Ayatollah Jumps Into Ferguson Fray With #BlackLivesMatter Tweet

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei jumped into the American debate on Twitter concerning police shootings of black criminal suspects. He used the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and #Ferguson to compare the shootings to Israeli “oppression” in Gaza and America’s “hypocritical” behavior towards other nations.

Ayatollah Khamenei has been tweeting about race relations in the U.S. since August. As the American media turned the Michael Brown shooting on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri into an international news story, Khamenei also tied it to support for Israel, claiming “it’s the 1% in US who supports Israel” and that “Zionist domination” was hurting the country:

Khamenei has not only tied black American discussions to attack America. On Monday, he used the hashtag #Woundknee — a reference to the December 29 anniversary of the Wounded Knee massacre — to call the American government “arrogant” and condemn “Western culture.”

Khamenei paused his ramblings to interject a call to “truly honor Jesus’s birthday”:

Despite the public, international proclamation of support for Christians, expressing any loyalty to the Christian faith within Iran is a dangerous endeavor under the Ayatollah. Most prominent among those condemned to prison for being openly Christian is Iranian-American preacher Saeed Abedini, who was arrested in 2012 for private meetings in houses. In 2013, courts sentenced him to eight years in prison due to private religious gatherings in Christian homes. As of January 2014, 49 out of 307 religious minorities in jail are Christians. In July, a judge told a Christian man his lips must be burnt with a cigarette since he ate during Ramadan. Five other men received 70 lashes for not fasting.

Khamenei’s account is not verified, but over 91,000 people follow his English account. He thoroughly enjoys attacking America’s alleged “oppression,” but he does not speak about how his country regularly executes open gays or even those believed to be gay. Executions in Iran are widespread and can happen for any number of dubious reasons. The country executed Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, for example, because she killed the man who allegedly raped her. Women must prove her husband is physically abusing her in order to leave the marriage “while a woman seeking a divorce on the grounds of domestic violence must prove that the violence is ‘intolerable.’” Authorities arrested another woman, Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, after she attempted to attend a men’s volleyball match.


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