Iran To Require Religious Minorities to Wear “Special Insignia”

Iran To Require Religious Minorities to Wear “Special Insignia”

This is very disturbing news. As reported here, “the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical “standard Islamic garments.” The law, which must still be approved by Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims. 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.” (HT: Mirror of Justice) Sound familiar?

What is the purpose of the law? According to the Jerusalem Post, it “is to prevent Muslims from becoming najis ‘unclean’ by accidentally shaking the hands of non-Muslims in public.”

In addition, all Iranians must wear “standard Islamic garments” to establish “visual equality” for Iranians as they prepare for the return of the Hidden Imam.

This is cause for serious concern. I have heard first-hand reports of the persecution and death of Christians in Iran. Special insignia opens the door for widespread discrimination and persecution of religious minorities.

UPDATE: The text of the Iranian law is available in Farsi here. The English translation is here. I do not see a reference to any provision in the law that concerns special insignia for religious minorities. As discussed in the comments, there are growing doubts that the Canadian National Post story is correct. The National Post now appears to be backtracking from the original story.

UPDATE: The National Post has now apologized for the story. As reported here, Douglas Kelly, the editor-in-chief, stated that “It is now clear the story is not true. We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story.”

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Vlad Perju

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has just published this letter written to Secretary General Kofi Annan about the Iranian law. “Now is the time for the United Nations and the international community to launch an immediate investigation, to seek clarification from the Iranians themselves on whether or not the new “National Uniform Law” would single out non-Moslems and require them to wear a color-coded identification patch.”

Patrick S. O'Donnell
Patrick S. O'Donnell

According to Helena Cobban at ‘Just World News:’ Yellow Stars for Iranian Jews? The Disinfo Campaign Back in May the US Congress, in its cravenly Israelocentric way, voted huge gobs of money to go into the destabilization of Iran under the so-called “Iran Freedom Support Act”. (Which follows the same strategy the neo-cons used back at the beginning of their project to “con” Americans into invading Iraq. Anyone remember that?) But how on earth is the administration going to spend all this new IFSA money? I am sure that the people tasked to do this– who include several longtime neocons from the Pentagon’s infamous former Office of Special Plans– will have lots of “plans” for how to go about it. But one of them may well be to do all kinds of disinformation about the Iranian regime… Including getting their old pal Amir Taheri to pen an op-ed in Canada’s National Post which claims that last Monday, the Iranian parliament passed a law that, envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public… Religious minorities would have their own colour schemes. They will also… Read more »

Patrick S. O'Donnell
Patrick S. O'Donnell

Roger,

When you click on the link for the article it now states that it is ‘no longer available.’ Do you know why?

Vlad Perju

Patrick,

No I don’t know, although the latest Google news search reveals over 75 articles on the topic. A couple of these articles, see here and here, are casting doubt on, or are seeking confirmation of the accuracy of the original story.

hass
hass

THIS STORY NOT TRUE!

Iran: Lawmakers Debate Women’s Clothing

Associated Press May 20, 2006

… Emad Afroogh, the legislator who sponsored the bill and is chairman of Parliament’s Cultural Committee, said that the Canadian report was untrue and that the measure sought only to make women dress more conservatively and avoid Western fashions. Another lawmaker, Morris Motamed, a Jew, also said the Canadian report was false.

Patrick S. O'Donnell
Patrick S. O'Donnell

See too Juan Cole’s post, part of which I reproduce here: http://www.juancole.com/ Another Fraud on Iran: No Legislation on Dress of Religious Minorities Maurice Motamed, the representative of the Iranian Jewish community in Iran’s parliament, has strongly denied the rumors started by Canada’s National Post that the Iranian legislature has passed a law requiring members of religious communities to wear identifying badges. The report was also denied on Montreal radio by Meir Javedanfar, Middle East Analyst and the Director for the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Company. The National Post is owned by Conrad Black and is not a repository of expertise about Iran. it is typical of black psychological operations campaigns that they begin with a plant in an obscure newspaper that is then picked up by the mainstream press. Once the Jerusalem Post picks it up, then reporters can source it there, even though the Post has done no original reporting and has just depended on the National Post article, which is extremely vague in its own sourcing (to “human rights groups”). The actual legislation passed by the Iranian parliament regulates women’s fashion, and urges the establishment of a national fashion house that would make Islamically appropriate… Read more »

Vlad Perju

There are several reports this morning that identify Iranian government sources denying that the new uniform law includes any provision for special insignia for religious minorities. See a denial by the Iranian Embassy in Canada here and here and a detailed denial by the only Jewish member of the Iranian parliament here and here.

Patrick S. O'Donnell
Patrick S. O'Donnell

Good, thanks…now I can return to my blogging commentary hiatus, having broken my vow to take a break in reliance on an ad hoc (i.e., informal) ‘necessity defense.’

dancewater
dancewater

This is a total bunch of nonsense, and only fools who believed in the imaginary WMDS in Iraq would believe this.

Liberalhawk
Liberalhawk

naturally Cole has jumped all over this.

Of course his take on the Ahmadinajad quote has already been debunked. Native Farsi speakers say that A. used a Farsi idion that is similar in connotation to wiped off the map, and that the reference to the occupation regime was clearly to Israel in general.

I also know some Iranian Jews. AFAICT they all despise the regime, and their contacts in Iran do as well.

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