Friday, May 19, 2006

Yellow Badges for Jews, Red Badges for Christians...

[ New UPDATE: When I left town on Friday, no one was yet disputing the story, and I return to find it largely discredited, with one exception. Middle East expert, Amir Taheri's article which gives some detail on this issue, was published on Saturday, after the claims that it was incorrect had already circulated.

Hopefully, final clarification as to whether Taheri's claims are correct or not will occur during the week. At which point, I'll update more definitively. ]

Iran eyes badges for Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, so that Muslims can avoid them at sight and stay away.
The new law was drafted two years ago, but was stuck in the Iranian parliament until recently when it was revived at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

You can't say Ahmadinejad doesn't say what he means or stand proudly committed to what he believes in.

UPDATE: Michael Rubin at NRO has more:

The Iranian people are far more tolerant than their leadership, but it is unfortunate that Ahmadinejad could cite ample precedent if he so desired: The Nazi practice of forcing Jews to wear a yellow star had its origins in what is now Iran and Iraq when a ninth century caliph forced his Jewish subjects to wear yellow patches. From time to time, subsequent rulers revived the practice. Shiite clerics long deemed any food touched by Jews to be unclean. While blood libel only took root in Iranian society after the sixteenth-century arrival of European ambassadors, as Iranian society wrestled with modernity, violent anti-Semitism grew. Pogroms wiped out the Jewish community in some towns and villages in Iranian Azerbaijan in the mid-nineteenth century, and serious pogroms also swept through Mashhad, a Shiite shrine city in northeastern Iran in which the current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was born and raised. It was also in Mashhad that, despite the oft-cited mantra that there is no compulsion in Islam, Shiite clerics forcibly converted the remaining Jews to Islam under threat of death....

With regard to the Christians, there have been many periods of oppression. Iranian governments sometimes looked at the Armenian Christian community as a fifth column and, in recent years, vigilante groups have assassinated evangelical Christians-there is some mention of this in recent State Department human rights reports. The Baha'i community is perhaps the most vulnerable and, of course, while there are functioning churches and synagogues in Tehran and Isfahan, the ruling authorities will not tolerate Sunni mosques in Tehran, a city of perhaps 14 million people.


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