Fire at the Saint Mary Church follows recent blazes at sacred sites in Iran

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Local media outlets have reported a fire at the Saint Mary Church of Hamedan in Iran, a month after several fires broke out at sacred sites belonging to religious minorities in the country.

The fire reportedly started early Friday. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze, according to local media.

Iranian officials and the country’s main state news agencies have not yet commented on the fire.

The church was built during the Qajar dynasty (1789-1925) and is located in the Armenian neighborhood of Hamedan.

In 1999, the church was registered on Iran’s national heritage list.

Last month, fires broke out at three sacred sites belonging to the Jewish, Christian and Hindu communities in Iran.

On May 15, the ancient Jewish burial place of biblical figures Esther and Mordechai in Hamedan was set on fire. The tomb of Esther and Mordechai is the most important pilgrimage site for the Jewish community in Iran.

On May 16, state media reported a fire inside one of Iran’s two Hindu temples, located in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

On May 17, reports of a fire at a Christian cemetery in the city of Eslamshahr in the province of Tehran emerged on social media. The governor of Eslamshahr blamed the fire on a guard burning grass, IRNA reported.

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Some experts suggested that these fires may have been set deliberately.

Iran’s constitution recognizes Shia Islam as the country’s official religion and while it purports to protect religious minorities, Christians, Sunni Muslims, Jews, Baha’i’s, and others are frequently subject to harassment, detention, and even execution.

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