After watching his live-interview with Albaghdadia Tv. I thought of writing about what many consider him as the most controversial figure in Iraq politics today, it might be because he has consistently argued that freedom, tolerance and security walk hand-in-hand.
Mr. Jamal Al-Din was born in Najaf in 1961. He went to exile when he was 16 years old, lived in Syria for some time before moving to Qum, Iran where he studied Qu’ran and Shari’a for eight years. He completed his studies earning master degree in philosophy. He is a father of six and lives in Baghdad.
Ayad Jamal Al-Din is the only Iraqi cleric who is promoting for a secular Iraq - he even calling for tolerance among atheists, simply because he is not "representing God's word on earth" - Maybe the reason for that is his big influence by the writing of Ibn al Rumy, a Muslim philosopher and mystic lived in the 9'th century. He strongly believes in Ibn Al Rumy’s say that “religion came to serve the human, and not human was created to serve religion”
He is most known for calling to separate religion from the state: his principle applies to the fact that the state does not have a religion, the people of that state believe in different religions and have different believes, therefore it is not righteous to brand that state with one religion or faith. He praises the political system in Turkey, and expressed his admiration to the doctrine of the United States of America, because both represents the essential concept of building a secular and successful state.
From his own words I quote: A secular state will guarantee the rights and respect of its citizens and a religious state will make its citizens alienate themselves from that state.
His attack on today’s definition of freedom in Iraq did not please a lot of people, check the video below where he was asked whether the bloodshed in Iraq in previous years can be considered as the cost to freedom and democracy in Iraq. His answer was that “we (in Iraq)don’t know what is the definition of freedom, and we don’t know how to deal with the concept of freedom. We are like a small bird who was born in a cage, his father and mother were also born in that cage, as their grandparents before them for more than 1400 years. Now, America came and broke that cage, but that bird is not able to fly high, because he was in the cage for all these years, and never learned how to use his wings. All this caused by our inferior culture, and I don’t the beautiful and tolerant concepts, teachings and principles of beautiful religion of Islam, which set the rules for respect to all humans, I am referring to that culture that made the citizen born and grew up with one thing in mind: to be a slave to his ruler.”
I am not surprised after hearing that this politician had more than 6 assassination attempts on him! Not a lot of people would like to hear such talk today – the uploader of this video is one of those furious from Jamal Al-Din’s talk.
Speaking about that, Jamal Al-Din’s view on other political parties: He calls for transparency among Iraqi politicians, and emphasize for the call for all political parties to declare who is funding them – with all the corruption for the last 4 years and more, Ayad Jamal Al-Din won’t have a lot of good friends around. In addition, he calls for an end outside interference in Iraq’s politics, and THE ONLY SHIITE FIGURE who publicly rejects Iran's role in interfering in Iraq, in addition to his calls for a free Iraq, this include freedom from US occupation. He was for sometime a strong ally to former Prime Minister Ayad Allway (both formed an alliance but fell due to Allawy's policies and overtures to Iran), but he mentions during that interview with Albaghdadia TV that he would be the first to join Allawy on a condition to make the latter’s view on the relationship with Iran clearer and more transparent.
The big question is: will he succeed? He has a big fan base and supporter from both Sunni and Shiite inside Iraq and abroad, mainly because he is calling for the freedom of belief (this is the main concept that Europe adapted after the end of WWII). However, many people are afraid of a cleric in power - someone put it like that "if those religious men in suits came to power and since 2003 did not make one single move to make life easier for the ordinary Iraqis, how do you expect me to elect a cleric?" Ayad Jamal Al-Din replied on a number of interviews that his appearance has nothing to do with the agenda his party is campaigning – he has photos and videos not wearing the Shiite cleric custom, by the way. One of his comments on outside looks and appearance is his rejection to the idea of a woman wearing a headscarf (hijab) in order to find work - which became now the situation in Iraq for many females.
In fact there is a bigger question came to my mind: will he be allowed to succeed? Does Iran ring a bell? What about Saudi Arabia? Ayad Jamal Al-Din criticized on one of the interviews both the first Muslim Khalif Abu Baker and Ayatollah Al Khumaini, and put them both on the same level regarding their use (or misuse) of power.
Finally, I don't want to give the impression by writing this post that I am doing some kind of a free propaganda or promote the image of any political figure, including Jamal Ayad Al-Din, that’s why I didn’t mention his promises in his campaign related to bringing basic services for Iraqis and creating jobs for the unemployed…etc
These are just some thoughts I wanted to share on a political figure in today's Iraq, especially with the elections heat are approaching day after day.
The elections will be next month, 7 of march, unless something will happen that will force it to be postponed - Iraq is the country of surprises.
Below are videos I picked randomly of interviews with Jamal Al-Din (with English subtitles)