Iran (MNN) — Arson and Twitter threats reflect the latest uptick of anti-Semitism in Iran. On the 72nd anniversary of Israel’s nationhood, someone set fire to a building near the tomb of Esther and Mordecai. This ancient religious site holds significant meaning to both Jews and Christians worldwide.
Tomb of Esther and Mordecai – Hamadan – Western Iran
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
David Curry of Open Doors USA says, “It’s not entirely clear who’s the villain in this except to say the Iranian government so devalues the Christian faith that they seem to either be looking the other way or be behind it.”
Fires ignite in three religious sites
Iranian activists reportedly described the incident to Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations. In a May 15 statement, SWC leaders warned history was repeating itself:
“The torching of this Jewish holy site is reminiscent of the Nazis, who not only killed the living but desecrated the dead. The attack took place against the backdrop of the Mullahocracy’s drumbeat of genocidal hatred against the Jewish people, its state-sponsored policy of Holocaust denial and denigration. In such an environment a violent attack against Jews, Judaism, and Jewish heritage should surprise no one.”
A number of anti-Semitic tweets were posted using the hashtag #covid1948 following the fire, along with calls for a “free” Palestine. In February, a paramilitary group threatened to destroy the tomb and replace it with a Palestinian consulate.
“Iran has tried to maintain some kind of grandfather policy towards religious sites, historical sites; the tomb of Esther and Mordecai is one of those,” Curry says. “Yet now we have these attacks and the discussion around whether or not they’re going to make it into some sort of government epicenter.”
After the arson at this ancient site, Article 18 reports, fires broke out at a Hindu temple and Christian cemetery. Iranian authorities persecute most religious minorities, but Jews receive much of the authorities’ attention.
Keep praying for Iran
(Photo courtesy of Global Catalytic Ministries)
Ask the Lord to protect religious minorities in Iran. “The government is widely unpopular; they can sometimes use Christians as a wedge to drum up support from the more radical parts of the Islamic faith,” Curry explains. “Pray that Christians won’t be used as pawns.”
Pray Iranian authorities would come to a saving knowledge of Christ. “The people of Iran are welcome and open to the Gospel. There’s a strong Church… so, I think it’s really about the government,” Curry says. “We can, hopefully, through prayer, see some changes in the attitudes and the rules there towards Christian faith.”
Finally, support Iranian Christians here through Open Doors USA.
Header image is a representative stock photo obtained via Pexels.