Thursday, July 22, 2004

womeniniran: Dr. Rahnavard defends Nobel Prize Winner Ms. Ebadi

womeniniran: "December 3, 2003

Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Noble Peace Prize Laureate, who was scheduled to speak at Al Zahra University, was assaulted along with his entourage. The shouting of her opponents and supporters also interrupted the lecture in the university amphitheater.

In the attack against Ebadi, a group of women beat her and as a result her lecture was cancelled. Ms. Ebadi is due to receive her prize from the Noble Peace Committee next week (December 10) in Oslo, Norway.

''At a time communist supporters accuse me of defending Islam, some in the state universities consider me to be a pagan and attack me as well," she said after the attack incident. "It is not clear when communists have such impression of me, I am accused of being an infidel inside the country!â€‌ She was referring to a demonstration in Europe by Iranian communist sympathizers who claimed she was a puppet of the Islamic regime in Iran.

Following the blockage of Ms. Ebadi’s lecture and the convulsion that followed, the organizers of the program led her inside the University premises to protect her from attacks by her opponents.

"Shirin Get Lost," "Dissenter’s Place Is Not in Al Zahra" and "Shimon Perez, Yitzhak Rabin, Begin, and Shirin Ebadi" were some of the slogans shouted or written on posters by the opponents. This group also displayed Ebadi's picture without her Islamic hijab while she was in Europe.

Ms. Ebadi’s supporters also declared their support by shouting "Ebadi, Ebadi, We Support You," "Iran’s Lady of Peace: Support, Support" and "Students, Students, We Thank You."

After this incident, Dr. Zahra Rahnavard, Chancellor of Al Zahra University, declared that if those responsible for attacking Ms. Ebadi were not prosecuted, she would resign from her post. "Critics of Ms. Ebadi showed that they are incapable of thinking and reasoning, and that they only know the way of violence. The people who attacked Ms. Ebadi were but a few. It is conceivable that they were either from another institution or were not even students."

"While I have always declared that in Al Zahra University, everyone is free to express opinions and all should be reasonable and creative, some people still act in such [violent] manners. The presence of Ms. Ebadi as an international figure can be a credit to Muslim women. Did she earn a prize for defending violence or war-mongering or defending the enemy?"

Dr. Rahnavard added that Ms. Ebadi earned the Noble Peace Prize because of her defending the rights of women and children. We do not care what the motivation of the Committee was in giving her the prize, but we know that the defense of justice and freedom is the message of Quran and Islam.

Based on this report, the attack incident in Al Zahra University was subdued by the intervention of the Municipal Police who were called in to the scene by Dr. Rahnavard."