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Conservative Iranians blame “Jewish influence” for Tehran Mosque’s “ugly” design

A large new Mosque being built in Tehran, the capital of Iran, which has been hailed as evoking the “austerity of early Islam” has attracted ire from conservative forces in the country.

Reza Daneshmir, one of the architects of the Mosque, has said that the design departs with traditional Mosque architecture partly to appeal to young, less religious professionals in the city, adding that they “wanted it to be an avant-garde project, not a conservative and backward one”.

The Vali-e-Asr Mosque has been divisive in Iran. Whilst it has many supporters and admirers, one news source, Mashregh, has said that the building “looks like a Jewish kippa” and called for the architects to be tried for treason for “aiding the Zionist conspiracy”.

Other conservative voices in the country have decried the Mosque as the result of “Jewish and secular influence”. The idea that Jews are behind attempts to modernise is a common theme in European antisemitism, in which Jews are portrayed as attempting to erode national cultures. Like many forms of European antisemitism, it is an idea that is finding increasing amounts of traction in the Middle East.