The ultimate and declared goal of fundamentalists has been to establish an Islamic Caliphate and to enforce Sharia law by force,” said Maryam Rajavi in the testimony she submitted to a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. “This objective is the common denominator and the focal point of all variants of Islamic fundamentalism whether Sunni or Shiite, which render their differences secondary in light of such commonality of purpose.”
Maryan Rajavi the president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition that includes the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) was invited to speak in the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on the basis of her expertise regarding Islamic fundamentalism, stemming from her organization’s 36-year fight against the clerical regime in Iran.
The hearing was titled “ISIS: Defining the Enemy,” and Rajavi’s testimony largely focused on arguing that the defeat of Sunni extremists in Iraq and Syria would depend upon first confronting the Shiite extremists who rule Iran and are extending their influence into those other theaters of sectarian conflict.
Rajavi presented this as both a policy imperative and a moral imperative. In the first place, she stated that the Iranian regime constituted the first imperial Islamist movement and an example to all of its followers.
“It was only through the existence of the velayat-e faqih regime in Iran,” said Rajavi’s submitted remarks, referring to the absolute rule of clerics, “that Islamic fundamentalism morphed into a new global threat… Conversely, the collapse of this epicenter leads to the isolation and defeat of this ominous threat across the globe, rendering it ineffectual.”
In the second place, Rajavi pointed out that the human rights abuses by Iran and its proxies are representative of the same brutality exhibited by newer fundamentalist groups like ISIS: “From day one, the regime resorted to killings, torture and daily executions, coupled with stoning, eye-gouging and limb amputation, which have continued to this date.”
Rajavi’s remarks also paralleled the conclusions numerous Western analysts in pointing out that the influence of the Iranian regime in Iraq and Syria has amplified sectarian conflict and has greatly contributed to recruitment for ISIS.
“If it were not for the Iranian regime’s domination of Iraq, the sectarian policies of its puppet prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and the massacre committed against the Sunni population in Iraq, and if it were not for the slaughter of 250,000 people in Syria by the Assad regime and the Iranian regime’s Quds Force, ISIS would have never been able to find such a fertile breeding ground for its emergence and expansion,” she said in her written testimony.
The need for international support of moderate movements in the Middle East was a major theme of Rajavi’s testimony. Among a series of practical steps that she said the West could take to defeat Islamic extremism the resistance leader named empowerment of “the true, democratic and tolerate Islam to counter fundamentalist interpretations.”