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The Ayatollahs' Final Solution? (Continued II) By: Andrew G. Bostom
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, July 05, 2004


End Notes:

1.http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60F1EFD3D5B0C7B8CDDAC0894DB404482, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/13/magazine/13NUKES.html, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/17/international/middleeast/17nuke.html

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/N/NUCLEAR_AGENCY_IRAN?SITE=DCTMS&SECTION=HOME 

2 Gary Sick, "US can exploit peaceful Iran revolution," Newsday, June 11, 1997.

 

3 Michael Rubin, “Iran's Burgeoning WMD Programs”, Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Volume 4, Number 3, March-April 2002, http://www.meib.org/articles/0203_irn1.htm

 

4 http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20040615-090331-4428r.htm

 

5 Linzner, Dafna. Iran Says It Will Renew Nuclear Efforts, The Washington Post, June 25, 2004
"All Iran would have to do now is put uranium into the centrifuges, and then they can start producing a key ingredient for nuclear weapons," said David Albright, a former nuclear inspector; Dareini, Ali Akbar.
Tehran to Resume Building Centrifuges, The Washington Times, June 28, 2004,  http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20040628-011810-5168r.htm

The White House called Iran's decision further proof that it was trying to build an atomic bomb.”

 

6 “Fomer Iranian President Rafsanjani on Using a Nuclear Bomb Against Israel”, Middle East Media Research Bulletin, January 3, 2002 http://www.memri.de/uebersetzungen_analysen/laender/iran/iran_nuclear_03_01_02.pdf

 

7 Minorsky, V. Tadhkirat al-Muluk. A Manual of Safavid Administration, 1725, Facsimile with Translation and Commentary, London, 1943; Fischel, Walter. “The Jews in Medieval Iran from the 16th to the 18th centuries: Political, Economic, and Communal aspects”,  Irano-Judaica, Jerusalem, 1982, p. 266.;  Al-Amili (d. 1622), Jami i Abbasi; discussed in Browne, E.G.,  A Literary History of Persia, vol. IV, Cambridge, 1930, p. 407; Al-Majlisi (d. 1699), The Treatise Lightning Bolts Against the Jews. Translated by V.B. Moreen, in: Die Welt des Islams, Vol. 32, 1992, pp. 187-193. Also, see Appendix I, the section entitled, “Restrictions of the Safavid Period”.

 

8 i.e., the combined Safavid (1502-1722) and Qajar (1795-1925) periods comprised 350 years of Shi’ite theocracy, interrupted by Sunni Afghan rule from 1722-1795, most notably under Nadir Shah, 1734-1747.

 

9 Browne, E.G.,  A Literary History of Persia, p. 371.

 

10 Fischel, W. F. “The Jews in Medieval Iran”, p. 266.

 

11 Pires, Tome. Suma Oriental (1512-1515) Haklyut Society Publications, Vol. I (London, 1944), p. 27.

 

12 du Mans, Raphael. Estat de la Perse, 1660, ed. Schefer (Paris, 1890), pp. 193-194; cited in, Fischel, W.J. “The Jews in Medieval Iran”, p. 266.

 

13 Chew, Samuel C. The Crescent and the Rose, Oxford University Press, 1937, p. 211.

 

14 Fischel, W. F. “The Jews in Medieval Iran”, p. 275.; Fischel, W.F. “Isfahan- The Story of a Jewish Community in Persia”, The Joshua Starr Memorial Volume, Jewish Social Studies, Publication No. 5, 1953, pp. 122-123. Fischel elaborates:

 

“One of the most dangerous measures which threatened the very existence of the Jewish community in Isfahan and elsewhere was the so-called ‘law of apostasy’ promulgated at the end of Abbas I’s rule and renewed in the reign of Abbas II. According to this law, any Jew or Christian becoming a Muslim could claim the property of his relatives, however distant. This decree, making the transfer of goods and property a reward for those who became apostates from their former religion, became a great threat to the very survival of the Jews. While the Christian population in Isfahan protested, through the intervention of the Pope, and the Christian powers in Europe, against the injustice of this edict, there did not arise a defender of the rights of Jews in Persia. [emphasis added] Although the calamity which this law implied was lessened by the small number of Jewish apostates who made use of this inducement, it was a steady threat to the existence of Jewish community life and brought about untold hardship. It was only in the 19th century that leaders of European Jewry such as Sir Moses Montefiore and Adolph Cremieux took up the fight  for their brethren in Persia against this discriminatory law. Apart from this legal discrimination, the Jews of Isfahan were particularly singled out for persecution and forced conversion in the seventeenth century. It is reported that they were forced to profess Islam publicly; that many of their rabbis were executed, and that only under Shah Safi (1629-1642), the successor of Abbas I, were the Jews of Isfahan, after seven years of Marrano life, permitted to return publicly to their Jewish religion…”[emphasis added]

