Canada’s National Post [ed. note: the story has now disappeared] (see update below) reported on Friday that a new law has been passed in Iran that would require all non-Muslims to wear colour-coded “badges” to identify which religious group they belong to. But the veracity of that story is far from conclusive.
A quick Google news search reveals that no other major media outlets are carrying this story. Instead, the links mostly go to blog or news sites that have reacted in horror to the National Post article. To this point, there has not been any other independent verification.
The National Post is sending shockwaves across the country this morning with a report that Iran’s Parliament has passed a law requiring mandatory Holocaust style badges to identify Jews and Christians.
But independent reporter Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli Middle East expert who was born and raised in Tehran, says the report is false.
“It’s absolutely factually incorrect,” he told The New 940 Montreal.
“Nowhere in the law is there any talk of Jews and Christians having to wear different colours. I’ve checked it with sources both inside Iran and outside.”
“The Iranian people would never stand for it. The Iranian government wouldn’t be stupid enough to do it.”
Note: I’m crossposting this from my blog because this story is spurning mass hysteria in the right-wing blogosphere with the predictable comparisons being made to Nazi Germany. This must be treated with caution and with the consideration that it may just be pumped up Bush propaganda to justify an attack on Iran. It is also worth noting that Canada’s National Post is notoriously right-wing.
UPDATE: Canada.com, which actually hosts the National Post online is now carrying this story from the Canadian Press:
OTTAWA (CP) – Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quick to condemn Iran on Friday for an anti-Semitic law that appears not to exist.
Harper seized on a report in the National Post newspaper that Iran’s hardline government would require Jews and Christians to wear coloured labels in public.
The prime minister couldn’t vouch for the accuracy of the report, but said Iran was capable of such actions, which he compared to Nazi practices.
But western journalists based in Iran said they knew of no such law being passed. And Iranian politicians – including a Jewish legislator in Tehran – were infuriated by the Post report, which they said was false.
Politician Morris Motamed, one of about 25,000 Jews who live in Iran, called the report a slap in the face to his minority community.
“Such a plan has never been proposed or discussed in parliament,” Motamed told the Associated Press.
“Such news, which appeared abroad, is an insult to religious minorities here.”
Another Iranian legislator said the newspaper has distorted a bill that he presented to parliament, which calls for more conservative clothing for Muslims.
“It’s a sheer lie. The rumours about this are worthless,” Emad Afroogh told Associated Press.
Afroogh’s bill seeks to make women dress more traditionally and avoid Western fashions. Minority religious labels have nothing to do with it, he said.
“The bill is not related to minorities. It is only about clothing,” he said.
“Please tell them (the West) to check the details of the bill. There is no mention of religious minorities and their clothing in the bill.”
UPDATE: The National Post has moved their original story. It can now be found here.