Badges for Jews and Christians in Iran

Reply Sat 20 May, 2006 09:48 am
Ever hopefully, gunga the gullible wrote:
I say again, the jury is still out on this one. The only people denying the story are the Iranian government, and they deny the holocaust and the fact that they are building atomic bombs as well.

Iranian Law Would Encourage Islamic Dress
By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer
7:45 AM PDT, May 20, 2006

TEHRAN, Iran -- A draft law being considered by Iran's parliament encourages the wearing of Islamic clothing to protect the country's Muslim identity, according to a copy of the bill obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday.

The 13-article bill, which received preliminary approval a week ago, does not mention requiring special attire for religious minorities.

On Friday, the Canadian newspaper The National Post, quoting Iranian exiles, said the law would force Jews, Christians and other religious minorities to wear special patches of colored cloth to distinguish them from Muslims.

The report brought immediate criticism from the United States, which is locked in a standoff with Iran over its nuclear program.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said any such measure would be "despicable" and carry "clear echoes of Germany under Hitler" -- referring to the yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

He would not comment further, saying he did not "have all the facts" on the bill.

The bill raised fears among women that the hard-line government led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to crack down on social freedoms won in Iran during the previous, pro-reform government.

Laws in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution require women to wear "chador" -- meaning a head scarf to cover their hair and a long overcoat the hide their shapes.

But in the past decade, enforcement has grown lax, and women -- particularly in the capital, Tehran -- commonly wear scarves that leave almost their entire heads bare and short, form-fitting jackets instead of overcoats.

The bill makes no specific mention of women but says it aims to "encourage the public to abstain from choosing clothes that aren't appropriate to the culture of Iran," according to the copy received from the parliament's press office.

It tasks the Culture Ministry and state media to promote Iranian styles of dress and to discourage clothing "that does not conform with Iranian-Islamic culture."

It also would give economic incentives to producers making Islamic-style clothing and impose tariffs on clothing imports.

The bill does not call for police or other bodies to enforce stricter styles of dress for women. In the past, religious police and paramilitary militias would castigate women in the streets if any of their hair was showing or if their clothes were too revealing, though such enforcement has been rarer in recent years.

Ardalan Parvin, a women's activist and journalist in Iran, said women will not accept it if Iran tries to step up enforcement now.

"It is clear that this plan is designed to fight the Western dress code adopted by so many of Iran's youth," she said. "But I don't think that they can just eliminate the Western dress altogether. It's going to be very difficult."

The law does not define the Islamic-Iranian style that it will encourage or directly impose a particular uniform, as the National Post article suggested.

The Post also said that the law required Jews to wear a yellow strip of cloth sewn into their clothes, Christians to have a red one and Zoroastrians to wear blue. The copy of the bill received by AP makes no mention of minorities.

"Such a plan has never been proposed or discussed in parliament. Such news, which appeared abroad, is an insult to religious minorities here," Iranian Jewish lawmaker Morris Motamed told the AP.

Well, gunga, sure looks like this one gets filed with Intelligent Design, WTC Conspiracy Theories, Crop Circles, and Alien Abductions. I know you're disappointed, but chin up, old boy - you can't let a little thing like getting it wrong discourage you. One thing in which I have faith is your determination ... those here who appreciate true humor really look forward to your provision of same; please, keep up with the slapstick and pratfalls ... I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we count on the gunga we've all come to know and love to lighten things up around here. Tighten up your tinfoil hat, keep alert for those black helicopters, and be sure to let us know whenever you think you're on to something.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 04:10 pm
And, here we go:

Our Mistake: Note to Readers

Douglas Kelly, National Post

Last Friday, the National Post ran a story prominently on the front page
alleging that the Iranian parliament had passed a law that, if enacted,
would require Jews and other religious minorities in Iran to wear badges
that would identify them as such in public. It is now clear the story is
not true. Given the seriousness of the error, I felt it necessary to
explain to our readers how this happened.

The story of the alleged badge law first came to us in the form of a
column by Amir Taheri. Mr. Taheri, an Iranian author and journalist, has
written widely on Iran for many major publications. In his column, Mr.
Taheri wrote at length about the new law, the main purpose of which is to
establish an appropriate dress code for Muslims. Mr. Taheri went on to say
that under the law, "Religious minorities would have their own colour
schemes. They will also have to wear special insignia, known as zonnar, to
indicate their non-Islamic faith."

This extraordinary allegation caught our attention, of course. The idea
that Iran might impose such a law did not seem out of the question given
that its President has denied the Holocaust and threatened to "wipe Israel
off the map." We tried to contact Mr. Taheri, but he was in transit and

The editor who was dealing with Mr. Taheri's column wrote to Rabbi Abraham
Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. The
Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization
that keeps a close watch on issues affecting the treatment of Jews around
the world, and maintains contacts in many countries, including Iran. Asked
about the specific allegation that Iran had passed a law requiring
religious minorities to identify themselves, Rabbi Cooper replied by
e-mail that the story was "absolutely true." When a reporter spoke to
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, a short
while later, Rabbi Hier said the story was true and added that the
organization had sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking
him to take up the matter. (Rabbi Hier has since said that, contrary to
the understanding of the reporter, the Wiesenthal Center had not
independently confirmed Mr. Taheri's allegation.)

