Ayatollah Khameini has written a fascinating letter to the youth of Europe and North America seeking to defend his brand of Islamic fundamentalism in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
"I don't insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam. What I want to say is: Don't allow this dynamic and effective reality in today's world to be introduced to you through resentments and prejudices. Don't allow them to hypocritically introduce their own recruited terrorists as representatives of Islam."
That last line is a staple of Iranian government statements: that the fighters of the Islamic State fighting the Syrian government, an ally of Iran, were first recruited by the United States.
What's fascinating is the attempt by a religious fundamentalist to use Twitter and the internet, (tightly controlled within Iran) to bypass Western news organizations to get his message across outside of Iran. He praises historians and scholars critical of U.S. foreign policy and denounces Western efforts to put Islam " in the seat of a horrifying enemy. "
Esfandyar Batmanghelidj argues the Iranian leader's argument is "esoteric" because he is a religious scholar as well as a head of state. But I found Khameini's online letter, complete with the cheesy Evite-style graphics, to be a less of a theological sermon than a political appeal to people he regards as potential constituents.
Read it here.