Iran News ...


11/25/10

World Philosophy Day closes in Tehran

Source: Radio Zamaneh; photos by Abolfazl Salmanzadeh, Mehr News Agency

World Philosophy Day ended in Tehran last night with comments from Iran's head of Judiciary on reviewing the content of human sciences and the issue of human rights.

Related Article: Iranian Students, Activists Condemn Planned Changes To Social Sciences


Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

ISNA reports that the World Philosophy Day events which had started on Sunday ended with a closing ceremony at the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to this report, the three-day event included 16 specialized discussion panels and articles from 22 countries.

In the closing ceremony, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani once more referred to the issue of teaching humanities saying it is imperative to reconsider the principles on which we base our teaching of the humanities.

He maintained: "The humanities that have been imported from the West must be reviewed in view of the presumptions, objectives and lifestyles of each society."

He claimed this is not a political concern but rather an issue of "technicality and accuracy."

Ayatollah Larijani insisted that his comments regarding the humanities have been "misconstrued" saying: "I heard a German contender of this event had announced that he would not attend the events because of the controversies that have risen around the issue of humanities in Iran. We are very sorry that thinkers and philosophers have misunderstood matters."

Larijani maintained that works of Western thinkers can be taught in Iran but added that their givens should be made to correspond with the cultural and religious givens of each society.

Ayatollah Larijani also questioned the situation of human rights in Western countries and went on to add that the "current human rights" regulations are the fruit of modernity. He claimed it was unfair to "force these tenets on a country that has a completely different culture and background." He added: "They are in effect forcing us to put their ideas in our heads."

Head of Iran's judiciary also expressed his "disappointment" at UNESCO's decision to pull out of the Philosophy Day events in Iran.

Gholamali Haddad Adel, head of the organizing committee of the events, also criticized UNESCO's move maintaining that it had succumbed to political pressure. He expressed grave concern that "UNESCO has become a political tool in the hands of world powers."

On November 9, UNESCO disassociated itself from the World Philosophy Day events in Tehran despite the fact that two years earlier it had agreed that Iran would host the events in 2010.

Numerous philosophers and scholars from around the world had expressed outrage at having the events in Iran in view of recent Islamic Republic hostility to the teaching of humanities in universities as well as the violent treatment of protesters in the aftermath of the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

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