Worries from A Profane Boy

A Profane Boy  Hi my name is Wu. I am calling to seek opinion for an issue that has been troubling me for months. Here is the thing. My girlfriend and I have been together for 2 years or so. We both have stable income and share a group of friends in this city that we now live in. So I think that we’ve come to the point to settle down and get married here.

My girlfriend is a Muslim. I knew that from our first date because she did not eat pork or drink alcohol. Other than that, there is nothing really special about her. And I am totally ok with that. I am not a big fan of pork anyway. And there are always some occasions where I can go out to the pub with some other friends.

So when I talked to her about my plan, to get married. My girlfriend told me that I need to convert to Islam and receive baptism, in order to marry her, according to the religious doctrine. Continue reading

The Iranian Revolution of 1979

The Iranian Revolution which ended in 1979, resulted in the removal of Iran’s last monarch and the creation of a new Islamic Republic.  Prior to the revolution, Iran was led by the Shah (emperor) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Shah ruled Iran with an oppressive force that was seen as corrupt, intimidating, and intolerant of public criticism. However, he also sought to westernize Iran and was pressured by the U.S. to instate a national development program called the White Revolution.  This program disrupted the wealth and power dynamics of landowners and religious leaders, but it also catapulted Iran into a period of economic growth and prosperity. Despite some of its successes, the program created social disparities and was not accepted by everyone in Iran. Most notably, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was an outspoken critic of the White Revolution and the Shah’s government.

Khomeini was a professor and cleric who was exiled for speaking out against the Shah and his policies.  While living in Paris, he continued to criticize the regime as tensions in Iran grew due to the massive social and economic changes brought on by the White Revolution. Thus, Khomeini became a symbol and main opposing force against Mohammad Reza. Khomeini wanted to reintegrate religion back into the government and decrease the western influence in Iran.  Despite his conservative religious ideas, Khomeini was supported by many groups in the resistance (rich, poor, working class, upper class, men, women, etc.).

The revolution finally reached a boiling point in 1978 after a newspaper article slandered Khomeini. This led to a massive protest by religious school students who were later joined by more young protesters. The government responded violently to the protests and many dissenters were killed.  Demonstrations continued and the death toll rose sharply after the military open fired on protesters in Tehran later that year. Shortly after, government employees and oil workers went on strike which intensified the conflict. As public unrest grew increasingly difficult to manage, the Shah fled Iran in 1979. This allowed the beloved Khomeini to return to Iran and take control of the government.  After a national referendum vote on April 1st, Khomeini succeeded in creating the Islamic Republic.

Note from Caroline: Afsane Rezaei’s video in this week’s module picks up after this, giving more context on what happened after the rise of Khomeini.



“Iran 1979: Anatomy of a Revolution.” Al Jazeera, 1 Feb 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2017/11/iran-1979-anatomy-revolution-171112085321494.html. Accessed 9 Feb 2020.

Ansari, Ali. “Iranian Revolution of 1979.” EDGE, Stanford University, 23 Aug 1999 https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/war_peace/middleeast/hiranianrev.html Accessed 9 Feb 2020

 “The Iranian Revolution of February 1979.” Middle East Institute, 29 Jan 2009, www.mei.edu/publications/iranian-revolution-february-1979. Accessed 9 Feb 2020

Afray, Janet. “Iranian Revolution.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 20 Sep 2019, https://www.britannica.com/event/Iranian-Revolution. Accessed 9 Feb 2020

Role of Christian Missionaries in Colonial Africa

The story of missionary work in colonial Africa begins with The Age of Discovery. This is a period where European powers set their sights on exploring the world. This was the start of a global economy, and colonialism. The British colonized many nations including Nigeria in order to exploit native labor and natural recourses beginning in the 1700’s (Reviews). Their justification for colonization was that they were providing better education and healthcare to the natives (Nigeria – Influence). Another primary justification for colonization was for missionary work. Today, Christianity is criticized in the context of Colonialism because the it was used to justify Colonialism. The British, along with many other European empires, pillaged these counties of resources, engaged in human trafficking of the native people, and exploited their labor in the collection of these resources.

