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News number: 8708260919

14:19 | 2008-11-16

Culture

نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

CHTHO Releases Film to Allay Clerics' Outrage

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) has released a film in order to clear its name of accusations that it insulted the Holy Quran.



The CHTHO has released the film in order to resolve certain ambiguities and concerns about the performance of a traditional religious ceremony that opened the 2nd International Conference on Investment Opportunities in the Iranian Tourism Industry in Tehran last week, MNA quoted CHTHO Deputy Director Mehdi Jahangiri as telling the Persian service of the Islamic republic news agency on Friday.

"This particular traditional religious ceremony is common in one of the country's western provinces, and has been performed both in official as well as unofficial events that government figures have attended," he added.

A number of Iranian clerics were outraged by the performance of the ceremony at the conference, which they say insulted the Holy Quran.

The frenzy was stirred up by a report published in Jahannews, an unofficial Persian website.

The website described the ceremony as "an exceptional event" explaining, "Twelve women clad in traditional dress and playing the daf (a traditional hand-held frame drum) arrived in the conference hall."

"They moved rhythmically while holding a tray carrying a Quran that was to be read by one of the country's renowned Quranic reciters. After the completion of the recitation, they returned in the same manner and retrieved the Holy Quran," the report added.
The website also said that the performance stunned the people attending the conference.

The controversial CHTHO director, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii, and a number of officials attended the ceremony.

Two prominent Shiite clerics, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi and Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani, denounced the ceremony.

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi asked Iranian officials to take a stand on the ceremony, adding, "We will never remain silent about them (the organizers of the conference)."

"If it occurred during the reign of the shah (Mohammadreza Pahlavi), everybody would have expressed their outrage. I don't understand why they would be permitted to play with the Holy Quran," he lamented in one of his classes at the Qom Seminary last week.

"The disrespect shown to the Quran is intolerable and the person in charge of the organization clearly does not have the qualifications necessary for that position," Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani wrote on his website on Wednesday.

Rahim-Mashaii, who is also a vice president in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government, faced another crisis in early September when he was accused of making pro-Israeli remarks.

In addition, he had previously been censured by some Iranian MPs for his presence at a dance ceremony performed during an official event in Istanbul in 2005.