 

15 Fischel omits an earlier more apposite Muslim equivalent (and possible learned prototype) of the persecutions in late 15th century Spain, i.e., the Muslim Almohad persecutions in both Spain and North Africa, of the mid to late 12th century. Professor H.Z. Hirschberg (in The Jews of North Africa, Leiden, Vol. 1, 1974, pp. 127-128) includes this summary of a contemporary account from January 1148 C.E.:

 

“Abd al-Mumin…the leader of the Almohads after the death of Muhammad ibn Tumart the Mahdi [note: ibn Tumart was a cleric whose writings bear a striking resemblance to Khomeini’s rhetoric eight centuries later] …captured Tlemcen [in the Maghreb] and killed all those who were in it, including the Jews, except those who embraced Islam…[In Sijilmasa] One hundred and fifty persons were killed for clinging to their [Jewish] faith…All the cities in the Almoravid [dynastic rulers of North Africa and Spain prior to the Almohads] state were conquered by the Almohads. One hundred thousand persons were killed in Fez on that occasion, and 120,000 in Marrakesh. The Jews in all [Maghreb] localities [conquered]…groaned under the heavy yoke of the Almohads; many had been killed, many others converted; none were able to appear in public as Jews [emphasis added]…Large areas between Seville and Tortosa [in Spain] had likewise [emphasis added] fallen into Almohad hands.”

 

16 i.e., contemporary chronicles and eyewitness accounts, both Christian (Armenian, Jesuit, and Carmelite) and Jewish (the Kitab i Anusi: The Book of Events of the Forced Conversions of Persian Jewry to Islam). For example, the Armenian chronicler Arakel of Tabriz, included a chapter entitled, “History of the Hebrews of the City of Isfahan and of all Hebrews in the Territory of the Kings of Persia-the Case of Their Conversion to Islam”. Arakel describes the escalating brutality employed to convert the hapless Jewish population to Islam- deportation, deliberately harsh exposure to the elements, starvation, imprisonment, and beatings. According to his account [English translation from Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, Cranbury, NJ, 1996, pp. 372-373.], the forced conversion of a rabbi marked a turning point in this ugly sequence of events:

 

“…after many words and promises, the Hakham’s [rabbi’s] sentence was pronounced. ‘If he does not embrace the Muslim faith, his stomach will be split open and he will be paraded through the town attached to a camel *; his property and his family would be consigned to pillage’. The sentence given, a camel was brought, on which he was seated, the executioners came and bared his stomach, then they beat him with a naked sword, saying that either he apostasized or his stomach would be split open. Fear of death as well as affection for those close to him having lead him to weaken, he was made to pronounce his belief in the Muslim faith, and he was incorporated into the religion of Muhammad, which was cause of untold joy to the [Muslim] Persians…Those [Jews following their rabbi’s forced conversion] who resisted were kept in prison; then they were brought back to the tribunal two or three times, even more often, and were urged to apostasize. By these actions, all the prisoners were lead to the religion of Muhammad; in the space of a month, three hundred and fifty men became Muslims. Ever since then, half the Jews having adopted the religion of the Persians, their nation lost what the Persians gained by their ascendancy over them: they were not even allowed to exist any longer, for every day they were dragged by force before the ehtim al-dawla [ranking Muslim official] and there they were forced to become Persians. The Persians put so much determination into their violence, aimed at conversion, that all Jews living in Isfahan…about three hundred families, adopted the religion of Muhammad.”

