Friday, March 14, 2008

Ayatollah Behjat’s Accounts Are Frozen

News reports from the holy city of Qom indicate that the accounts of ayatollah Behjat, a ‎leading ayatollah with a following, have been frozen and the reasons for this are said to ‎be the ayatollah’s implicit opposition to the views of the leader of the Islamic regime ‎regarding violent self-flogging [traditionally carried out during the commemoration of the ‎Shiite third Imam through which his followers strike their backs with sharp objects, ‎including knives, to blood).‎

Sobh News news agency directly quoted this and wrote, “Following the opposition of ‎ayatollah Behjat with ayatollah Khamenei over the issue of self-flogging, the banking ‎accounts of the grand ayatollah have been frozen.” Alborz news website too wrote on this ‎that the freezing of the bank accounts was because of the “views he had over self-‎flogging and his visits with certain relevant officials.” ‎

According to a person close to ayatollah Behjat, after he had launched a discussion over ‎the merits and objections to the issue of self-flogging, security agents contacted the ‎ayatollah. During the meeting, these officials strongly criticized the ayatollah’s approval ‎of self-flogging (while the leader of the Islamic regime had banned it) so that after the ‎ayatollah refrained from rescinding his view, he was threatened with a freeze of his ‎banking accounts.‎

This student of ayatollah Behjat told a reporter from Sobh in Qom, “This threat has been ‎implemented for a while now but has also been ineffective because prior to it, the ‎ayatollah had instructed that all the funds in his accounts be paid to his students as the ‎payment of their tuition so that the accounts would be all empty.”‎

The difference of opinion between ayatollah Behjat who is an elder cleric in Qom with ‎ayatollah Khamenei has a history. The height of this difference appeared during a Fitr ‎celebration (which takes place at the end of the fasting month of Ramazan). During ‎recent years when ayatollah Khamenei has attempted to have the last word on when the ‎month of Ramazan ends, he has ended up with differences over this with some higher ‎clerics so that the followers of ayatollah Behjat engaged in the Fitr prayers on a day that ‎was different from what ayatollah Khamenei has announced to be observed nationally. ‎

It should be noted that after the death of ayatollah Khomeini, ayatollah Behjat is among ‎those ayatollah’s that the regime formally announced who could be the source of ‎emulation for the public.‎

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