Iran eyes badges for Jews





EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS STORY HAS BEEN RETRACTED BY THE NATIONAL POST.

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that 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.

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.

A spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa refused to comment on the measures. "This is nothing to do with anything here," said a press secretary who identified himself as Mr. Gharmani.

"We are not here to answer such questions."

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has written to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, protesting the Iranian law and calling on the international community to bring pressure on Iran to drop the measure.

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    Robert Pierce Forbes - 5/20/2006

    From what I have read, there is no truth to this report. It looks like a plant in a conservative newspaper designed to whip up international anger in support of a preemptive attack on Iran.

    This time around, let's just skip this war, shall we?


    Robert Pierce Forbes - 5/20/2006

    From what I have read, there is no truth to this report. It looks like a plant in a conservative newspaper designed to whip up international anger in support of a preemptive attack on Iran.

    This time around, let's just skip this war, shall we?


    Brian Catlos - 5/20/2006

    However offensive one might find this idea it has nothing to do with Iran "moving closer to the ideology of the Nazis." Traditionally Islamic law has called for dhimmis (minorities living under Muslim rule) to be distinguished by special clothing. The Taliban required the Afghan Hindu minority to wear distinctive yellow badges. The point is to avoid accidental of breaching the social boundaries which are meant to separate members of different faiths, esp. the sexual boudnaries, and to make it clear which code of "personal" (i.e. religious) law applied to any given person. Such rules are not uncommon in plural societies. Similar laws were also instituted in the Latin West during the Middle Ages notably in 1215. At the Fourth Lateran Council, Pope Innocent III called for such laws to be put in place to mark off the Jewish and "pagan" (incl. Muslim) populations living in Christian lands. The rationale provided was that without such visible markings Christian women might unwittingly have sex with non-Christian men. The precedent which the canon lawyers cited was, in fact, Mosaic Law.
    Most tellingly, as the article points out, the Iran govt. is also to require Muslims to wear a standard dress, so this is not about singling out any minority but rather about enforcing boundary markers across the board. No doubt many Iranian Muslims, not to mention Christians and Zorastrians will also be concerned by this news. As such, the headline was misleading as it insinuated that this was a measure aimed at a single minority group. In any event, the Nazi comparison is innappropriate.


    Les AuCoin - 5/19/2006

    Now this. And here at home a new Wall, and a government that knows more about us than we know about it. A shadow of deep foreboding is falling over persons of good will everywehre.

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