islamic Culture Group, a group responsible for the purging of students and academics during Iran’s Cultural Revolution, is scheduled to speak at Fairview Mall Library, a publicly funded entity, on July 12th 2018.
The Cultural Revolution in Iran was a period of time between 1980 and 1983 when universities were shut down and students and academics were purged of non-Islamic or Western influences. During this time, thousands of students and professors were expelled and/or fired, and once the universities re-opened many books were banned.
The Cultural Revolution was implemented by the Islamic Regime shortly after the 1979 revolution. At the time the universities had become a hot bed of opposition against the Islamic Regime, which was imposing Islamic Sharia law and arresting, torturing and murdering its opponents on a systematic basis. The Cultural Revolution became an effort by a dictatorship regime to shut down opposition and align universities (both students and professors) with new Islamic principles.
Many students who resisted the closing of universities and the new purging of non-Islamic students and academics were beaten, injured and some were even killed during this time. Many students were arrested for their membership within opposition political organizations or for opposing the Islamic Regime.
The early 1980s was a very dark period in Iran’s history when thousands of Iranians young and old, were arrested, tortured and executed summarily for opposing the Regime. The Cultural Revolution is a part of that very dark history.
In 1983 Abodokarim Soroush resigned as head of the Islamic Culture Group, however in the last 35 years he has never apologized to the people of Iran for his not insignificant role during the this period in Iran’s history.
Many Iranians who currently live in Toronto and in particular in the North York area are the very people who were expelled from universities during The Cultural Revolution. They are the same people who were arrested and imprisoned for their opposition to the dictatorship, the very same people who watched their friends be beaten by regime thugs for daring to speak out for their rights.
Not surprisingly many of these same Iranian-Canadians are deeply concerned about the fact that a publicly funded library is hosting an individual with such a dark past and a significant role in The Cultural Revolution in Iran.
It is even more troubling that an establishment dedicated to learning is hosting a man who was responsible for shutting down universities and purging students and academics whose views and opinions did not align with the dictatorship in Iran.
As an Iranian-Canadian pro-democracy activist I would urge the Fairview Mall Library to refrain from hosting Abdolkarim Soroush on July 12th 2018, and at any future date.