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IRAN: Old trees cut in name of Islamic purity

November 11, 2008 |  7:25 am

Tree The daily Iranian newspaper Etemaad today covered a funny but sad story about the cutting down of two centuries-old mulberry trees by authorities under the pretext of fighting local superstitions.

The story comes out of the town of Rezvanshahr, along the Caspian Sea province of Gilan, where lush forests are increasingly destroyed by  urbanization and pollution.

There the local head of an Islamic charity named "Mr. Eshkavari" has decided to tear down a pair of old trees on properties he owns because some people are placing candles and ribbons at them as part of an ancient ritual.

Eshkavari was quoted as saying that "votive offerings to the trees have no justification is Islamic precepts."

Over the last three years the Islamic organization in Gilan already won permission to cut down and uproot five old trees growing in its lands.

A group of Gilan environmentalists wrote an open letter addressing the head of the charity said:

"To fight against superstition, you do not need to cut the old and lovely trees. You need a cultural campaign. The trees have been adored by the people for centuries. The trees are the blessings of God."

-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Photo: Old trees of the type ordered torn down by an Islamic charity in Iran's Caspian Sea province of Gilan. Credit: Etemaad Daily

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