           

[*this threat is confirmed in an independent account from the Kitab-i-Anusi [excerpts translated by V.B. Moreen, Iranian Jewry’s Hour of Peril and Heroism- A Study of Babai Ibn Luft’s Chronicle (1617-1662), New York-Jerusalem, 1987, p. 188]

 

From A Chronicle of the Carmelites in Persia and the Papal Mission of the 17th and 18th Centuries (London, 1939), pp. 364-366, we learn:

           

“The Jews have been forced to become Muhammadans, and in order to ‘purify’ the city of Isfahan they are obliging all the Armenians who were near the city to go and live outside…” [February 24, 1657]

 

“I cannot say all, but shall only tell you that the King of Persia has thrown off the mask, and let the venom he has in his heart be seen. He has ordered that all the Jews in his realm should become Muslims, to the number of 100,000.” [May 12, 1657]

 

“Everything is done by one of his (Abbas II’s) ministers called Itimad-ud-Dauleh, who is very hostile to Catholics and Christians, whom he expelled from Isfahan. Armenians in Julfa and the Hebrews he has forced to become Muslims, and many of the Armenians at the present day are becoming Muslims, especially the sons, in order to inherit their father’s property; because they have made an accursed law, by which all Christians who become Muslims inherit everything.” [August 20, 1660]

 

Finally, Fischel (“The Jews in Medieval Iran”, pp. 279-280.) summarizes the contents of the important eyewitness Jewish chronicles, the Kitab i Anusi, which,  

 

“…describe in great detail how the Jews were compelled to abandon their religion, how they were drawn out of their quarters on Friday evening into the hills around the city and, after torture, 350 Jews are said to have been forced to [convert] to Islam. Their synagogues were closed and the Jews were lead to the Mosque, where they had to proclaim publicly the Muslim confession of faith, after which a Mullah, a Shi’a religious leader, instructed the newly-converted Muslims in the Qur’an and Islamic tradition and practice. These newly-converted Muslims had to break with the Jewish past, to allow their daughters to be married to Muslims, and to have their new Muslim names registered in a special Divan [council]. To test publicly their complete break with the Jewish tradition, some were even forced to eat a portion of camel meat boiled in milk. After their forced conversion, they were called New Muslims, Jadid al-Islam. They were then, of course, freed from the payment of the poll tax and from wearing a special headgear or badge.”

           

17 Fischel, W.F. “Isfahan”, p. 14.

 

18Al-Majlisi (d. 1699), Lightning Bolts Against the Jews.

 

“So if they observe the conditions of the jizya  and live in baseness and abjectness among Muslims, bias and obstinacy will not prevent them from accepting the true religion, and they will soon accept Qur’an…Some say that they [the dhimmis] should not be informed of the amount of the jizya so that they should live continuously, in the course of the year, in a state of anxiety and agitation. [They say that] at the time of paying the jizya they should stand on the ground in front of him who takes the jizya.  [The official] should say to him: “Count it!”  And he [the payer] should count the money until the Muslims speak up and say that it is enough.  And some [also] say that he should lower his head while handing it over, and that he who takes the jizya should pull his beard and slap his face at the time of praying. 

 

19Al-Majlisi (d. 1699), Lightning Bolts Against the Jews.

 

“First, that they should not openly publicize those things which are prohibited by the shari a but are permitted to them and there is not harm from them to the Muslims such as wine, eating pork, contracting marriages with close family members, etc.; second, that they should not erect churches, temples or places of fire worship in the lands of Islam, but if they [already] have some, and these are in need of repair, they may repair them.  If they are ruined entirely there is a difference if opinion regarding whether or not they may rebuild them in the same place; third, that they should not read out very loudly from their [holy] books, nor ring any bells.  And some say that they may ring them softly so that Muslims would not hear them; fourth, that they may not build their own homes higher than the houses of their Muslim neighbors (or their part of the house), nor higher than those of the Muslims dwelling in other parts of the same house.  And some say that they may not build them of the same height with them either but that they must be lower; fifth, most of the ulama believe that it is appropriate that the ruler of the Muslims imposed upon them clothing that would distinguish then from Muslims so that they would not resemble Muslims.  It is customary for Jews to wear yellow clothes while Christians wear black and dark blue ones.  Christians [also] wear a girdle on their waists, and Jews sew a piece of silk of a different color on the front part of their clothes.  And some [jurists] say that they should be recognizable by their wearing different shoes than Muslims, for instance, one of their shoes be of one color and the other of another color, such as one yellow and one red. [And they also say that] they should wear a ring of iron, lead or copper, and that they should tie a bell on their feet at the [public] baths so as to be distinguishable from Muslims.  Similarly, their women should be distinguished through their clothing from Muslim women in the manner stated above or by other means; sixth, that they should not ride upon Arabian steeds, or that they should not ride any horses at all, only mules or asses, and that they should not ride upon saddles, only on pack saddles, with [both] legs on one side, and have no sword, dagger or any [other] weapon with them, nor should they keep any of these within their homes”.

