Friday, May 19, 2006

Yellow, Red, Blue - Not Badges Of Honor - UPDATED

The United States, whose President George W. Bush (R) is pictured here, Canada and Australia, whose Prime Minister John Howard (L) is pictured here on 16 May 2006 in Washington D.C., lost little time in blasting Iran for a report, quickly denied, that Tehran may force non-Muslims to wear colored badges in public. Photo Credit: AFP/File/Brendan Smialowski

Absolutely troubling! Iranian parliment is pondering a rule that all Jews, Christians, and other non-muslims must wear colored badges on their clothes while in public.

Hugh Hewitt dedicated a large segment of his show to this report and it should make everyone shudder who believes that all men (genderless) are created equal.

Excerpts from AFP via Today Online -

US and allies concerned by reports Iran to tag non-Muslims
AFP - Posted: 20-May-2006 06:25 hrs (Time is GMT + 8 hours)


The United States, Canada and Australia lost little time in blasting Iran for a report, quickly denied, that Tehran may force non-Muslims to wear colored badges in public.

While acknowledging they had no details beyond a report in a Canadian newspaper, the three countries went on the offensive in separate statements, with Washington and Ottawa evoking the atrocities of Nazi Germany.

"If you did have such an occurrence, whether it was in Iran or elsewhere, it would certainly be despicable," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington. "I think it has clear echoes of Germany under Hitler."

The National Post newspaper, citing human rights groups, reported Friday that Iran's parliament had passed a law this week that sets a public dress code and requires non-Muslims to wear a special insignia.

Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear a yellow, red or blue strip of cloth, respectively, on the front of their clothes, according to the newspaper.
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"Unfortunately, we have seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action," Harper [Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada] said in Ottawa.

"I think it boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany," he added.

"The fact that such a measure could even be contemplated, I think, is absolutely abhorent."

Howard also expressed indignation during an official visit to Canada, calling the report "appalling" if confirmed.

"Anything of that kind would be totally repugnant to civilized countries, if it's the case, and something that would just further indicate to me the nature of this regime," he said.

Iran's new hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already come in for widespread criticism for suggesting that the Holocaust was a myth and calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the map.

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The United States, Canada and Australia lost little time in blasting Iran for a report, quickly denied, that Tehran may force non-Muslims to wear colored badges in public.

While acknowledging they had no details beyond a report in a Canadian newspaper, the three countries went on the offensive in separate statements, with Washington and Ottawa evoking the atrocities of Nazi Germany.
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In Ottawa, Harper's parliamentary secretary, Jason Kenney, also told the House of Commons that Canadian officials were trying to verify the claims and were "deeply concerned".

"Should these reports turn out to be true, this government will condemn in the strongest terms possible this kind of revisiting of the darkest period of the last century. It is something that the entire civilized world should condemn," Kenney said.
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UPDATE:

PRESS RELEASE: AMIR TAHERI ADDRESSES QUERIES ABOUT DRESS CODE STORY
by Amir TaheriBenador Associates May 22, 2006

Regarding the dress code story it seems that my column was used as the basis for a number of reports that somehow jumped the gun. As far as my article is concerned I stand by it. The law has been passed by the Islamic Majlis and will now be submitted to the Council of Guardians. A committee has been appointed to work out the modalities of implementation.

Many ideas are being discussed with regard to implementation,including special markers, known as zonnars, for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, the only faiths other than Islam that are recognized as such. The zonnar was in use throughout the Muslim world until the early 20th century and marked out the dhimmis, or protected religious minorities. (In Iran it was formally abolished in 1908). I have been informed of the ideas under discussion thanks to mysources in Tehran, including three members of the Majlis who had tried to block the bill since it was first drafted in 2004. I do not know which of these ideas or any will be eventually adopted. We will know once the committee appointed to discuss them presents its report, perhaps in September.

Interestingly, the Islamic Republic authorities refuse to issue anofficial statement categorically rejecting the concept of dhimmitude and the need for marking out religious minorities. I raised the issue not as a news story, because news of the new law was already several days old, but as an opinion column to alert the outside world to this most disturbing development.

Iranian author and journalist Amir Taheri is a member of Benador Associates.
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