The head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, has once again attacked the teaching of the humanities in the country’s universities, warning against the infiltration of Western thought in the institutions of higher education.

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

In a meeting with the Qom Seminary Teachers on Thursday October 8, Larijani warned of the invasion of “thoughts to undermine religious foundations”, saying: “Today, the Western humanities have begun their invasion of the country and we teach those concepts in the universities.”
He expressed concern that the doors of the country’s universities are open to “Western thought” and even criticized the teaching of psychology in universities.

Since the election protests of 2009 and the mass street protests that were violently put down, Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has often pointed the finger at universities and the teaching of the humanities as a breeding ground for dissent in the country. His statements have become the basis of certain attempts by conservative factions to overhaul humanities courses and replace them with religious programs.

The statements of the head of judiciary echoed the concerns of Ayatollah Khamenei, saying: “Western thought views humanity in a certain way; the Quran and the Prophet’s view of humanity is different.”

He added that mosques and sermons are tools to be further exploited in disseminating religious though and principles.

The statements and concerns of the head of the judiciary appear to indicate that recent efforts to overhaul humanities syllabuses in universities have not been effective.