 

20 Loeb, Laurence. Outcaste-Jewish Life in Southern Iran, New York, 1977, p.21

 

21Al-Majlisi (d. 1699), Lightning Bolts Against the Jews. The great Islamophilic scholar Ignaz Goldziher believed that Shi’ism manifested greater doctrinal intolerance toward non-Muslims, relative to Sunni Islam, because of the Shi’ites “literalist” conception of najas [From Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, Princeton, 1981, p. 213.]:

 

“On examining the legal documents, we find that the Shi'i legal position toward other faiths is much harsher and stiffer than that taken by Sunni Muslims. Their law reveals a heightened intolerance to people of other beliefs...Of the severe rule in the Qur'an (9:28) that 'unbelievers are unclean', Sunni Islam has accepted an interpretation that is as good as a repeal. Shi'i law, on the other hand, has maintained the literal sense of the rule; it declares the bodily substance of the unbeliever to be ritually unclean, and lists the touching of an unbeliever among the ten things that produce najasa, ritual impurity.”

 

 

The enduring nature of the fanatical najas regulation prohibiting dhimmis from being outdoors during rain and/or snow, is well established. For examples, see Appendix 2 item 5 of  Benjamin’s list of “oppressions”, and item 1 of Hamadan’s 1892 regulations for its Jews, as well as  this account provided by the missionary Napier Malcolm who lived in the Yezd area at the close of the 19th century:

 

“They [the strict Shi’as] make a distinction between wet and dry; only a few years ago it was dangerous for an Armenian Christian to leave his suburb and go into the bazaars in Isfahan on a wet [rainy] day. ‘A wet dog is worse than a dry dog.’ ” [Malcolm, Napier. Five Years in a Persian Town, New York, 1905, p. 107.]

 

Moreover, the late Persian Jewish scholar Sarah (Sorour) Soroudi related this family anecdote:

 

“In his youth, early in the 20th century, my late father was eyewitness to the implementation of this regulation. A group of elder Jewish leaders in Kashan had to approach the head clergy of the town (a Shi’i community from early Islamic times, long before the Safavids, and known for its religious fervor) to discuss a matter of great urgency to the community. It was a rainy day and they had to send a Muslim messenger to ask for special permission to leave the ghetto. Permission granted, they reached the house of the clergy but, because of the rain, they were not allowed to stand even in the hallway. They remained outside, drenched, and talked to the mullah who stood inside next to the window.”[ from, “The Concept of Jewish Impurity and its Reflection in Persian and Judeo-Persian Traditions”, Irano-Judaica, Vol. 3, 1994, p. 156.]

 

Souroudi added this note, as well  [p.156, footnote 36]:

 

“As late as 1923, the Jews of Iran counted this regulation as one of the anti-Jewish restrictions still practiced in the country.”

 

Lastly, a more disconcerting 20th century anecdote from an informant living in Shiraz, was recounted by Anthropologist Laurence Loeb [in Outcaste, p.21] :

 

“When I was a boy, I went with my father to the house of a non-Jew on business. When we were on our way, it started to rain. We stopped near a man who had apparently fallen and was bleeding. As we started to help him, a Muslim akhond (theologian) stopped and asked me who I was and what I was doing. Upon discovering that I was a Jew, he reached for a stick to hit me for defiling him by being near him in the rain. My father ran to him and begged the akhond to hit him instead.”

 

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Andrew G. Bostom is a frequent contributor to Frontpage Magazine.com, and the author of The Legacy of Jihad, and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.



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