A statement about the destruction of the synagogue in Tajikistan...
The International Sephardic Leadership Council has issued a statement about the Synagogue that was destoyed last week in Tajijkistan.
On February 22, 2006, an active synagogue, much beloved by its Jewish congregation, was destroyed after heavy construction equipment tore off the roof, crushed its concrete walls and drove through its sanctuary. This was the only active synagogue in the country of Tajikistan, a country north of Afghanistan and south of Russia. The synagogue was destroyed so the government can build a
grand palace for its president. “If the Jews want to have [rebuild] a synagogue, let them pay for it out of their own funds,” said Shamsuddin Nuriddinov, head of the City of Dushanbe, Religious Affairs Department. (This attack, 280 miles north of Kabul, Afghanistan, caused NO international outrage.)
According to Google News, 2,930 news articles appear for the mosque destruction, while only six exist on the synagogue destruction—and those six are really just one brief mention that has been repeated through syndication in American newspapers.
In regard to the mosque destruction, statements were issued from leaders around the world. President Bush stated, “I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Iraq for the brutal bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra....The American people pledge to work with the people of Iraq to rebuild and restore the Golden Mosque of Samarra to its former glory.” He added: “The United States stands ready to do all in its power to assist the Government of Iraq to identify and bring to justice those responsible for this terrible act.”
There are some 150-250 Jews in Tajikistan, mostly elderly Bukharian Jews. When news of the destruction of the Tajikistan synagogue reached the Bukharian community in the United States, the news was met with shock; people whose children were brought up in that synagogue reacted in tears. Members of the Bukharian community in Atlanta, Georgia stated they worry about the Jewish cemeteries that are near the synagogue, what will happen to them?
In regard to the synagogue destruction, not one statement was made by any government of any country around the world. The only Jewish organization to speak up on this was the International Sephardic Leadership Council, of which this writer is executive director of. While the media covered some 1,000 Israeli fans of a Tel Aviv basketball team demonstrating on Saturday night against the
destruction of the team's historic arena, not one person in the main stream media has come out to address the destruction of the center of Jewish life in Tajikistan. First the government destroyed the mikvah (ritual bath), then the kosher butcher shop, now the entire synagogue.
While Iraq is 97% Islamic, Tajikistan comes in at 85% Islamic and growing. And while the Iraqi Muslims claim say the community near the gold domed mosque was there for 1000 years, the Jewish community has been in the area surrounding Tajikistan for 2000 years. And while the gold domed mosque in Iraq was built in 1905—a little over 100 years ago—the synagogue in Tajikistan was built 100 years ago as well. Yet, everyone is quiet about this. Including Jewish organizations—this must change.