• 30 September 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • US-Iran War

Open Thread: What the heck is Glenn Beck talking about?

Glenn Beck and his guest make some pretty outlandish claims about Iran in this video, including:

  • Ayatollah Khomeini banned Twelver Shiism in post-revolution Iran;
  • Jesus is a “deputy” of the Hidden Imam who will force people to convert to Islam at the end of days;
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is hastening the apocalypse by planning a genocidal war against the Judeo-Christian world; and
  • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is a “secret, closet Twelver Shiite.”

We’d like to hear your thoughts.  Comments are welcome in the section below (h/t EA).


Posted By Patrick Disney

    14 Responses to “Open Thread: What the heck is Glenn Beck talking about?”

  1. TPD says:

    And I thought italian television was the worst ever…

  2. Joe says:

    Mr Beck is a lunatic of the highest order.

  3. Amir says:

    That’s exactly what’s going on in a theology regime of Iran. And the
    American adminstration is trying to connect with these medieval people
    who are representing the Iranian people in the world. I am sure there is
    some truth into that faction of shite Islam who are awaiting the resurrection
    of Imam Mehdi.

  4. For a man without a college education, for a man who falsely claims his mother committed suicide (when she really drowned) for the sake of pity, for a man who made his way up through shock-jock radio, I can’t say that I’m surprised Beck has his facts wrong on the intricacies of Iranian politics and Shiia Islam.

    Read Salon’s excellent expose on the man:


  5. Amir in Tel Aviv says:

    God… save us from ALL religions.

  6. Mehrdad says:

    A fine example of rich and educational program offered on TV in this great nation, the USA.


  7. Farzan says:

    I think he’s talking about the Hojjatiyeh, but even the theological position of the Hojjatiyeh is misunderstood by the general public.

    And Ahmadinejad and his clique of the IRGC follow Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, but their position is significantly different than what’s attributed to them.

  8. Farzan says:

    And when has Glenn Beck ever been a credible source of news? Still, this kind of misinformation is dangerous given the reach FOX has.

  9. Jason says:

    Someone get the scissors, the ‘wingers need clipping.

    On theology… In my opinion, religion is a crutch, a goad, and a lure.

    Perhaps it began as a way to explain the world, or to establish a reason for methods of behavior. It frequently asks for blind belief, for things that have no proof beyond words on a page. The proper term is “propaganda”.

    Why do we need a heaven? A hell? Call them carrot and stick, it means the same thing. In some ways, priests and clerics are the most powerful people in the world, because simple sense and religion seldom dwell together.

    Be they many or be they few, be good to those whose life you touch. No one can tell all that they will do after.

  10. Aaron says:

    Beck is a nothing but a goon.

    Truth and integrity mean nothing to people of his ilk, it’s about making outrageous statements and smears, and raking in the dollars – last year it was $23 million.

    His style of politics was pioneered by Karl Rove who used fringe groups as political hit men to scare the crap out of the general public with crazy statements, all the while the Rove politicians would be speaking more moderately but the net effect is to hijack discourse to the right.

    See most recently: the birthers, the kill grandma/death panels discussion in health-care, the indignation over corruption at ACORN (meanwhile billions of dollars wasted by no-bid-contract Halliburton etc. over the years doesn’t rate a mention).

    The nonsense Back spouts in this clip is typical, Repubs in general will be on the invade-evil-Iran warpath for a few months now I think, even if they don’t believe it’s the right thing to do. It hijacks debate and undermines Obama, and that’s how they roll.

  11. Sam S says:

    Obviously I think Glenn Beck was totally off in his attempt at exploring Shii political theory. He really is way over his head and there are many complicated theological matters he should study more before pretending to talk with any authority. Maybe he should try reaching out to Shii intellectuals in American such as Mohsen Kadivar or Abdolkarim Soroush, but I don’t think he will.

    Yet perhaps just as sad is the fact that this is the closest the mainstream media has gotten to looking deeper into Shii Islamic theology. The result is a testament not only to Beck, but also the entire media. The blogosphere is the only legitimate source of new anymore and the media outlets are all jokes.

  12. MHN says:

    What Beck reported is true to a great deal – sadly and unfortunately. Ahamadinejad and his associates (i.e. Mesbah Yazdi) do believe in the kind of outrageous ideology rooted in a historical make belief, mostly strengthened in the last 500 years but generally since early days of Islam. It is so sad that all this is constantly said in the name of Iran, and not as much in the name of Islamic Fundamentalism, Shia Islam, fanaticism or middle age lunaticism.

  13. Ali says:

    Twelver Shiism is the most common Shii’ism in the world. Just like in Christianity there is the belief that a Messiah will come at the end of days, so there is in Shiism.

    Beck and his guest were confusing Twelvers with the Hojjatiyeh. The Hojattiyeh, of which Ahmadinejad is likely a part, feel like they have a closer relationship with the Mahdi. Personally, from what I’ve heard of the Hojjatiye, I find their beliefs a little off the wall–just like many evangelicals in this country.

    Bottom line is, regardless of what Ahmadinejad’s religious beliefs are, Khamenei still calls the shots on foreign policy (even after the post-election crisis).

  14. Cool Blog says:

    I go to your website on occasion and I must say that I like your template!

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
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Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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