The head of Iran’s Basij organization, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, spoke at a cultural event on clothing on Oct. 21 about the influence of Western styles on Iranian clothing and how cultural values in Europe are causing Europeans to become extinct.
“The European race, just like the dinosaurs, is in the process of extinction,” said Naghdi. “An obscene and vulgar culture is becoming prevalent over there.” He added that one “reason their race is becoming extinct is the prevalence of homosexuality and living with animals.”
Naghdi continued, “Their economy, culture and morals is in complete decline. … If 100 years from now, you want to find the European race, you will have to send a research team because they have a declining birth rate.” Although many European countries have a declining fertility rate, Iran suffers the same, and in the final year of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, government programs were implemented to address this issue.
In discussing the West’s influence on Iranian clothing, Naghdi said, “From the very first day that we came to know them, they were occupying and invading. They burned the mosque in Kerman, they burned people in Abadan, they supported Saddam [Hussein] and his chemical attacks, they are constantly sanctioning and humiliating. When a race acts like this with us, is it good that we act like them and use their symbols?”
Naghdi continued, “A suit and tie is not for us. We had better clothes than this that we were more comfortable with, that matched our geography.” Once the Islamic Republic was established after the 1979 revolution, neckties quickly fell out of favor among government officials, despite the fact that many early revolutionaries, including the first prime minister, wore one.
Stressing the importance of Iran’s religious influences and historical figures such as the first Shiite Imam, Naghdi went on to say, “All of creation takes pride in Imam Ali, and for us to let this go and put a picture of a corrupt, drug-addicted actor on our shirts? It’s not right.”
Islamic civilizations should present their own examples to the Islamic world, said Naghdi, who added, “We have many reasons to not follow the shape and images of the West on our clothing.” He continued, “Do we not have an identity, that we have to use a borrowed character and identity? Do we not have a language and culture for them to want to impose their language and culture on us?”
“How many countries have stood against all of the world powers and been victorious? Then why do we have to take refuge in another country’s cultures and signs?”
Naghdi warned, “If the style of Islamic life and culture is not correct, regardless of how beautiful the building is, it will collapse.” He added that Iran’s enemies “do not want the prime pillars of an Islamic civilization to take shape.”
Naghdi stressed, “We have to be careful about what we wear and to know what message and implications our clothes have.”