The UM community taking care of its own (Amir Hekmati)

Submitted by MGoCooper on January 9th, 2012 at 4:16 PM

What I am about to say involves politics, but is not political, if that makes any sense. A young man I went to High School with, named Amir Hekmati, is set to be executed by the Iranian government. He was arrested for espionage, claiming he was working for the CIA. He was sentenced to death in a sham of a trial, and before that, "confessed" to being a spy, under what most believe to be force.

There is a petition online, that I am asking the MGoBlog community to sign, showing support for Amir. I'm not sure the effect it will have, but it's the least any of us can do to save an innocent man from death.


To learn more about Amir and his family, feel free to visit


Amir was a HUGE Michigan fan, and I'd like to think the Wolverine family would look out for their own. He also served his country in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the armed forces, and this would be a great way to repay his family for his sacrafice. I'm asking the Moderators to please not delete this, it is important, and I think we owe at least this much to Amir, and to his family.

Save Amir!




January 10th, 2012 at 12:04 AM ^

Shame on me for not doing a full google search. Thank you for providing the link. I gladly stand corrected, and hope to find more such statements. (Frankly, I was surprised not to hear or find more such condemnations among other relevant American communities, such as some in Detroit.) In fact, I expected to find something at MSA speaking against violence:  you are correct that it is a logical fallacy to extrapolate from their choice not to speak against such events to the wider population (i.e., your search provides at least one group that spoke out.) Any time generalizations are made is generally a FAIL.

Regarding your second statement (what your responsibility is as a member of a group) I am less sure. I will grant that you as an individual have less responsibility to speak against something that is wrong. However, organizations have a greater responsibility. And when all the individuals fail to speak against something wrong happening in a group of which they are part, because it isn't their job, because they are only one person, the results are not good. Can we really condemn something in our heart, by not doing the same thing, by being a good neighbor?

Let me make this personal in several ways that don't reflect well on my heritage.

  1. I have a great, great, grandfather who was very wealthy through the ownership of thousands of slaves in Kentucky, wealth that was lost in the Civil War. I have visited the family slave cemetery, something of which I am not proud. I have to take ownership and reject the choices made by a number of relatives in that part of my family tree.
  2. I have a grandfather who was an aviator ace in World War I . . . for Germany. He was a brilliant engineer, and also a terrible racist and bigot, truly one who believed in Aryan supremacy. Again, I have to reject and repudiate his beliefs and choices. I deeply regret his position, and that part of my heritage.

Silent condemnation only goes so far. I won't say it is exactly your job to speak out. But whose job is it?



January 10th, 2012 at 12:23 AM ^

Would it be fair of Muslims in Iraq to insist that every Christian church or organization  condemn the US invasion of their country, which self-proclaimed born-again Christian George W. Bush launched because he said God told him to? Would it be fair of Muslims in Afghanistan to insist that every Christian church or organization condemn the ongoing US occupation of their country, which was also launched by Bush because, again, God told him to? Would it be fair of African-Americans to expect every White Christian church or organization to condemn the dragging death of James Byrd by the KKK (which is a Christian extremist organization in the same way that al-Qaeda is a Muslim extremist organization)? Would it be fair of Muslim Palestinians (or Christian Palestinians, for that matter) to insist that every Jewish synagogue and organization condemn the Israeli occupation of their homeland? Are you willing to condemn every single atrocity committed by Christians in the name of Christianity, not just those committed by your ancestors?

Do you see now how your logic is flawed and offensive?


January 10th, 2012 at 1:06 AM ^

I see the slippery slope you are alluding to. That is to say, obviously, it is impossible to condemn every single atrocity committed by Christians in the name of Christianity. You can't do it, simply because one literally can't be AWARE of every single atrocity committed by Christians in the name of Christianity.

However, when I become aware of an atrocity committed by a lunatic fringe group calling itself "Christian," well yes, I am willing to condemn such an action. Whether it be the Branch Davidians, or an abortion clinic bomber, or some other idiot wrapping their actions in the cross and the flag, yes, I should condemn such actions, and am willing to do so. I do think that every Christian church or organization should condemn the dragging death of James Byrd by the KKK. In fact, I'm confused by the thought that any Christian church WOULDN'T condemn and reject such a heinous and evil action. I struggle to think of any justification whatsoever for such an action.

Where I will acknowledge clear hyperbole and overstatement on my part is my suggestion that Muslims should speak against Muslim violence. Not being a Muslim, I can't and shouldn't speak for Muslims, and I have no right to suggest that Muslims have any responsibility to speak against Muslim violence. There may be theological reasons why Muslims shouldn't speak against violence. I don't know, I'm ignorant on this topic, and so I'm willing and able to retract this suggestion.

