Islamic State, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front, Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah. These terror-affiliated organizations assert dominance in western media. Extremist ideology has been at the forefront of the war on terrorism. Many of these groups operate using a dangerous interpretation of Islamic teachings as guidelines. However, certain fringe groups remain relatively unknown and enjoy obscurity by highlighting mainstream extremism while masking their own.
Unknown to most non-Muslim westerners, conflict between ideology and politics is found in different sects of Islam. This fact is crucial to understanding why highlighting dangerous practices and beliefs is often dismissed as bias or sectarian.
The Shirazi family were supporters of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution which turned the government into an Islamic republic. The religious uprising imposed radical governance on the population that remains today. Shirazi’s doctrine is a radical form of the Shiite sect of Islam.
Sadiq Shirazi preaches an extreme ideology that sanctions dangerous practices. Among guidelines given to followers are: child marriage at any age is permitted; intercourse cannot occur until child is 9-years-old but prior to that molestation is acceptable; female genital mutilation is sanctioned; and women are prohibited from holding positions of power in government. Sadiq Shirazi also promotes a violent self-flagellation ritual.
The controversial practice of Tatbir is found among fringe groups of Shiite Muslims. During this ritual, practitioners strike their heads with a dagger. The objective is to inflict maximum bleeding. According to Shirazi, this practice is mandatory even at the risk of fatalities. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current religious authority in Iran, has strongly condemned the practice of Tatbir. The Shirazi family vehemently opposes the Iranian government.
According to this March 2018 article from Middle Eastern outlet Albawaba, “Most Western governments are home to thousands of followers of The Shirazi Jurisdiction.” This is alarming because there is also an ideological concept in Islam called Taqiyya that allows followers to deny beliefs for self-preservation. The national security implications associated with Shirazi doctrine should not be overlooked.