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Activists to Highlight Oberlin Professor’s Islamism in Graduation Protest


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Focus on Western Islamism

Susannah Johnston

May 31 2022

A group of Iranian-American human rights activists and their allies will be protesting at Oberlin College’s graduation ceremony in Ohio on Sunday, June 5 to draw attention to the Islamist leanings of one of its most prominent (and controversial) faculty members, religion professor Mohammad Jaffar Mahallati. Mahallati stands accused of helping to cover up a mass killing of Iranian dissidents in the late 1980s.

Activists from a recently formed group, Alliance Against Islamic Regime of Iran Apologists (AAIRIA) are organizing the protest in an effort to highlight Mahallati’s support for Islamist expansionism and his alleged ties to the repressive regime in Tehran, says organizer Lawdan Bazargan, whose brother Bijan was killed by the Iranian government in 1988. Bazargan said that in addition to seeking justice for her brother, she is protesting for dissidents currently in jail in Iran.

“People like Mahallati, with their false message of friendship and peace are the reason this brutal regime has stayed in power for the past 43 years,” she said.

(Snip)

Sunday’s demonstration will be the third protest targeting Mahallati to take place at Oberlin since late 2021. Previous protests highlighted Mahallati’s alleged role in the cover up of a mass killing of dissidents perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1988 while he served as an Iranian diplomat.

Mahallati has denied the allegations, stating in October 2020 that he did not know about the killings as they were taking place. In November 2021 he declared, “I was doing my job, delivering the official statements of Iran to the U.N.” during the controversy over the mass killings in Iranian prisons.

Oberlin officials and Mahallati himself have not responded to requests for comment.

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