Photo Credit: US Dept of State
An Iranian Jew prays in a synagogue in Shiraz, Iran, Dec. 4, 1999

A second synagogue has been desecrated in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.

Torah scrolls in the Hadash Synagogue were torn apart on Monday afternoon, their silver ornaments stolen, and the synagogue’s holy prayer books (siddurim) were thrown in the toilet.

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Other ritual objects, including men’s tallitot (prayer shawls) and tefillin (phylacteries) were soiled and damaged as well, said Sam Kermanian, senior adviser to the Iranian-American Jewish Federation.

Kermanian, who maintains contact with Jews from Shiraz, said it is believed the attacks were carried out by more than one person but it is not known who is behind the sacrilege.

The Kashi Synagogue in Shiraz was the first synagogue to be attacked, on Sunday night, with similar destruction documented by three local Jews and two journalists, according to a community member quoted by Israel’s Channel 10 news.

“In light of these clearly anti-Semitic incidents we call upon the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure the protection of all places of worship as well as all members of our community, and to bring the perpetrators of these criminal acts to justice,” said a statement by leaders of the Iranian-American Jewish Federation.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations also issued a statement expressing its “deep concern” about the attacks, noting the Hadash Synagogue is in the Maaleh neighborhood.

“We call upon the authorities in Shiraz and the central government in Tehran to take all necessary steps to protect the community and bring the perpetrators to swift justice,” the statement said.

Iran’s Jewish community of some 8,500 members is represented by one designated member of parliament. Most of the Jews are living in Tehran. The Jewish community in Shiraz numbers about 2,000, and there is also a Jewish community in Isfahan, also in the south.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.