New Jewish centre is no substitute for rights

The Armenians already have one: now it’s the turn of the Jews. Iran is building a Jewish cultural and sports centre to show how well it treats its minorities. (No doubt the Baha’iscan’t wait for theirs). Perhaps someone should point out to president Ahmadinejad that there is more to minority rights than a showpiece in concrete and glass.

Ynet News reports:

Iran started building a huge new cultural and sports complex for its Jewish minority in central Tehran Sunday, billing the project as proof of the freedoms enjoyed by its religious minorities.

Housing and urban development minister Mohammad Saidi-Kia broke the ground for the new building alongside Morris Motamed, the representative of Iran’s Jewish community in parliament, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The total cost for the project is 30 billion riyals ($3.2 million) and the building will extend for 6,800 square meters (73,194 square feet), around half of which will be devoted to sport, and half to cultural activities, Motamed said.

It is expected to be finished in two-and-a-half years.

(…) Iranian officials vehemently deny charges of anti-Semitism, saying the Jewish minority is well treated, and the president’s attacks are only against Israel – which the Islamic republic has always refused to recognize. The officially-recognized religious minorities in Iran are Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, all of whom are represented in parliament. The Armenians – by far the largest Christian community – already have a well-established sports and cultural center in the north of Tehran.

However, Iran considers Bahais, who advocate the unity of all religions, to be apostate, and the sect has none of the rights enjoyed by the other minorities.

The UN General Assembly in December denounced what it said was “increasing discrimination” against minorities, but Iran has always insisted all its recognized religious communities enjoy full rights.

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Comment: just another publicity stunt, by Karmel Melamed

One Comment

  • This is interesting. I see it clearly as a PR move, as I doubt very seriously that the iranians are concerned about their Jewish citizens.


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