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« Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch | Main | Vouchers Work, We're Moderately Certain »

A Local Champion for Muslim Freedom

Today, before I start walking the district, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. She's a local Muslim woman, and a tireless and articulate exile and a budding champion for her people, who are living under tyranny imposed by religious differences. She's been active in reaching out to secular, Christian, and Jewish Americans, building alliances and seeking help for her people's stymied attempts to throw off their oppression. She speaks at local universities. And her op-eds have been published in local newspapers.

Her name is Ana Sami, and she's the American daughter of Iranian exiles. (Oh, please, you didn't really think I meant...I mean, come on.)

Miss Sami first contacted me when she saw my postings about local Shiite Imam-without-portfolio Ibrahim Kazerooni. We've had a coffee a few times, chatting about Iran's troubles under Ahmedine-nut-job, as she calls him, and the Iranian peoples' efforts to do something about him and his murderous regime.

And for the record, for those of you who think that being a Muslim means hostility to Israel think again. Look, it's not her top priority, naturally, but people like the former Mufti of Jerusalem are not, as she puts it, her best friends. I've detected nothing but sympathy for Israel, an attitude reflective of most of the Iranian people, as far as I've ever been able to detect. I suspect that she also understands that a strong Israel and a strong Iran will be better-positioned to confront common enemies, of which they have many.

Ana's recently graduated from the Colorado School of Mines, where she had a letter to the editor published, deriding Columbia University for giving the Mad Mullahs' sock puppet a platform, and detailing Ahmedinejad's personal achievements before rising to power:

Alireza Jafarzadeh, author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) stated evidence that Ahmadinejad is known in Iran as "the man of a thousand bullets" because he was the one to fire the last blow, or 'tir-khalas,' to political prisoners who were executed by way of a firing squad. Former political prisoners such as 58-year-old Laya Roshan gave a press conference in Paris on September 26th of this year in which she testified that she met Ahmadinejad in 1982 while in the torture chamber of Iran's notorious Evin prison. Roshan was a dentist who was arrested and taken to Evin prison under the charges of assisting opponents of the regime. As she painfully recalls the vivid memories she has of Ahmadinejad, she also revealed an experience in which she witnessed his torture of a female prisoner when he "held her arm and dragged her on the ground and took her to the torture chamber. The prisoner was returned two hours later with broken teeth, torn lips and blue face." Roshan plans to press charges against Ahmadinejad.

Ana's also been the featured commentator at DU on Epitaph, a documentary on the ruinous effects on women of Iran's regime. The regime seems hell-bent on pushing the country into penury, and more and more women are turning to prostitution to support themselves. We've seen the sort of thing in the aftermath of wars, and in chronically poverty-stricken countries. But Iran was a westernized, cosmopolitan country when these butchers took over.

And she wrote for the Denver Post about the courage of a man put to death by the regime in a public execution:

The price these victims pay for their bravery is the same, and all hangings are equally as disturbing and unjustified. However, the smile that gleamed over Majid's face as he strained to wave goodbye while handcuffed was indeed victorious, and the message was clear: "I defeated you, I am not frightened, and I am honored to die; hanging me will no longer repel resistance."

While Majid's courage is remarkable in the face of such torment and brutality, we can be sure that there will be other fearless Iranian youths ready to give their lives, until that proud smile gives way to the much awaited dawn of change.

On a personal note, when I told Ana about my race, she was very happy I was running, and to tell the truth, she's been very helpful in explaining both the Iranian situation, and some of the dynamics of the local Muslim community.

Hopefully, like all of us fighting this battle, it'll be over soon for her, and she move on to other pursuits.

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