Saber-rattling by Iran's Islamic fundamentalist regime and its repressive grip on a progressive people will highlight a Sunday discussion on the Islamic republic with nuclear ambitions.
Dr. Aman Kay, a former citizen of Iran and a current assistant professor of linguistics for the U.S. Department of Defense, will examine "the internal and external components of the so-called Islamic Revolution" in Iran at a 2 p.m. question-and-answer session at the Augusta Jewish Community Center on Weinberger Way off Furys Ferry Road in Evans.
"It is really my firm belief that what is happening in Iran, and the outcome of it, could for better or worse influence our lives in the 21st century, especially for our children and our grandchildren," Kay said, referring to Iran's nuclear program and ties to terrorism.
Kay received a doctorate from New Mexico State University and taught English on the high school and collegiate level. His children were born and reared in Texas. The family moved to Augusta in 1999 when Kay went to work at Fort Gordon.
The Fort Gordon instructor said that when he left Iran in 1977, two years before the radical ayatollahs seized power, the country was a more moderate and free society.
"In the '60s and '70s, Iran was like a small America," Kay said. "People had all the freedoms. You could dress the way you wanted and Iran was becoming a strongly growing (economy)."
His intention for the talk, which Kay calls "The Iranian Factor," is to discuss how a nation moving toward democracy came under the grip of a government that does not reflect the sentiments of the majority, he said.
"The vast majority of the Iranian people have absolutely nothing to do with it (fundamentalist Islam)," he said. "An Islamic Republic is very, very frightening ... only Stephen King probably can scare you as much," he said.
Another pertinent topic will be the rioting by Muslims in Europe and the Middle East after the publication of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in European newspapers. Some caricatures, including one of Muhammad with a bomb and lit fuse in his turban, suggested the religion condones terrorism.
Some Muslim leaders have denounced the drawings and called for apologies from the media and censorship of renderings of Muhammad deemed "blasphemous."
Kay said he wrote opinion pieces urging calm on Farsi-language news Web sites. "One of my strong suggestions is that those of us that are fortunate enough to come to the Western democratic nations and we live here, we need to understand that if freedom, especially the freedom of the press is violated, we as minorities are more vulnerable to suffering from it," Kay said.
"We need to understand and learn that anything and everything is subject for a little humor in a democracy," he said.
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