By Kayhan Life Staff
The Islamic Republic is training 200,000 female seminarians for the “explanation jihad,” Javad Esmaeilnia, deputy director of “Sisters Seminaries” (women’s religious seminaries) in Qom, said recently.
In comments reported by the Mehr News Agency on May 15, Mr. Esmaeilnia said: “The sisters seminary has the honor of training 200,000 seminarians across the country to play a crucial role in the ‘explanation jihad.’ Sisters in the seminary work tirelessly in the service of jihad under the leader’s guidance.”
In a meeting with Iranian Air Force Commanders on Feb. 9, 2022, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against “media invasion,” “media aggression,” and “professional lies,” adding that an “explanation Jihad” was needed to combat “the media opposed to Islam.”
Khamenei believes that an “explanation jihad” will prevent the Islamic Republic regime from collapsing. Under the “explanation jihad,” the Islamic Republic uses female seminarians in its cyberwarfare.
Khamenei is convinced that the regime can indoctrinate the Iranian people, especially young people, through aggressive implementation of “explanation Jihad,” using state media and religious institutions, and stop the “revolutionary movement” that has been strengthening since September.
“Sisters study at 500 seminaries across the country to achieve 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level expertise and even get their doctorate,” Esmaeilnia explained. “Hundreds of thousands of groups for cultural cooperation, the Amin Project (religious teaching), and family and religious counseling are active in these seminaries.”
Under the Amin Project, developed in 2016, Muslim clerics must spend 30 hours a week teaching religious doctrines in schools.
According to unconfirmed reports, the government has been using seminarians to enforce the values of the “Enjoying Good and Forbidding Evil HQ” (a state moral propriety body) and to crack down on protesters for the past few years.
“There are hundreds of scientific and research workgroups at the seminaries which publish books on various subjects,” Esmaeilnia noted.
Esmaeilnia warned about the “enemy’s cognitive warfare” against the Islamic Revolution, Iranian women, and families, arguing that all-female seminaries were the “first line of defense, acting deliberately and with resolve.”
“The secret of winning the cognitive war is unity, jihadi spirit, and strengthening the country’s scientific and cultural institutions,” Esmaeilnia argued. “There is a need for educated women who can foil the enemy’s sinister plots. Seminaries are at the forefront of the sacred mission to train women in research and education.”
In a meeting with members of the Basij forces on Nov. 26, 2022, Khamenei said the country’s officials must “be vigilant,” adding “they must be alert to what happens in, outside, and around the country.”
“What happens around the country is important to us,” Khamenei argued. “Be mindful of the enemy infiltrating the Basij force.”
“Enemy’s chief devices are deception and lies,” Khamenei warned. “Television channels and social media you watch belong to the enemy. They disseminate fake news, analyze lies, fabricate victims, force people to lie, and glorify or vilify people, which some believe.”
“The duty naturally falls on your shoulders once you realize that lying is the enemy’s modus operandi,” Khamenei added. “We must enact ‘explanation jihad’ in such a situation.”
The government’s 2022-23 budget earmarked 100 billion tomans (nearly $3.5 million, using the January 2022 exchange rate of 30,000 tomans to a U.S. dollar) for the deputy Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister’s office to “combat soft war and promote explanation jihad.”
The Majlis (Iranian Parliament) initially passed the proposal but ultimately removed the line item after a widespread outcry. However, the government has created centers in ministries, including the Agriculture Jihad, to achieve the goals of the “explanation jihad.”
While the government earmarked massive funds for military and religious institutions in its 2022-23 and 2023-24 budget bills, resulting in a huge deficit, it ignored vital sectors, including healthcare, education, pensions, social security, and wages and salaries of workers and government employees.
For instance, the government’s 2023-24 budget bill allocated $73.1 million (using the January 2023 exchange rate of 41,000 tomans to a U.S. dollar) to the Supreme Council of Qom Seminaries, a 60 percent increase from the previous year.
The current budget has earmarked $146.2 million for the Seminaries Services Center, which supports seminary students and pays part of their tuition, a 2.3 percent increase from the 2022-23 budget.
The government’s 2023-24 budget initially allocated $22.7 million to the Al-Mustafa International University (MIU). However, the Majlis increased the amount to $24.7 million. Established in 1979 in Qom, the MIU has branches in a dozen countries, hosting students from Africa and Southeast Asia every year.