Wednesday Canada's National Post published an error correction. Last Friday, the newspaper's lead story reported that the Iranian parliament had approved legislation that would compel Jews to wear a yellow strip, Christians to wear a red strip and Zoroastrians to wear a blue strip on their clothes. The story fomented an international storm. Yet it turned out that the story was untrue - or jumped the gun. The Iranian parliament did pass legislation expressing its intention to install a compulsory Islamic dress code for the country's subjects, but it did not characterize the required attire.
On its Web site last Friday the National Post asked its readers to submit their opinions on the question, "Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany?" And after the story was published, Canada's new prime minister, Stephen Harper, reacted to the story saying that Iran "is very capable of this kind of action."
In Wednesday's edition, National Post editor Douglas Kelly wrote, "We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused." For its part, Canada's organized, pro-Islamist Muslim community is demanding that Harper apologize for his statements. Akbar Manoussi of the Ottawa Muslim Association threatened Harper with voter backlash in the next elections for his statements. In his words, "The next time [Harper] goes to get the vote he will find out what people think of him." Manoussi went on to say that Harper's statement "sends a message that he doesn't get his information right."
The entire episode could be chalked up to a tempest in a teacup - just another distorted news story that exaggerated recent developments. The Iranian parliament passed a law appointing a committee empowered to determine a national dress code appropriate for the return of the 12th imam -- the Shi'ite messiah - a return that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes is imminent. And as Harper rightly noted, the Iranian regime is more than capable of calling for religious minorities to wear distinctive garments reminiscent of the Nazi era. The National Post received bad information and believed it because it jibed with the character of the regime in Teheran.
Yet the National Post story last Friday, and the storms it caused both before and after its inaccuracy was brought to light, point to a much greater problem than any single Iranian decision regarding what Iranians of various religions must wear.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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