Spatial Inequality and Social Rejection based on the Institution of Religion

 Contemplation on the Demand of a Marja’ Taqlid (Shia Religious Authority) from Government Officials

One of Marja’ Taqlids has recently met a number of officials of the city of Qom, emphasizing the need to pay more attention to the problems of this city by the city managers. He demands that both people and the government account for the city of Qom as a distinct city in Iran, apart from other cities. Such demands have been made before, all displaying a common theme: the clergies’ demand for exclusive privileges for the official institution of religion from the government and the people. The recent demand of this supreme religious authority, while denoting the continuation and strengthening of the clergy as a status group, has social implications with negative side-effects:

  1. In the society in which different forms of injustice, and external, partial, spatial and regional inequality prevails, distinction of Qom from other cities and demanding more privileges and facilities for this city is a sign of exacerbation of inequality and social divide.
  2. Preventing the entrance of people who are labeled as “intruder, smuggler, and delinquent” are synonymous with a sort of social rejection and disintegration; which is not consistent with the consolidating, uniting and welcoming function of religion.
  3. Resorting to the excuses such as changing the urban fabric due to the migration and ugliness of the city due to the presence of intruders, smugglers and delinquents is similar to the earlier views among social scientists in the definition of delinquency and crimes, which is known as “social disorganization theory”. It is decades now since this theory has been rejected and criticized for its disregard to the sources of social problems and damages.


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