By SABINA AMIDI, The Jerusalem Post
The Iranian blogger who claimed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has Jewish roots is being detained by the authorities after he was arrested along with 150 university students earlier this week, according to sources in Teheran.
Dr. Mehdi Khazali, who reportedly participated in several recent opposition demonstrations, was reportedly summoned to a special court convened for religious figures, detained and transferred to an unknown location.
The son of a prominent, conservative pro-Ahmadinejad ayatollah, Khazali wrote on his Web site earlier this year that the president – a Holocaust denier and relentless critic of Israel – was of partially Jewish origin, asserting that Ahmadinejad had changed his family name from Saburjian, and calling for the origins of the Saburjian family in the town of Aradan to be investigated.
The assertion featured in the bitter presidential election campaign, when rival reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi challenged Ahmadinejad in a live TV debate, reportedly stating: “My full name is Mehdi Karroubi. What is your full name?”
Ahmadinejad gave his full name, according to an Al-Arabiya TV report, but left out one surname which is said to indicate Jewish ancestry.
The “Jewish Ahmadinejad” dispute even spread beyond Iran, when Bahrain’s oldest newspaper, Akhbar al-Khaleej, was briefly shut down by the governing authorities two weeks ago after it published an article recycling the claim.
Khazali, director of the Hayyan Cultural Institute in Teheran, has argued that while religion occupies an essential place in political life, too much intervention of religion in political matters is potentially dangerous for modern societies.
He recently posted a blog addressed to defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi quoting a verse from the Koran: “I am ready to give my blood, but I warn you, if you breach the trust of the nation by keeping silent, you will be held responsible…”