Iranian Cultural Revolution - Islamization of Universities

Islamization of Universities

The shutdown of the universities was preceded by the defeat of leftist forces on university campuses. On April 18, 1980 after Friday prayers, Khomeini gave a speech harshly attacking the universities.

We are not afraid of economic sanctions or military intervention. What we are afraid of is Western universities and the training of our youth in the interests of West or East.

His remarks are thought to have "served as a signal for an attack that evening on the Tehran Teachers Training College" by his supporters, the Hezbollahi. One student was reportedly lynched, and according to a British correspondent, the campus was left looking like `a combat zone.` The next day, hezbollahis ransacked left-wing student offices at Shiraz University. Some 300 students required hospital treatment. Attacks on student groups also took place at Mashad and Isfahan Universities."` Attacks continued April 21 and "the next day at the Universities at Ahwaz and Rasht. Over 20 people lost their lives in these university confrontations. ... The universities closed soon after the April confrontation for Islamization`. They were not to open for another two years."

The main theme of the movement was to purify the universities and education system of foreign influences. In his original letter, Ayatollah Khomeini wrote: Set yourselves free from any " –ism" and " –ist" belonging to the East and the West. Be self dependent and do not expect any help from the foreigners.

After shutting down the universities on 12 June 1980, Khomeini issued a letter, stating:

The need for Cultural Revolution which is an Islamic issue and demand of the Muslim nation has been recognized for sometimes but so far no effective effort has been made to respond to this need and the Muslim nation and the devoted and faithful students in particular are concerned and are worried of the machinations of plotters, which every now and then become evident and the Muslim nation are worried that God forbidden the opportunity is missed and no positive action is taken and the culture remains the same as the time of the corrupt regime which the acultured officials put these important centers under the disposal of colonialists. Continuation of this disaster which is unfortunately the objective of some the foreign oriented groups would deal a heavy blow to Islamic Revolution and Islamic Republic and any indifference towards this vital issue would be great treason against Islam and the Islamic country. —

The "Committee for Islamization of Universities" carried out the task by ensuring an "Islamic atmosphere" for every subject from engineering to the humanities. The headquarters deleted certain courses such as music as "fake knowledge," and committees "came to similar conclusions concerning all subjects in the humanities such as law, political sciences, economy, psychology, education and sociology".

When the institutions reopened, purges continued for five more years with special focus on "Islam’s enemies". Students were screened by committees and those found unfit were not allowed to continue their studies. Students in the University instructor program, for example, "were required to be practicing Muslims, to declare their loyalty to ... the doctrine of the vice regency of the faqih. Non-Muslims were required to refrain from behavior `offensive to Muslims,` and were excluded from all fields of study except accounting and foreign languages."

Outside of the universities, the Cultural Revolution affected some non-academic cultural and scientific figures who it publicly denounced, and the broadcasts of Iranian radio and television, which were now limited to religious and official programs.

Read more about this topic:  Iranian Cultural Revolution

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