Thursday, April 17, 2008

Seven synagogues torched in Tehran

Seven ancient synagogues in the Iranian capital, Tehran, have been destroyed by local authorities.

The synagogues were in the Oudlajan suburb of Tehran, where many Iranian Jews used to live.

"These buildings, which were part of our cultural, artistic and architectural heritage were burnt to the ground," said Ahmad Mohit Tabatabaii, the director of the International Council of Museums’ (ICOM) office in Tehran.

"With the excuse of renovating this ancient quarter, they are erasing a part of our history," said Tabatabaii.
That's from Adnkronos International, via Solomonia. I noted in January a similar effort to destroy historical buildings in Old Damascus.

* Update: In a comment below, Sam Kermanian of the Iranian American Jewish Federation says the synagogues were razed but not torched:
The synagogues in question were in the old Jewish ghetto which has long been evacuated by the community and the synagogues themselves were deserted for decades and essentially decayed. Although they are part of Jewish History, the truth is that none were of cultural, historical or archituctral significance.

1 comment:

Sam Kermanian said...

Thanks to everyone for their tremendous support and interest in my community. In the interest of accuracy I have to inform your readers that no synagogues were "Torched". They are however being (or have been raised as part of city planning for that area). The synagogues in question were in the old Jewish ghetto which has long been evacuated by the community and the synagogues themselves were deserted for decades and essentially decayed. Although they are part of Jewish History, the truth is that none were of cultural, historical or archituctral significance. They were mostly a single or double room storefronts serving an extremely impoverished community which has not been there for close to four decades. Considering that the original reporting came from a Moslem person, rather than the leaders or activists of the community itself, the story appears to have its roots more in the internal conflicts of the various political factions of the Islamic Republic and less within the Jewish ommunity. Tehran's current Mayor is rumored to be a candidate in next year's presidential race against president Ahmadinejad, and his opponets will presumably do what they can to discredit him. Fortunately the Jewish Community has wisely ensured that its response to the issue is not such that it can be misused.
Sam Kermanian
Secretary General
Iranian American Jewish Federation