FACT CHECK: Did The Jamkaran Mosque In Iran Raise A Red Flag Of Revenge For ‘The First Time In History’?
Metro.co.uk published an article Jan. 4 claiming the Jamkaran mosque displayed a red flag of vengeance for the “first time in history,” in response to the U.S. killing top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a Jan. 3 drone strike.
The Jamkaran mosque has flown the red flag on several occasions over the past three years.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians participated in processions in Tehran, Qom, and other major Iranian cities to mourn the death of Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Some Iranians also carried red Shiite flags that traditionally symbolize vengeance and unjustly spilled blood, according to The Associated Press.
The Jamkaran mosque, a prominent Shiite pilgrimage site the Iranian city of Qom, hoisted a red flag above its turquoise dome Jan. 4, the day after the U.S. killed Soleimani in a drone strike, according to the Times of India. The flag, which bears an Arabic statement roughly translating to “The Avengers of Hussein,” refers to Hussein ibn Ali, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson who died in battle against Sunni Muslims during the 7th century.
“It is the first time in history that the red flag has been hoisted on top of the Jamkaran mosque in the Iranian city,” claims the Metro.co.uk article. ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos made a similar claim during a Jan. 5 broadcast of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
But, according to a mosque administrator, the Jamkaran mosque has unfurled the red flag on previous occasions. (RELATED: Has Poland Refused To Allow The Building Of Mosques?)
Yassine Hossein Abadi, one of the mosque’s administrators, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the flag has been flown for ten days of mourning during Muharram “for the past three years.” The mosque also displayed the red flag during an Aug. 31 ceremony on the eve of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, according to its website.
“Due to the martyrdom of General Qassem (sic) Soleimani and his comrades, and after hearing the supreme leader calling for a harsh revenge, we unfurled this flag so that all [Shia] believers in the world and all the freedom fighters gather around this flag to avenge Qassem Soleimani’s blood unjustly shed,” Abadi told AFP.
On Jan. 7, Iran launched a missile attack against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani, according to The New York Times.