Ardeshir Ommani 0

US: Hands Off Iranian Houses of Worship

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For the Obama Administration to pompously declare that a few mosques in the U.S. and a high-rise in New York City with an annual rental income of just $4.5 million constitutes a financial front for the Islamic Republic of Iran to finance its nuclear industry, and on that basis surreptitiously announce an "emergency" situation in U.S.-Iran relations is once again kowtowing to the same primitive scare tactics which were so frequently applied by the former president George W. Bush government to force the American public to submit helplessly to the U.S. war machine, this time against the people of Iran. Behind the charade of fighting global terrorism, the U.S. government on Nov. 12, 2009 attempted to seize four Muslim houses of worship built with funds from the Alavi Foundation and with assistance of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the last two decades in New York City, Maryland, California and Houston, Texas. It is important to know that these mosques are visited regularly by the Muslim peoples of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon, as well as Iranians. The main target of the Federal prosecutors in the current action is to seize control of a 36-story office tower at 650 Fifth Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, NY, which is owned and managed by the Alavi Foundation, a center for the promotion of better understanding of Islamic culture through the support of charitable causes in education, religion, and the arts and sciences. The Alavi Foundation, which was incorporated as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization in 1973, has made contributions to non-profit institutions that promote interfaith harmony and teach Islamic culture, Persian language and literature. This current U.S. assault on the civil and spiritual rights of the Muslim people of Iran, as well as practitioners of the faith from other nationalities, to peaceful and secure places of worship in the U.S. is a sign of heightened hostility by the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress. Directing this most recent attack against the Muslim houses of worship and the Alavi Foundation by the Federal prosecutors are a few among a series of aggressive measures by the U.S. government against Iran's national interests, and essentially a challenge to its tenets of faith. It is not accidental that on the same day that the U.S. government unleashed its attacks on the mosques, the White House renewed the long-standing U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, despite President Obama's repeated overtures and promises to settle the differences between the two countries peacefully. Once again, it was not accidental that a series of allegations by the U.S. judicial system were brought down against the financial management of the mosques, the Alavi Foundation and its alleged connection to Iran's nuclear activities were launched just a few days following the heinous act of Major Nidal Malik Hasan against American servicemen and women that resulted in 13 deaths and 35 injured. And again, it was not coincidental that the current enmity surfaced just two weeks after Iran did not agree with the proposal of the major nuclear states to hand over up to 80 percent of its 3.5 percent low enriched uranium with the "promise" of receiving 120 kilograms of 19.75 percent enriched fissionable material more than a year later. Historically, the U.S. has tirelessly boasted about its freedom of worship and the sanctity of places of worship for all people as the sign of its great democracy. Now for the Obama Administration to place restrictions on Muslims by jeopardizing their cultural, educational and spiritual places of worship is openly committing a historical regression. Bringing back the old "gun-boat" diplomacy under a 'legal' cover leads the Americans and the people of other countries to believe that Obama's promise of "change" was not for real. If the U.S. in its negotiations and dialogue with Iran once again disrespects the lawful choices of the Iranian people represented by its government and once again resorts to the odious tactics of carrot and stick, the future of Iran-U.S. diplomacy would not be better than the past 30 years. We the undersigned, strongly urge the Obama Administration to be truthful and fair in its treatment of Muslims in the U.S., cast aside the worn-out policy of imposing sanctions and punitive actions on Iran and as Obama pledged to replace the outlook of solving disagreements by war with the outlook of dialogue and genuine diplomacy.


The American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) was formed in 2004 for the purpose of promoting trust, mutual understanding and peace between Americans, on one hand, and Iranians living in Iran and abroad, on the other. Prompted by concern for the consequences of an on-going anti-Iranian U.S. foreign policy, the AIFC takes steps towards creating an atmosphere that can strengthen healthy dialogue and make friendship possible between the people of the two nations. We invite all democratic-minded individuals to join the committee and help in our efforts at building a movement for promoting peace, ending the unjust sanctions, and preventing a U.S.-NATO war on Iran.


The American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) has news and views on Iran-U.S. relations at The Stop War On Iran Campaign contains articles, videos and petitions opposing war and sanctions against Iran at Gofto-gooTV is one media outlet where people can speak their minds freely, without interruption or being shut out if their opinions are different from those of the moderators. It is certainly the most progressive voice for Iranians here in the U.S. We encourage everyone to contribute intellectually and financially to this outlet. Visit The Westchester People's Action Coalition supports peace, justice and environmental issues at
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