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June 27, 2013 3

Accusations of Jewish Affiliation Precede a Lynching in Egypt

Anti-Semitic posters Egypt

A poster in Egypt derid­ing Shia Mus­lims as “stooges of the Jews.”

Ear­lier this week, an angry mob in a small vil­lage near Cairo attacked and lynched a group of Shia Mus­lims, a hor­rific episode that resulted in the mur­ders of four men. The inci­dent came two weeks after posters were widely dis­played in the vil­lage accus­ing Shia of being “stooges of the Jews.”

Mem­bers of Al-Nour Party, an Islamist party and a mem­ber of Egypt’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion led by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, report­edly dis­played these posters on the walls of the village’s homes. One poster, cir­cu­lated on Twit­ter, has the logo of Al-Nour Party on the top right cor­ner of the poster.

The posters included images of out­go­ing Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad, who is per­ceived as a sym­bol of the Iranian-led Shia expan­sion in the Sunni Mus­lim world, shak­ing hands with mem­bers of Neturei Karta, an extreme anti-Israel group. The pho­tos rep­re­sent an absurd attempt to demon­strate a “Jewish-Shia’a alliance” that is allegedly plot­ting to gain con­trol over the Sunni Mus­lim world.

Two weeks after the posters first appeared, a hos­tile group of vil­lagers attacked the house of a Shia fam­ily who lived in the vil­lage. Mem­bers of the small Shia com­mu­nity had gath­ered in the house to attend a reli­gious cer­e­mony led by Has­san Sha­hata, a promi­nent Egypt­ian Shia cleric. Four men were killed dur­ing the bru­tal attack, includ­ing Sha­hata himself.

Graphic images of the vio­lence showed the mob drag­ging the bod­ies of the vic­tims through the streets of the vil­lage while police offi­cers watched from a distance.

A young daugh­ter of one of the vic­tims who wit­nessed the assault told a reporter from an Egypt­ian news agency, “Is this the form of reli­gion they want to imple­ment and they speak about? Even if we were Jews they shouldn’t have done this to us.”

Last week, a large bill­board in Tripoli showed Hezbol­lah leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah with a Star of David on his tur­ban and blood drip­ping from his mouth. The poster, the work of a rival Sunni group, was intended to demo­nize Nas­ral­lah in the worst pos­si­ble way: by char­ac­ter­iz­ing him as a Jew. Indeed, link­ing one’s enemy to Jews is a theme of the ris­ing sec­tar­ian ten­sion in the Mus­lim world. The recent lynch­ing inci­dent is a reminder of the poten­tially bru­tal con­se­quences of such accusations.

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May 23, 2013 1

Two AMIA Bombing Suspects Run For Iran Presidency

iran-amia-rezai-velayati

Ali Akbar Velay­ati and Mohsen Rezai

As the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Iran approaches in June, it is note­wor­thy that two can­di­dates with links to the 1994 attack on a Jew­ish cen­ter in Argentina passed the regime’s vet­ting process and are stand­ing as can­di­dates for pres­i­dent of Iran.

The two indi­vid­u­als, Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velay­ati, have been accused of plan­ning the Argen­tine Jew­ish Mutual Asso­ci­a­tion (AMIA) Jew­ish cen­ter bomb­ing in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 peo­ple and injured over 250.

Rezai, a for­mer com­man­der of the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps (IRGC), is sought by Inter­pol for his alleged involve­ment in the case. He is cur­rently the Sec­re­tary of the Expe­di­ency Council.

In 2006, when Velay­ati was Iran’s For­eign Min­is­ter, Argen­tin­ian author­i­ties accused him of approv­ing the AMIA bomb­ing. He has also been accused by Ger­man author­i­ties of plan­ning the 1992 “Mykonos Assas­si­na­tion” attacks in Berlin that killed sev­eral Iran­ian Kur­dish leaders.

This is not the first time sus­pected indi­vid­u­als linked to the AMIA bomb­ing have run for pres­i­dent of Iran. In 2009, Rezai ran against cur­rent Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad and lost.

Under the pres­i­dency of Ahmadine­jad, Ahmad Vahidi, who is also on Interpol’s Most Wanted List, was named Iran’s defense min­is­ter in 2009. Vahidi has been accused by Argen­tin­ian offi­cials of help­ing plan the July 1994 attack.

In early 2013, the Iran­ian and Argen­tine gov­ern­ments signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Under­stand­ing (MOU) that would bypass Argentina’s judi­cial sys­tem and set up an inter­na­tional Truth Com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate the bomb­ings. While the Argen­tine Sen­ate gave its approval in Feb­ru­ary, Pres­i­dent Ahmadine­jad only approved the mea­sure on May 19 by side­step­ping a vote in the Iran­ian par­lia­ment. The MOU stip­u­lates that the agree­ment must be sub­mit­ted to each country’s respec­tive legal bod­ies for approval.

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December 19, 2012 0

Iranian Leader Embraces Social Media

There is now a Face­book page in Iran’s Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei’s name, likely mak­ing him the world’s most socially-networked auto­cratic leader. The account, cre­ated on Decem­ber 13, cur­rently boasts over 16,000 ‘Likes’ and pro­vides Khamenei with another plat­form to dis­sem­i­nate his regime’s anti-West, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages.

Pre­vi­ously, Khamenei described Face­book as a “Zion­ist” tool. Face­book has been blocked inside Iran since the 2009 mass protests after the reelec­tion of Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad.

Although Khamenei’s Face­book account is only days old, a video from his Youtube chan­nel fea­tur­ing images of the Star of David and destroyed Pales­tin­ian vil­lages was uploaded to the page on Decem­ber 18. The video, called “New Mid­dle East, Islamic Mid­dle East,” begins with a clip of for­mer Secu­rity of State Con­doleezza Rice super­im­posed with a Star of David. The video also con­tains footage of Hasidic Jews stand­ing in front of a screen with an image of a cry­ing child and a dead Pales­tin­ian, and a mon­tage from a 2006 speech by Hezbol­lah leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah.

The five-minute video ends with a clip of a 2010 Khamenei speech in which he is pre­sented as pre­dict­ing the for­ma­tion of a new Islamic Mid­dle East and then declar­ing, “Pales­tine will be lib­er­ated” and insists that “Resis­tance is necessary.”

Khamenei first made his social media debut in 2009 with a Twit­ter account, @Khamenei_ir. The account con­veys what appear to be offi­cially sanc­tioned mes­sages from the Supreme Leader in Farsi, Eng­lish, Ara­bic and French. The tweets often make use of the regime’s typ­i­cal vit­ri­olic lan­guage against the U.S. and Israel, while prais­ing ter­ror­ist organizations.

For exam­ple, fol­low­ing Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense in Novem­ber against Hamas rocket fire from Gaza, Khamenei tweeted a gloat­ing mes­sage in Farsi, “Who would have believed that in a war between a sec­tion of Pales­tine and Israel, the Pales­tini­ans would be the ones set­ting the con­di­tions for a ceasefire/ Bravo to Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad.” In an English-language mes­sage in Jan­u­ary, Khamenei tweeted, “The Zion­ists, Great Satan-#USA-& West­ern pow­ers are inca­pable in fac­ing Islamic awak­en­ing, & they’ll fail more & more.”

The use of social media has also been increas­ingly uti­lized by U.S. Gov­ern­ment des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tions (FTOs).

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