Missionaries attempted to convert as many native people as possible to Christianity. This affect of this works is still apparent today where nearly half of Nigerians are Christian (Nigeria – United). Different denominations of Christianity divided the Nation into their own spheres of influence in order not to compete with each other. Among the Igbo, Catholic missionaries were particularly present. In fact, the British were successful in largely eliminating common practices in Nigeria of human sacrifice and the killing of infant children. The missionaries felt that spreading the gospel to these people was of great importance, and actively tried to erase their beliefs in Polytheism. British missionaries even promoted the Natives into leadership positions within the church. In fact, the British missionaries were successful in largely eliminating common practices in Nigeria of human sacrifice and the killing of infant children.

The Christian missionaries of the Colonial Age worked in very different ways from the missionaries of today. They believed that converting native people to Christianity was of such dire importance that they felt justified in forcibly and violently converting them. This did much damage not only to those directly impact by the hostility, but to the generations of lost culture and tradition of native religions all across Africa.

Works Cited

Nigeria – Influence of the Christian Missions, countrystudies.us/Nigeria/14.htm

“Nigeria – United States Department of State.” U.S. Department of State, https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/nigeria/

Reviews in American History: A Quarterly Journal of Criticism. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1973. Print

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was established in January of 1957 by group of black ministers and leaders in Atlanta, GA. Their objective was to end segregation in all forms by using nonviolent and economic actions. The SCLC contributed to many major Civil Rights activities including the Albany Movement, the Birmingham Campaign, March on Washington, St. Augustine Protests, the Montgomery March, Grenada Freedom Movement, and the Jackson Conference.

While many blacks supported the group and the movement, they were still governed and controlled by whites. Most of them had white employers and landlords, and they could not afford to risk getting fired or evicted by actively supporting the SCLC. However, black churches were run and controlled by blacks and offered black ministers a voice into the SCLC and the Civil Rights Movement without fear of their direct superiors. It also gave self-employed blacks a voice in the movement.

The goal of the SCLC was to plan and support nonviolent methods of desegregation in the South. In February of 1957, Martin Luther King Jr. was elected as the group’s president, and it was also run by a board of elected members. The SCLC was described “by one member as ‘a bunch of Baptist preachers,’ and by another as “a movement, not an organization.” (Fairclough, 2). The group was founded in response to the protest movements in Montgomery, Tallahassee, and Birmingham. It included primarily black ministers.

The March on Washington was one of the most notable events throughout the Civil Rights Movement. It was held in August of 1963 to advocate for civil and economic rights of blacks. The SCLC assisted in supporting the protests held and fought for new legislation to get rid of segregation. During this march, King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in which he painted a picture of what he hopes the Civil Rights Movement will result in.

In 1967, King gave a speech, “Where Do We Go from Here?” at the SCLC conference. In his speech, King called for the ethos of the group to be rebranded. According to Werner, King’s speech, “reinterpreted the trajectory of the SCLC’s accomplishments; articulated the ‘character’ of established SLC principles; and reconstituted the ‘dwelling place’ of the civil rights struggle.” (Werner, 110).


Works Cited:

Adam Fairclough. (1986). The Preachers and the People: The Origins and Early Years of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 1955-1959. The Journal of Southern History52(3), 403. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/10.2307/2209569

WERNER, J. B. (2017). Building a “Dwelling Place” for Justice: Ethos Reinvention in Martin Luther King Jr.’S “Where Do We Go from Here?” Rhetoric & Public Affairs20(1), 109–132. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/10.14321/rhetpublaffa.20.1.0109

Ewell Reagin. (1968). A Study of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Review of Religious Research9(2), 88. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/10.2307/3510055