By: Fern Sidman
The Iranian city of Isfahan was the scene of a gruesome murder on Monday, November 26th, when a 57-year old Jewish woman identified as Tuba N, was brutally stabbed to death and her body mutilated by Muslim assailants. The alleged motivation for the murder stemmed from a protracted property dispute, according to the family of the murdered woman, who did not release her last name. Relatives say that Tuba had been consistently harassed for years by her Muslim neighbors in an attempt to drive the family from their home and expropriate the property for an adjoining mosque.
According to Menashe Amir, an expert on Iranian Jewry who spoke with the victim’s family, “The religious radicals even expropriated part of the house and attached it to the mosque’s courtyard. The Jewish family appealed to the courts with the help of a local attorney to seek redress for the conflict, despite the threats to their lives.”
Reports indicate that the Muslims affiliated with the neighboring mosque repeatedly badgered the victim and her family for years to get them to vacate their domicile in order to permit an expansion project of the mosque. The family refused to acquiesce and it was reported that the head of the household filed a complaint, citing the mosque officials were trying to run them out.
According to the sister of the victim who witnessed the heinous murder and reported the details to Amir, attackers allegedly butchered Tuba’s body and cut off her hands. Amir said that while the victim’s husband was in Tehran on Monday attending to business matters, “thugs broke into her home, tied up her two sisters who were living with her, and repeatedly stabbed her to death.”
At this juncture, the Iranian authorities have not released the victim’s dismembered body to her family and it has been suggested that local law enforcement agencies are attempting to cover up the case.
The murder has stoked fears of further Muslim attacks amongst Isfahan’s dwindling Jewish community. As of 2009, Isfahan, which is Iran’s third largest city with a population of 1.5 million people, was the home to 1200 of Iran’s remaining 25,000 Jews. Since that time, Jewish demographics in the Islamic Republic have plummeted. A government census published earlier this year indicated there were only 8,756 Jews left in Iran, and Amir said that Isfahan was now home to fewer than 100 Jewish families.