A fitting end to Ramadan in Iran

Iranians celebrate the last Friday (the day of the Moslem Sabbath) of their holy Ramadan month as Qods (their word for Jerusalem) Day. As befitting the Ramadan holiday perhaps, it is a day filled with hate towards Americans and Israelis, Jews and Zionists as celebrants joyously torch Israeli and American flags while fervently shouting their religious mantra "Death to Israel! Death to America! Death to Zionists!"

This year's happy occasion is today, Friday, September 18. Ironically Jews around the world celebrate their new year of 5770 beginning sundown, Friday, September 18. So while Jews are praying for a sweet, healthy year filled with peace for all and eating symbolic sweet foods such as honey, the twisted demonization from Iranians and other fellow Muslims will be ringing in their ears.

The Intelligence and Information Center describes the origins of this recent bizarre addition to the centuries old Moslem Ramadan holiday.

According to an order issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian government, Jerusalem Day has been held since 1979 to express the desire of all Muslims for the "liberation of Jerusalem." Every year, the day is marked by mass marches and rallies in Iran (usually after the regime has recruited the public and organized transportation). Senior Iranian leaders give fervent speeches laced with anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist rhetoric and slogans. The Iranians also organize events in countries where there are large Shi'ite communities, in both the Middle East (especially Lebanon) and around the world.

But now the Iranian leadership may be getting their just Ramadan desserts. Fearful that the unleashed passions will be turned on them as a result of the contested--and undoubtedly rigged election--and its bloody, violent aftermath, Iranian religious supreme leader Ali Khameni delivered a fiery sermon last Friday, September 11, stressing the direction of Jerusalem Day.

"[N]ext Friday we will make Jerusalem Day, one of the most important traditions of the leader of the revolution, Khomeini, a day which reflects the interest of the Iranian people and the revolution in holy Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause...Iran has preserved the status, commemoration and uniqueness of the day throughout the world, even though many governments have invested fortunes in trying to force it into a forgotten corner...If Iran did not stand firm against their evil policy, they might succeed in making the Palestinian cause less important or causing it to be forgotten entirely...Today the arrogant the west, especially the United Statets, and Israel admit their frustration at seeing Iran wave the banner of the Palestinian cause...They are frustrated because Iran does not allow the Palestinian cause to be forgotten by [making] compromises...Jerusalem Day is the day we breathe new life into the memory of Jerusalem...This year as well it will be marked with rallies and marches in Tehran and other cities in Iran...and in other countries."

Khamenei warned that if any movement [i.e., the reformist camp] tried to strike a blow at the regime or dull its sword, it would be struck down. He mentioned the reformist camp again in relation to Jerusalem Day, warning against "people who will try to exploit the large audience expected to participate in Jerusalem Day events...We must beware of a schism. We must stand firm...The Iranian nation can be the standard bearer of Jerusalem when it is united [Members of the audience then shouted "Death to Israel."].. Israel tried to put a stop to this day but thanks to Allah, it failed and will continue to fail."1

The military and state supported papers issued equally strong warnings.

However, while the so called Iranian moderates and anti Ahmadinejad reformists hate the United States, Israel and Jews as much as their opponents, the Iranian government leaders and religious clerics, they still plan to use Jerusalem Day for their own purposes, turning Jerusalem Day into Iran Day.

Its activists flood websites, social networks, blogs and forums with announcements and instructions calling for Iranians to "paint the streets green" and turn Jerusalem Day events into a day of victory for the "green movement," and to remember those who paid with their lives, especially Neda Agha-Soltan, shot through the heart by a Basij sniper. Social networks spread instructions for ways to arrive at marches, which slogans to shout and how to avoid being arrested and exposed to tear gas. Jerusalem Day is on every Iranian's agenda, and the reform camp has promised that this year it will be Iran Day as well.

Channeling hate against the U.S., Israel and the Jews is just so convenient that both sides will use it in their attempt to get their way in Iran. And of course both sides will accuse their opponents of being stooges and collaborators of the U.S., Israel, the Jews and other Zionist sympathizers. A fitting end to Ramadan.

In the meantime, a good, sweet year filled with health and peace to all.