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The Occupy Wall Street Movement - Part 3

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The Occupy Wall Street Movement - Part 3

Who would have believed that the dictatorships ruling the Arab world would fall one by one or that protests against capitalism would emerge in the West? What has really been shocking is the Western demonstrations against the economic policies of the world’s greatest powers. Instead of occupying, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are now occupying Wall Street. It seems they have finally woken up and now seen the real world they are living in.

What is presented below is the final part of a selection of matters discussed in the debate, which was held in the presence of Dr. Ahmad Hanif, who is a Canadian intellectual, and Dr. Ali Pour Muhammadi, who is a lecturer at the Howza and University of Qom. Dr. Muhammadi has a doctorate in Western philosophy from the University of Tehran and the University of Austria. Dr. Hanif, who was influenced by Imam Khomeini’s movement and as a result converted to Islam, has studied in Canadian universities.

You talked of an Arab bloom (uprisings), what does the Arab bloom have to do with the Occupy Wall Street Movement? Has the Occupy Wall Street Movement really been influenced by the Arab uprisings?
Dr. Pour Muhammadi: “The editor of the Adbusters Magazine announced that the invitation to the Occupy Wall Street Movement was inspired by the Arab uprisings. He also stated that he thought to himself: ‘Why not make Wall Street a symbol of the al-Tahrir Square’.  We have seen that even after people stopped protesting in Zuccotti Park, it was called the al-Tahrir Square of America.”   

You said previously that all religious sects and groups took part in this movement. Can you talk about the role of the Muslims in this movement?
Dr. Hanif:“Their role has not been particularly effective. The Muslim groups which have participated in the Occupy Wall Street Movement all belong to the Sunni sect. This is due to the fact that the Shi’a are a minority and prefer to not interfere in such issues as they are quite conservative. The Shi’a faith in these countries belongs to a minority. However the Shi’a have progressed more compared to the Sunnis. The Arab uprisings has to some extent been inspired by the Islamic revolution, nevertheless the Shi’a have no role in the Wall Street Movement. I think that this is a shame because after the 11th of September, an atmosphere of negative sensitivity towards Muslims has come about. If Muslims participate in this movement it will have a great influence on trying to produce more of a positive view of Muslims. For example, Muslim women, who bear the flag of Islam by wearing a headscarf, should participate in this movement in order to change the people’s opinions regarding Muslims.
Dr. Pour Muhammadi: “One of the important issues of this movement is the reaction of the police forces. A week after the police arrested 700 people, the people began their protests again to show their objection to the aggressive reaction of the police. Due to the fact that the police reacted particularly aggressively with the Muslims, the demonstration focused on the reaction of the police towards religious minorities.”

Please talk of the role of the black society in this movement. They were very active during the movement against racism and objected severely to the injustices committed against them. Do they have an influential presence in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is also against injustice?
Dr. Hanif: “Yes they are participating, and not only are they participating but they have also brought up the issue that the difficult circumstances the black people in America are facing is due to the economic problems, housing problems and other problems, which affects the black society more than the white society. Although the Wall Street Movement is not dealing with racism, many black people are participating. They are severely objecting to the current political and financial circumstances of the country. 

Could you please talk of the outlook of the Jews regarding this movement, taking into consideration that they have a great influence and say regarding America’s politics and finances?
Dr. Pour Muhammadi: “Everyone is taking part in this movement. The Jewish people are also participating but they are divided into two groups. One group is in the same boat as the majority of the American people and partakes in this movement. The other group are owners of estate agencies, and major television channels or newspapers, and do not support this movement. Thus the Jews who are taking part in this movement are participating as followers of a religion, but those who oppose this movement are the Jews who are major shareholders and so it is in their interest to be against this movement.”

The above discussion took over an hour, thus due to the longevity of the debate we were forced to select the most interesting parts of the discussion. The full discussion is available in Farsi on the Farsi section of this website.