Iran Imprisons Father of ‘Blasphemer’

Iran seems to be taking the obsession shown by many Muslim nations for prosecuting “blasphemers” to a whole new level, arresting the father of someone accused of saying mean things about one of Shia’s leading imams while living in another country.

But a 25-year-old Iranian says his Facebook activity has led to his father’s detention in a notorious prison in Tehran. And now he’s struggling to find a way to free him.

“I want my family to forgive me,” Yashar Khameneh said. “But I believe what I believe in.”

A year ago, while studying at a college in Holland, Khameneh joined a Facebook page that made fun of a top Shiite Muslim imam, Ali al-Naqi al-Hadi. Naqi is one of 12 imams considered successors to the Prophet Mohammed. Called “Infallibles,” the imams are protected by law in Iran from ridicule or even frivolous comments. One can be arrested for insulting them…

The day after his father called, Khameneh says, he got a call from his sister and mother in Iran. They were hysterical.

They said Iranian authorities had arrested his father and taken him to Evin prison in Tehran, a lockup notorious for torturing inmates.

It’s just mind-boggling to me that anyone could be barbaric enough to think this is okay.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • d cwilson

    Time to roll out the hashtag “Ali al-Naqi al-Hadi is a douchebag”?

  • birgerjohansson

    In comunist countries it has always been practice to harass relatives of dissidents -in North Korea the families are even sent to GULAG camps.


    There have been cases in the past when Iran has used collective punishment against families of dissidents, mimicking commie countries. So much for the virtues of religion over atheism

    — — — — —

    Roll out the hashtag “Ali al-Naqi al-Hadi associates with torturers, murderers and rapists (aka the Iranian government)”

  • Gregory in Seattle

    Twelve imams? Throw in a nine year old wife and you have an orgy!

  • dingojack

    A puritan father is nearly finished having breakfast, when his teenage daughter sleepily comes for her breakfast.

    Father: Child of the devil!

    Daughter: Good morning father.



    Ya gotta laugh, or this kind of religious crap will give you both ulcers and worn down teeth.

  • John Hinkle

    Naqi is one of 12 imams considered successors to the Prophet Mohammed.

    Okayyy, so doesn’t being a successor confer special powers, like being able to float or something? Why do they need a law protecting them from ridicule?

    Ridiculer: You imams believe in an evidence free religion, and you smell bad too.

    Imam: Oh yeah? Bet you can’t float like this!


    [Strikes Iran off list of future holiday destinations.]

  • Chiroptera

    It’s just mind-boggling to me that anyone could be barbaric enough to think this is okay.

    I would have thought that a basic knowledge of history and current events would have innoculated your mind from being boggled.

    I mean, the Freedomest and Democracyest nation in the world recently had a high official advisor claim that it was perfectly okay to crush a child’s testicals to get his terrorist suspect father to talk. Not only did that person not lose his job, he’s still considered employable!