Following the recent remarks of reformist intellectual Abdolkarim Soroush on the effects of the prophet’s personal characteristics on development of the Koran, Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani, a grand ayatollah residing in Ghom, said that “Soroush’s writings are worse than Salman Rushdie’s.” Ayatollah Hamedani added, “Abdolkarim Soroush’s religious theories have undermined the roots of prophecy, the Koran and holy revelations.”
According to the religious website “Hoza News,” which is run by the “Ghom Seminary School’s Management Center,” the grand ayatollah told his students, “The Salman Rushdie debacle was limited to insulting the prophet, but Mr. Soroush has undermined the roots of prophecy, the Koran, and holy revelations. If this was intentional, we have to fulfill our duty.”
Ayatollah Hamedani’s reference to “duty” was the religious duty of fundamentalist Muslims to murder those who intentionally deny the Koran or the prophet of Islam.
Though debates are ongoing between Soroush and Shia intellectuals, Ayatollah Hamedani’s remark that “If this was intentional, we have to fulfill our duty,” has effectively paved the way to confront Soroush.
In connection to this story, the Fars News Agency reported, “A number of Ghom’s residents marched in protest to Soroush’s remarks following the Friday prayers. Chanting slogans such as, “Today is the day of mourning, Saheb al-Zaman [last Shia Imam] leads the mourners today,” the protestors asked for the prosecution of Soroush.