Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad

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Ayatollah Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad is an Iranian Shia cleric, and reformist who has been called "a leading instructor" in Iran's major seminary city of Qom.[1] He gained some prominence in English-language news sources after he was reported by "reformist Web sites"[2] to have "sought to rally other clerics to oppose the use of moharebeh charges against political protesters," following the conviction and death sentence of Mohammad Amin Valian, a student who threw rocks at a 2009 election demonstration.[1]

According to his web site he received his traditional Islamic education in Arabic language and literature, Qur’an and hadith, Islamic philosophy, theology and jurisprudence at the Fayzieh School at Qom and achieved the status of Mujtahid (Ayatollah) in 1970. In addition he "pursued a modern academic education", receiving a B.A. in Islamic Philosophy (1969) and an M.A. in Islamic Jurisprudence (1980) from Tehran University. Following that he earned a Ph.D. in Law (Doctorat en Droit) at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium in 1996. As of 2007 he was a professor in Faculty of Law at Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, and has been a fellow member of The Iranian Academy of Science since 1988. [3] He reportedly has held such posts in Iran as Chief of the State Inspectorate Organization, head of the Department of Islamic Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Iran, head of Commission of Judicial Bill Collection of Iran, and head of Commission of Compiling Judicial Acts.[4]

At a September 2005 speech in the United States written up by an Iranian American doctor, he gave his opinions that there are no irreconcilable differences between the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Islamic jurisprudence, that no compulsion is permissible in religion, that apostasy should be punished only if it involves undertaking actions to destabilize the social order, and that "nothing should be forced on the people by the government, not even daily prayers."[4]

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