Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Restrictions on Selection of Religious Students

Hamed Irani, Rooz Online:
In a large gathering of clerics in Fars province, Prosecutor of the Special Clergy Court Salimi criticized the methods of selecting religious students and said that such decisions had to be made very carefully. Pointing out to the serious responsibility of clerics in the modern world, Salimi requested the directors of Hoze (religious schools) to adopt planned and organized methods in admitting new students.

According to a Rooz reporter, Salimi detailed on how the selection process for new applicants to attend religious schools and centers should look like. He mentioned background family checks, personal records, and the motivation of the applicants as important subjects that had to be taken into account before accepting the applicants.

This talk and steps are being taken while the Iranian constitution specifically bans prying into the ideology of individuals in any form. Salimi went as far as saying, “Today, the doors of religious schools and educational centers (which train the clerics) are not open to anyone so that anyone with any motive could enter them.” READ MORE

While some clerics have angrily reacted to Salimi’s words, some traditional hardline clerics from the Qom Theological Center (Hoze Elmie Qom) have welcomed them and pursue implementation plans for them.

Throughout their history, theological centers had always remained educational centers which any body could join without any government interference and pursue their theological interests. The new measures are suspected of being a government instrument to allow only those whose views it supports to enter the clerical schools to pursue religious studies, which also open ways to political office in the Islamic regime.