BriarThorne-arguing Iran was a "great place" for decades under the Shah is a completely a-historical, obviously false statement; the "Shah" (who wasn't even part of the line of hereditary rulers of Iran, but a jumped-up junior military officer whom the former British regents took a shine to) was a military dictator, who carried out summary arrests and executions of journalists, dissidents, political opponents, and the like, his secret police kidnapped and tortured people, and he brooked no challenge to his rule (see also: every other damn secular tyrant in the region); he was in place because MI-6 and the CIA overthrew an actual democratically elected leader, Mosedeq, supposedly for being a proto-socialist and nationalizing the nation's oil industry (I am utterly opposed to the stupidity of authoritarian socialism/communism, btw), which prior was controlled by the UK. While the Shah wasn't an utter psychopath like Saddam Hussein or Cuba's Batista (another US-backed tyrant/mass murderer), the people were massively oppressed and abused under his rule.
But of course, the fundamentalist terror-regime which followed is far worse, hellish for non-believers, gay people, even modern/secular Muslims; so why did the overthrow result in an even more heinous government with less freedom (just as in Cuba, to carry forth the analogy); because the ayatollahs were a minority, but they were organized, motivated, their members indoctrinated to the point of fanaticism, all traits shared with Nazis/Fascists in post WW I Europe and the Marxists in 3rd World countries. Far too many of the nations suffering horribly under Marxist/communism or Islamic Fundamentalist rule COULD have potentially been prevented if the West (mostly the USA and UK) hadn't been so invested in the "domino theory" that we were willing to prop up brutal dictators so long as they were anti-Communist (or sometimes just friendly to economic interests). This worsened under EVERY U.S. administration until the collapse of the USSR. This does NOT put the horrific sins of theocrats or communists upon our hands, but our foreign policy born out of fear rather than optimism led to predictably poor results.
As far as President Carter "backing" Khomeni...no, actually, it was a combination of naivety and badly executed policy:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/mad ... fae3285611
You ARE correct in stating secularism is a viable alternative, perhaps the ONLY viable one, so long as it is a constitutional, democratic type; this is what helped both Turkey and Pakistan avoid fundamentalism for decades, though neither nation was ideal in this regard-often, the military often had to intervene and depose leaders who started veering into fundamentalism, and sharia law was tolerated in rural, tribal areas.
I oppose ANY theocratic government, as well as all kinds of religious fundamentalism; Islam presents a threat in much of the world because far too many of its adherents cleave literally to its medieval principles, taking the faith far too seriously, and because of the pernicious notion others must confirm to THEIR religion (leading to terrorism and sharia law demands). But I've studied, worked with, and lived alongside Muslims, and had no issues with any of them. Hence my objections to blanket statements about entire groups of people. I have no problem condemning jihadists whatsoever.
Finally, while I'm not the owner or moderator here, I'd like to ask everybody to please be civil to one another; is it necessary to start slinging accusations and insults at each other instead of just keeping comments polite or even just suggesting we all step away from the keyboards for awhile? This is getting really close to the point of fracturing us here, just as a hot button issue broke the community before. I don't anyone here deserves to be called a fascist, "filth", or similar epithets.
So all my best to everyone-really.