(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Jews have always enjoyed better living conditions in Iran than in Europe, Iranian Jewish lawmaker Siamak Moreh Sedgh says.
The Jewish member of Iranian parliament made the remarks in an interview with Germany’s broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
It's a lot better than many people think, Moreh Sedgh said, commenting on the life of the Jews in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Jews are a recognized minority here, he added.
“We can practice our religion freely. We have more than 20 working synagogues in Tehran and at least five kosher butcheries. In some European countries that is not allowed because of animal rights. In Iran, it is,” the lawmaker said.
“Generally speaking, the Jews condition in Iran has always been better than in Europe. In our country's history, there was never a time when all Iranians had the same religion, race or language, so there is a high degree of tolerance,” he added.
“Jews and Muslims respect each other, but at the same time, we know there are differences. So the rate of intermarriage between Jews and other groups in Iran is the lowest one in the world, it's less than 0.1 percent, the lawmaker said.
“We have economic relationships with Muslims, my closest friends are Muslims. The hospital I work in is a Jewish hospital, for example, but more than 95 percent of both our personnel and patients are Muslims. It's strictly forbidden to ask about religion there because the most important verse of Torah, which is written on top of the hospital, says: 'Treat other people like yourself.' It does not say 'other Jews,' it says 'other people.' It shows that we have a practical relationship with each other and cooperate to make the world a better place,” Moreh Sedgh said.
“According to our religious teachings, we must obey the laws of the country we live in. And being a Jew is very different from being a Zionist. There are - and have always been - Jews all around the world who are very critical of the behavior of Israel's government and army,” he added.
“Being a Jew means we must obey Torah and Talmud. Invading other countries and killing innocent people are not Moses' teachings. We cannot accept Israel's behavior as Jewish; it is a political and not a religious movement. I personally think that, as the victims of the greatest genocide in the world, Jews should have more empathy with the Palestinian people”, Moreh Sedgh.
About 9,000 Jews are said to be living in Iran.