In San Jose, California, recent audio revealed that an Iranian Imam promoted a pro-Islamic Republic propaganda song, “Hello Commander.”
According to Iranian activists, the propaganda song comes from the Iranian regime, praising Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Chief Qasem Soleimani.
In the audio post on Twitter, California Imam Shaykh Salim Yusufali stated that the song “Hello Commander” gained “popularity” all around Iran when it was first released. He further explains that people throughout distinct parts of Iran reenact this song, praising it as a message that is not limited to one ethnicity or country but is “universal.” He then mentions its translations into numerous languages, including English, Arabic, and Pashto.
Yufalui tells his audience that the song’s message “clicks with the heart of the people, given its powerful message of truth.” Towards the end of the video, the Imam states that this song is a “message of hope” to families and individuals suffering.
According to information provided by Navid Mohebbi, a policy fellow at the Washington-based National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI), Shaykh Salim Yusufali, an American-born Imam, is part of the Shia Association of the Bay Area in California, an organization of American Shia Muslims.
According to Mohebbi, Yusufali, completed his BS and MS in computer science from Stanford University and then worked his way as a software engineer in Silicon Valley to an engineering manager. In 2004, he left his job and moved to the clerical Iranian city of Qom to study in the Hawzah, completing his MA degree in 2014. From 2014 to 2019 he was a spiritual guide to a private full-time Islamic school in Ontario, Canada.
The latest news in California coincides with a similar situation in an Islamic Education Center in Houston, Texas, which organized a group recitation of children aged 4 to 14 for a song celebrating the former and current Supreme Leader.
In Houston, Texas, an Islamic Education Center announced an event for families to join to promote the regime’s ideology. According to the flier, the event is called “Salam Farmande” and calls for young boys and girls ages 4-14 to attend, along with their families.
The flier also asks that boys wear a white shirt and black pants, and girls wear a white scarf and black chador. The message at the bottom of the brochure requests the community to join the event and “express love” for Imam Khomeini and Khamenei through song.
In the actual recital video on YouTube by Houston Azadari Official, young boys, girls, and parents are wearing red bandanas and waving pro-Islamic Republic flags, raising their hands as soldiers of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, vowing to become martyrs for the Ayatollahs and Islam. On social media, many Iranian activists, human rights groups, and ordinary individuals reacted with disgust and outrage from the video, calling on the FBI and Justice Department to investigate such activities.
Before and during the rise of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Shia-based mosques played a critical role in allowing the Ayatollahs to take control of Iran and expand the Revolution to other parts of the globe. Many of the Mosques in the Iranian city of Qom and other parts of the country stored caches of weapons, intelligence, rallies, and meetings between the Ayatollahs and their followers. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the regime has created a strong mosque network throughout the Middle East in places like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and South American countries like Colombia, Argentina, and others.
Over the years, the regime in Iran has also tried to grow its influence in Islamic education centers, mosques, and lobbying organizations in Europe and America. Currently, the Biden administration and its team are trying to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, providing the regime with numerous economic concessions in exchange for the Islamic Republic to use its nuclear program for civilian use and reduce its terrorist activities in the region.