Iran Exposed

, Allie Winegar Duzett, Leave a comment

While activists in New York City got attention for opposing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United Nations last week, the New York City protesters were not the only ones to make their voices heard. Another protest in Washington, D.C., also featured those concerned about Iran.

Among the protesters at the event were 65 school children from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community High School. They had driven over an hour to get to the event. Principal and Rabbi Aaron Frank said that they were there to “stand up against Ahmadinejad’s intolerant human rights policy.” The students at the school who had chosen to come were concerned about fellow Jews worldwide, Rabbi Frank said, and they were concerned also for all others who Ahmadinejad oppresses, including homosexuals and political dissenters. “He is a danger to the world,” Rabbi Frank concluded, referring to Iran’s current dictator.

Faith McDonnell of the Institute on Religion and Democracy held up a sign reading “Anglicans Standing With Israel.” She said she had come to the rally out of her deep concern to stand with freedom-loving people everywhere. “Ahmedinejad persecutes many people of all faiths,” McDonnell said, adding, “Anglicans face the same threats as Jews from radical Islam. Israel is the only nation that really gets it.”

While Jews may be the main protesters of Ahmadinejad they are not just protesting on behalf of other Jews, they are protesting for everyone. For Clark Loganstein of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, protesting Ahmadinejad’s policies should matter to people of all faiths. In particular, Loganstein mentioned the Baha’i, declaring the followers of the Baha’i faith to be the single most persecuted minority in Iran. The Baha’i in Iran are forbidden to go to school or even marry. “This is for all persecuted minorities in Iran,” Loganstein declared of the rally.

One speaker, Lynn Smith, described her personal experiences with the terrorists Ahmadinejad has supported in Iran. Her brother, Captain Vince Smith, had been killed by a terrorist’s truck bomb while serving the United States in the Middle East. “The government of Iran had my brother murdered,” Smith said gravely. She spoke of the hardships she and her family had gone through, struggling to find faith and hope in light of her brother’s murder. She suggested that the best way to give hope back to the families of Ahmadinejad’s victims is to prevent him from creating any more of them. “The American dream is made up of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” she went on. “Life is before liberty—our lives are more important than Ahmadinejad’s liberty!”

“I’m here to support sanctions on Iran,” protester Rick Z. of Rockville, Md. said when asked why he attended the rally. “I am against Iran getting nuclear weapons.” Rick stated that Ahmadinejad has made it clear that he wants to destroy Israel. “He denies the Holocaust,” Rick remarked. “Any nation that wants to destroy other nations based on incorrect understandings of history should not have nuclear arms.”

Allie Winegar Duzett is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.