July 22, 2007
When they killed Cousin Ebi with a bullet to the heart, my family finally decided it was time to leave Iran
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Indeed, Ebrahim Berookhim was not the last Jew to be executed by Iran's fundamentalist regime. According to a 2004 report prepared by Frank Nikbakht, an Iranian Jewish activist in Los Angeles, at least 14 Jews were murdered or assassinated by the regime's agents, at least two Jews died in custody and 11 Jews have been officially executed by the regime, all since 1979.
In 2000, with the assistance of various American Jewish groups, Southern California's Iranian Jewish community successfully publicized the case of 13 Iranian Jews from the city of Shiraz who were facing execution on fabricated charges of spying for Israel. Ultimately the international exposure put pressure on the Iranian regime, prevented the execution of the "Shiraz 13" and they were eventually released.
Estimates vary, but it is believed that between 10,000 and 20,000 Jews are still residing in Iran. Nikbakht said a substantial number of Jews have remained in Iran because they feel they will face economic and cultural challenges if they leave the country.
"Some successful and capable Jews (in Iran) have either a false sense of security or are willing to take risks, hoping to outlast the regime," said Nikbakht. "Some have converted to Islam or other 'safer' religions such as Christianity to help them survive."
For his part, Abe Berookhim said he plans to continue to speak out publicly about his family's experience in hopes that average Americans will understand the extent of the threat posed by Iran's current fundamentalist Islamic government.
"The reality is that radical Islam -- in order to rule -- must destroy our culture, and we need to understand this in the West in order to avoid facing the detrimental consequences," Berookhim said.
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