(JTA) — A group of Islamists have threatened to destroy the tomb of Queen Esther in western Iran if Israel damages the al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem.
The Islamists, members of the student Islamist militia at Bu-Ali-Sina university of Hamedan, were identified by the Iranian Mehr news agency, according to the French news agency AFP. They demonstrated Sunday at the tomb.
"Muslims beware that they have started the destruction of Al-Aksa mosque while their second sacred site in Iran, the Esther and Mordecai tomb, is at peace and no Muslims make a sound," the protesters said in a statement.
Several construction and archeological projects on the Temple Mount have led Muslims to charge that Israel is purposely putting the al-Aksa Mosque in danger.
Up to 25,000 Jews live in Iran. Pilgrims regularly visit the Esther shrine.
Esther is the heroine of the Purim story, where she convinces her husband, King Achashverosh, to allow the Jews to defend themselves and live throughout the Persian Empire.