The reporter also spoke with two Iranian exiles in Canada -- Ali
Behroozian in Toronto and Shahram Golestaneh in Ottawa. Both said that
they had heard the the story of the badges from their contacts in Iran and
they believed it to be true.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Department did not respond to questions about the
issue until after deadline, and then only to say they were looking into
the matter. After several calls to the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, the
reporter reached Hormoz Ghahremani, a spokesman for the embassy. Mr.
Ghahremani's response to the allegation was that he did not answer such

We now had four sources -- Mr. Taheri, the Wiesenthal Center and two
Iranian exiles in Canada -- telling us that according to their sources the
Iranian law appeared to include provisions for compelling religious
minorities to identify themselves in public. Iranian authorities in Canada
had not denied the story. Given the sources, and given the previous
statements of the Iranian President, we felt confident the story was true
and decided to publish it.

The reaction was immediate and distressing. Several experts whom the
reporter had tried unsuccessfully to contact the day before called to say
the story was not true. The Iranian embassy put out a statement late in
the day doing what it had failed to do the day before -- unequivocally
deny such a law had been passed.

The reporter continued to try to determine whether there was any truth to
the story. Some sources said there had been some peripheral discussion in
the Iranian parliament of identifying clothing for minority religions, but
it became clear that the dress code bill, which was introduced on May 14
and has not yet been passed into law, does not include such provisions.

Mr. Taheri, who had written the column that sparked the story, was again
unreachable on Friday. He has since put out a statement saying the
National Post and others "jumped the gun" in our characterization of his
column. He says he was only saying the provisions affecting minorities
might happen at some point. All of the people who read the column on the
first day took it to mean the measure was part of a law that had been
passed. Mr. Taheri maintains the zonnar, or badges, could still be put in
effect when the dress code law is implemented.

On Saturday, the National Post ran another front-page story above the fold
with the Iranian denial and the comments of the experts casting doubts on
the original story.

It is corporate policy for all of CanWest's media holdings to face up to
their mistakes in an honest, open fashion. It is also the right thing to
do journalistically.

We acknowledge that on this story, we did not exercise sufficient caution
and skepticism, and we did not check with enough sources. We should have
pushed the sources we did have for more corroboration of the information
they were giving us. That is not to say that we ignored basic journalistic
practices or that we rushed this story into print with no thought as to
the consequences. But given the seriousness of the allegations, more was

We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not
just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story. We
take this incident very seriously, and we are examining our procedures to
try to ensure such an error does not happen again.

Douglas Kelly,


National Post


(You need to register, I got the full piece from my Snopes.com mail group)
0 Replies
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 04:40 pm
Well, i heard about the retraction from The National Post on the radio today--but as soon as i identified that as the source when this thread began, i doubted it because of the source (and i won't even mention the author of this thread--oh damn, i just did . . . oh well).
0 Replies
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 04:51 pm
Even a bloody QUESTION MARK in the title might have indicated some integrity on the part of the thread progenitor.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 04:53 pm
Is the jury still out, gunga?
0 Replies
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 05:06 pm
And more:

Reuters: National Post apologizes for anti-Iran story
Wed May 24, 2006 12:29 PM EDT

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian newspaper apologized on Wednesday for a story that said Iran planned to force Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Muslims.

The conservative National Post ran the story on its front page last Friday along with a large photo from 1944 which showed a Hungarian couple wearing the yellow stars that the Nazis forced Jews to sew to their clothing.

The story, which included tough anti-Iran comments from prominent Jewish groups, was picked up widely by Web sites and by other media.

"Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany? Share your opinion online," the paper asked readers last Friday.

But the National Post, a long-time supporter of Israel and critic of Tehran, admitted on Wednesday it had not checked the piece thoroughly enough before running it.

"It is now clear the story is not true," National Post editor-in-chief Douglas Kelly wrote in a long editorial on page 2.
"We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story."

The story was based on a column by Iranian expatriate writer Amir Taheri, who said a law being debated by Iran's parliament would force Jews to sew a yellow strip of cloth to their clothes. Christians would wear a red strip while Zoroastrians would wear a blue one.

Iranian legislators dismissed the story.

The story and the column appeared at a time when the international community is pressuring Tehran over its nuclear program. Iran is also under fire for comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he doubted the scale of the Holocaust.

Asked about the Post story last Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Iran "is very capable of this kind of action." He added: "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."

A spokesman for Harper said the prime minister had started off his comments with the words "If this is true."
0 Replies
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 05:06 pm
dlowan wrote:
Even a bloody QUESTION MARK in the title might have indicated some integrity on the part of the thread progenitor.

To clarify, I say that because this is exactly the sort of story at the sort of time that can become, in spite of later retractions, part of urban myth and the consciousness of bigots, and it is such a horrible story, pregnant with so much meaning, that any lack of care in its repetition strikes me as quite reprehensible.

Gunga, if he was going to post it when no responsible news sources were playing it, should have identified in the title that it was still suspect.
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Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 07:01 pm
Gunga ain't been around since he posted THIS ... ya think mebbe he was abducted by aliens interested in keeping him from exposing any more secrets? Or mebbe the Black Helicopters got 'im? Gee - mebbe we should start worryin' 'bout the poor guy ... sure hope he makes it back OK.
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