Thursday, July 19, 2007

Iran's Jews spurn cash lure to emigrate to Israel - Guardian UK

In the face of so many invaders and occupiers we Iranians have been able to separate their various faiths and beliefs from their Iranian heritage. This Iranian heritage is so strong that it has kept a diverse country such as Iran for thousands of years. Whether Turk or Armenian, Baloch or Arab, Jew or Christian, Muslim or Zoroastrian, we are Iranian and we were the first true multi-cultural country. This I am truly proud of. I congratulate the leaders of the Jewish communities in Iran for standing with their country. We will succeed, hand-in-hand, to free our country and make it great once again.

Marg Bar Jumhurieh Eslaamee!


Iran's Jews have given the country a loyalty pledge in the face of cash offers aimed at encouraging them to move to Israel, the arch-enemy of its Islamic rulers.

The incentives - ranging from £5,000 a person to £30,000 for families - were offered from a special fund established by wealthy expatriate Jews in an effort to prompt a mass migration to Israel among Iran's 25,000-strong Jewish community. The offers were made with Israel's official blessing and were additional to the usual state packages it provides to Jews emigrating from the diaspora.

However, the Society of Iranian Jews dismissed them as "immature political enticements" and said their national identity was not for sale.

"The identity of Iranian Jews is not tradable for any amount of money," the society said in a statement. "Iranian Jews are among the most ancient Iranians. Iran's Jews love their Iranian identity and their culture, so threats and this immature political enticement will not achieve their aim of wiping out the identity of Iranian Jews."

The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported that the incentives had been doubled after offers of £2,500 a head failed to attract any Iranian Jews to leave for Israel.

Iran's sole Jewish MP, Morris Motamed, said the offers were insulting and put the country's Jews under pressure to prove their loyalty. "It suggests the Iranian Jew can be encouraged to emigrate by money," he said. "Iran's Jews have always been free to emigrate and three-quarters of them did so after the revolution but 70% of those went to America, not Israel."

Iran's Jewish population has dwindled from about 80,000 at the time of the 1979 Islamic revolution but remains the largest of any country in the Middle East apart from Israel. Jews have lived in Iran since at least 700BC.

Hostility between Iran's government and Israel means Iranian Jews are often subject to official mistrust and scrutiny.

Original Article

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tomb of Firuzan (Abu-lolo) in Kashan to be Destroyed


The tomb of Firuzan commonly known as Emāmādeh Abu-lolo (or Abu Lulu) in Kashahn, Isfahan province is being locked to visitors, it is announced there is a plan the shrine to be destroyed by the order of the Islamic Regime.

A large crowd of Iranians however, have gathered outside the governor's office on Tuesday, June 26th, to voice their objection regarding the closure and possible destruction of the Iranian heritage, and a shrine which was one of the symbols of Iranian resistance against the Arab invaders in 7th century CE, and to some, a Shia and a revered Sufi.

Umar al-Khattab, the second Moslem Caliph was put to death by Firuzan in 645 CE. It is said that Firuzan was a POW captured after the fall of Ctesiphon in what is today known as Iraq, and sold as a slave. A parvenu Arab leader called Mughira ibn Shu’ba bought him and took him to Medina in Arabia for slavery work.

Most probably Firuzan was a Zoroastrian (by some accounts he was a priest), as the majority of Iranian were at the time of Arab occupation of Iran in 7th century.

“His [Firuzan] action was in response to atrocities that were committed by Arab-Muslim invaders in Iran, which resulted in massacre, rape, looting of our country – we Iranians never forgot nor forgive their crimes against us”, said one of the protestors.

Some Arab, as well as committed Muslim historians, in order to undermine Firuzan’s bravery and heroism have claimed (ultimately all derived from Ibn Shihab account) that he murdered Umar after an argument over the tax levy.

During the Safavid era and the rise of Shia Islam to power, the dynasty named him Bābā Shojā ul-Din (the one who is brave in the cause of religion) and claimed that he was a devout Shia and a martyr.

Another angry protester said: "they say he is not buried here - or some say he wasn't Muslim at all - so what? - as far as we concern this edifice represents him, our faith and resistance against the uncivilised invaders" - and another one added: "if Abu Lolo was an Arab, they would have erect a golden dome on top of his shrine, rather than destroying it - but no, no - they destroy his shrine, just because he was an Iranian - a noble Iranian - this is an insult to Iranian nation".

Mohammad Salim Al'awa, the Secretary-General of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), who believes God have "created women for pregnancy and childbirth" purposes speaking to Al-Arabiat New-agency said: "the request for its destruction was delivered to Iran by a group of Arab representatives a few months ago, after the Doha assembly at the beginning of the year. At the assembly a large number of Sunni scholars asked Iran for the total destruction of the tomb".

"Imagine the Germans asking Britain to destroy the graves of the brains behind the British plan to kill Hitler [Operation Foxley] during WWII, sine it is considered an insult to Protestants - would the British accept that? - the murder of Omar by Firuz[an] wasn't to do with religion, it was simply removing a despot and a tyrant from the face of the earth - as the British wanted to do the same with Hitler", said N. one of the protestors outside the governor's office in Kashan.

Firuzan mausoleum located on the road from Kashan to Fins, constructed in an eleventh century distinctive Persian-Khwarezmian dynastic architectural style, consisted of a courtyard, porch and conical dome decorated with turquoise coloured tiles, and painted ceilings. The Original date of it's construction is unknown, but in second-half of fourteen century it was fully restored and a new tombstone was placed over his grave.