The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is raising concerns over unconfirmed reports that authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran are threatening the destruction of the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in response to President Trump’s Middle-East peace plan.
The tomb is believed by some to be the resting place of the Old Testament queen Esther and her relative, Mordechai. Esther was the queen of the Persian King Ahasuerus. She is credited with helping save the Jewish people from being massacred.
The tomb is a popular pilgrimage site for Jews and Christians in Iran.
“USCIRF is troubled by reported threats to the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamedan, Iran,” USCIRF stressed in a tweet. “[USCIRF] emphasizes the Iranian government’s responsibility to protect religious sites.”
The congressionally-mandated bipartisan and independent international religious freedom watchdog body was responding to a report from the Alliance for Rights of All Minorities in Iran.
The organization posted on social media Sunday that the historic Jewish site is “at risk of destruction.”
“Iranian authorities are threatening to destroy the historic tomb of Ester and Mordechai in Hamedan and convert the site to a consular office for Palestine,” the Facebook post claims.
“Ester and Mordechai were biblical Jewish heroes who saved their people from a massacre in a story known as #Purim. Their burial site has been a significant Jewish landmark for Jews and history buffs around the world.”
“According to covering reports, members of Iranian #Basij [paramilitary] attempted to raid the historic site yesterday in an act of revenge against the Israelis Palestinian peace plan by President Trump,” the post added.
The United States-based nongovernmental organization watchdog group International Christian Concern reports that reports on Iran’s plans for the tomb are “unconfirmed.” But the NGO indicated that the alleged raid by Basij forces occurred last Saturday.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith