[Editor's note: The Middle East Forum article referenced at the bottom of this piece, in fact, appeared at the Campus Watch Blog. Campus Watch is a project of the Middle East Forum.]
Tehran has confirmed that it has gone beyond the 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal and that the regime was lying all along.
This is not the first time the ayatollahs have lied about their intentions. They seem to have no qualms about this, although they consider themselves divinely appointed as God's vicegerents on earth.
They call themselves Supreme Council leaders and Grand Ayatollahs. From their behavior they are neither "supreme" nor "grand," because they will lie through the teeth for their own subversive agendas – mainly, to bring down Israel and the West.
This brings me to the question of the role of Muslim clergy in the area of Islamic reform.
For a long time we reformist Muslims believed that change will only come when the Islamic leaders – that is, imams — join the movement and start making statements about the urgent need for change from within the Muslim world.
However, it did not take long to realize that this is not going to happen. Genuine and committed reformers have not been clergy, but rather members of civil society who have put their lives on the line to speak about change.
So, how will this reform happen?
First of all, for those who think that Islamic reform will happen overnight, they are living in a fool's paradise: We are only sowing the seeds for change and hope that the movement will pick up traction over the next generations.
The Christian reformation is an example of civil society picking up on a movement and passionately pursing it. Some of the Hindu reforms like abolishing the practice of sati (the burning of widows) also came from civil society.
The reason most imams are not on board the reform movement is simple: For them, it's all about the money.
Mosques and Islamic organizations make a lot of money. The halal certification alone runs into trillions of dollars.
There are two kinds of imams: For Shiites, they are ayatollahs who receive khums, a tax paid by all Shiites. For Sunnis, there are Saudi (Wahhabist) imams who collect zakat, compulsory charity and fitra (another form of compulsory charity). Both amount to trillions of dollars.
Then there are imams who travel the globe in their turbans and frocks pretending to be moderate. They will say exactly what you want to hear but are always loyal to their base. However, when they shake your hand, the other hand is in your wallet or purse. Even while speaking in Western countries to diverse audiences, they don their cloak and turban as though it gives them legitimacy.
There are, of course, some genuine imams interested in reform, but they have shed their garb of religiosity because this is the garb of theocracy, misogyny and abuse of human rights.
Just when I thought all mosques are not radical and all imams are not hate mongers, two startling headlines shook me to the core.
At that time, the center was a moderate place of worship with an imam who was a professor at a university. The sermon was in English and inclusive.
However, that has changed since Iran started pumping finances into the West and thereby controlling the messaging of Shiite mosques.
According to the expose,
"Sheikh Jaffer H. Jaffer came out in praises of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini in his sermon slamming Trump for being a bully. He did it during his Friday sermon (at the Masumeen Islamic Centre).
In teaching his congregation about Khameini, he stated: "These are the type of leaders that Allah wants to see ... It is our responsibility to support them and to pray for them."
Khameini, along with other not-so-positive credentials, has branded Israel as "barbaric," "infanticidal" and the "sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region."
Thank God for Trump for keeping Iran with its barbaric human rights record against minorities and the LGBTQ communities in check.
The other story is about UCLA law professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, who I met years ago and interviewed. At the time, he was a visionary and moderate. Well, not so any longer.
Apart from many scholars exposing his lies and doublespeak, a recent article in Middle East Forum reports:
UCLA professor Khaled Abou El Fadl planned to pay tribute to recently deceased Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader and former president Mohamed Morsi during a sermon this month at the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC). But mosque leaders, citing a desire to avoid "divisive political discussions" that don't "directly affect American Muslims," allegedly prohibited him from doing so.
In response, an indignant Abou El Fadl posted a rambling 50-minute video on YouTube, in which he praised Morsi as a "martyr," while calling ICSC leaders "authoritarian and despotic garbage," "ignorant idiots" and "an embarrassment to Islam."
As with many, it seems, he is moderate no more.