Controversy of Ahmadinejad’s Jewish Root

His mother descents from prophet Muhammad.

Ahmadinejad and a rabbi from Neturei Karta

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad once again has become a controversy. It was not caused by his statements against Israel, but triggered by a report from British newspaper the Daily Telegraph on Saturday last week. The report said that conservative leader has a Jewish father who converted to Muslim.

The Telegraph revealed that his original family name was Saburjian or “cloth weaver”. The word derives from “Sabur”, the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl which usually used by Jews in synagogue on Sabbath and holidays. Also, it is used when reciting morning, afternoon, and evening prayer.

Another version said Ahmadinejad’s original family name was Sabbaghan that means “cloth dryer”. Traditionally in Iran, those names refer to professions left to non-Muslim. And it’s not accidentally, there are Jewish community in Ahmadinejad’s hometown of Aradan, lived there since the 3rd B.C.

Ahmadinejad has admitted that his family changed his name in 1950s. They argued that must be done to prevent form discrimination when they moved to Tehran. But as quoted by the Telegraph, Ali Nurizadeh of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, said his position of anti-Israel to hide his Jewish connection. “Every family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity by condemning their old faith,” he said.

But Meir Javedanfar, the author of Ahmadinejad Biography, has denied that accusation. His opinion on the Guardian explained that Ahmadinejad’s father, Ahmad, was a religious Shia who taught the Quran before his birth. His mother Khanum was descent from prophet Muhammad with Sharifah or Sayyidah title. The group is so respected by Shia community.

It was such a classic story. His political opponents, including conservative Shia clerics, have raised the issue of his religious and ethnic background ever since he ran for mayor of Tehran in 2003. But it can’t hamper his victory.

If that accusation can be proven, Ahmadinejad is a good Jew who dares to defend Palestinians from Israeli occupation.

Baltimore Sun/Foreign Policy./Faisal Assegaf

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