Being more familiar with Christianity, I will say that I as a Christian should speak out against atrocities committed in the name of Christianity. That's as far as I'll go, and I'll accept your correction. To assume that a Muslim has the same societal responsibilities as a Christian is an assumption that makes an ass of me.

EDIT:  Before you respond, let me add that this thread has clearly gone over the line of inappropriate commentary, as regards Brian's strictures on poltics and religion. As such, I expect that when/if a mod reads this, it will be deleted. I'd be open to dialogue, but to honor Brian's express wishes, I won't post further on this thread at this blog. In other words, should there be further response from you, well, you can have the last word.


January 10th, 2012 at 1:47 AM ^

Fair enough; this is not the proper forum. 

Also: I apologize for calling you a fucking idiot above. I still don't think it was unreasonable of me to be offended by your initial comment, but I realize from your latest response that you were genuinely curious and/or misinformed, and I shouldn't have reacted so harshly. Because of the way our political discourse has become so polarized and extreme these days, I've developed a bit of a short fuse on these kinds of issues. Please accept my sincerest apologies.


January 10th, 2012 at 1:42 AM ^

No true muslim would ever support those attacks. You don't know the context of the situation. Why are you asking people from the Middle East and a Muslim background for an apology? You do realize he is Iranian. And Iranians in America hate the current Iranian regime more than anyone else in this country. A lot of them fled after the Islmaic Revolution in 1979. And as a proud member of my University of Windsor's Muslim Student Association you can send us a message with your concerns about any issues. 


[email protected]



January 10th, 2012 at 2:05 AM ^

As noted above I failed to google search appropriately. Doing a simple google search brought up several responses from the worldwide Muslim community condemning the violence in Nigeria. I will be interested to see what happens as regards the situation in Iran.

I suppose the media tends to focus on the sensationalistic headline, and hence, there wasn't much if any coverage on such statements from the Muslim community condemning violence. I'm glad to see there were some such statements.

Also in the thread above, I noted that I am neither from the MIddle East nor a Muslim, and as such, I am ignorant of the context and what Muslims should or should not do. While I feel the responsibility to speak out against violence perpetrated by fringe "Christian" groups, I cannot assume there is any responsibility for Muslims to speak out against other Muslims who are perpetrators of violence. As noted above, there may be good reasons why Muslims don't speak out against violence or apologize for violence. Again, no one in the Muslim community or from the Middle East owes any American including myself an apology for the violence of other Muslims. I stand corrected, and expect nothing from you or any other Muslim.

Unfortunately, the media sometimes fans the flames of such misunderstandings. I took at face value a recent radio news report in the Chicago area stating that 80% of the Muslim mosques and prayer centers in the United States supported violence against the United States. I feel bad that I accepted this news report uncritically, because I certainly don't personally know whether or not any mosques in the United States either support or stand against Jihad and violence against the American way of life. American mosques may or may not support violent Jihad against Americans. I am ignorant, and don't know one way or the other, and I suppose I'll never know for sure whether or not and to what degree mosques in the US support violence.


January 10th, 2012 at 2:24 AM ^

80%? I am totally stunned. Can't be true, sure there are some bad apples but I can't see 80%! Most Muslims are thankful to be in North America and Muslims in America are especially patriotic. I think this a great program and very relevant to our discussion, if you have time and you’re interested, check it out:


January 9th, 2012 at 6:58 PM ^

Signed, and truly hope that he is released.... and I don't mean this is a trolling type of way, seriously.  I mean NO disrespect to him or other CIA members in the field (we don't know and cant' know if he is CIA - CIA would never admit it.   BTW, I have a step-sister and her husband who are both mid-east CIA agents.  So with all that said....

If the US caught someone they thought was an Iranian spy, they would send them to places unknown.  Likely forever.  We've had trials for other "spies" or "combantants" that have been as equally empty of justice as poor Amir likely had.  One might argue that we are making the right decisions in these cases and our side is justified in doing so.  I won't argue this point at all on this blog.  But just as a matter of fact, I think it is fair to see this situation in the same light as the Iranians see it.  This situation is not one of Iran being more evil and shitty than almost any other government (though I think they often are, IMO).  This is a situation of governments acting like governments act.  Our also.  If it is wrong for them to do so, then....?


January 9th, 2012 at 8:45 PM ^

Of what's happened to this person is absolutely pathetic. He's an unfortunate pawn who's being 'tortured' by a sadistic megalomaniac who has the approval of the religious hierarchy. God we're so lucky...