The Shi’ite tradition of religious discrimination

Dr Andrew Bostom in The American Thinker explains that the idea of a separate dress code for Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians has its roots in the Shi’ite concept that non-Muslims are unclean or najis – a concept dating back to the 16th century.

The Iranian Majlis or Parliament has reportedly passed (now disputed) a law requiring that, “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.” An outraged Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Weisenthal Institute immediately responded to the provisions for Jews: “This is reminiscent of the Holocaust…Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.”Such a comparison sprang to the minds of many. But Rabbi Hier’s statement and this general view ignore the immediate context—most glaringly, the simultaneous dress badge requirements for Christians and Zoroastrians living in Iran—and more importantly, the sad historical legacy of Shi’ite religious persecution of all non-Muslims which dates back to the founding of the Shi’ite theocracy in (then) Persia, under Shah Ismail at the very outset of the 16th century.A reflexive invocation of the Nazi era is ahistorical, and symptomatic of a general failure to appreciate either Judenhass or much broader anti-“infidel” (i.e., in this case anti-Christian and anti-Zoroastrian) motifs to orthodox Islamic doctrine and practice—both Sunni and Shi’ite. The Iranian Parliament’s legislation reflects the profound influence of najis—a unique Shi’ite institution—not Nazism.

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