UK Paper Claims "Ahmadinejad is Jewish"?
Last weekend, the Telegraph a British newspaper published an article claiming the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was a Jewish "convert" to Islam.
Jewish by birth, according to the UK paper, his family had changed their last name from Sabourjian, which they claimed was a Jewish name meaning "cloth weaver".
The report goes on to say,
.. that his family renounced their religion of Judaism and embraced Islam.
Days later, another UK paper, the Guardian exposed these false claims in the Telegraph last weekend. They asked David Yeroshalmi, an Iranian/Jewish historian, who totally refuted the Telegraph's translation of the name saying, "There is no such meaning for the word 'sabour' in any of the Persian Jewish dialects, and it also does not mean "Jewish prayer shawl" in Persian (Farsi)."
Another correspondent of the Guardian who is a biographer of Ahmadinejad and another reporter who has been following Ahmadinejad's life since coming to power four years ago, to learn the Iranian president's parents were very religious Shiites. His father taught Quran, and his mother was a descendent of the "Ahl Bayt" (family of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him).
The reason for Ahmadinejad's family to change their last name was more to do with Iranian class structure, rather than anything else. When it became mandatory to adopt "surnames" in Iran, many people especially in rural areas took names representing their professions or ancestors. When people moved from the countryside to the big cities, especially Tehran, to avoid being looked down upon and discriminated against they changed or took on "surnames" more suitable for the society at that time.
The name "Sabourjian" was related to the weavers of Persian rugs, an industry requiring long hours of physical labor. The family changed their name to fit in the society.
Once again, we observe the lack of responsibility in reporting and outright lies being propagated in the media, just to keep people buying their papers, watching their shows and buying products they advertise.
Muslims need to have their own voice in today's media.