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December 26, 2017 4:12 pm

Top US Jewish Group Condemns Reported Vandalism at Synagogue in Iran

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An Iranian Jew prays in a synagogue in Shiraz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Tuesday condemned reported acts of vandalism at a synagogue in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.

Stephen M. Greenberg and Malcolm Hoenlein — the CoP’s chairman and executive vice chairman/CEO — said they were “deeply concerned by the reports of the vandalism of the Hadash Synagogue in the Maleh neighborhood of Shiraz, in which several Torah scrolls were desecrated and many prayer books destroyed.”

“We call upon the authorities in Shiraz and the central government in Tehran to take all necessary steps to protect the community and bring the perpetrators to swift justice,” they continued.

The Yeshiva World News outlet, which broke the story, reported the vandalism took place on Sunday night, citing unnamed sources. The outlet said it understood that “police are investigating the incident.”

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Iran is home to a community of 20-25,000 Jews. In its recently published 2017 annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said that over the previous year, “[Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani has not delivered on his promises to strengthen civil liberties for religious minorities.”

“Even some of the constitutionally recognized non-Muslim minorities — Jews, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, and Zoroastrians — face official harassment, intimidation, discrimination, arrests, and imprisonment,” the report noted.

The report charged that the Iranian government had “continued to propagate antisemitism and target members of the Jewish community on the basis of real or perceived ‘ties to Israel.'”

“Discrimination against Jews continues to be pervasive, fostering a threatening atmosphere for the Jewish community,” the report added.

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