Islamic Tolerance Alert from Tajikistan, from the BBC, with thanks to LGN:
The authorities in the central Asian republic of Tajikistan have started to demolish the country’s last synagogue.
It is being destroyed to make way for the construction of a new presidential complex in the capital, Dushanbe.
Members of Tajikistan’s ancient Jewish community say they have not been given adequate compensation to enable them to build a new synagogue.
Jews have lived in Tajikistan for many centuries, but the community declined after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Bulldozers have already destroyed part of the compound. The demolition of the synagogue building itself is expected to go ahead later in the year.
Dushanbe’s small Jewish community, mostly poor and elderly, have almost resigned themselves to losing their only place of worship.
But they say the distant plot of land the government has given them in exchange is inadequate compensation.
They cannot afford to build a new synagogue, and they say the new land, on the edge of the city, is too far away.
Afraid to speak out
The current synagogue sits on a prime site in the middle of the capital, where the government is building a large new office complex for the president.
The rabbi says the community still hopes the government, or international Jewish groups, will help them to acquire an appropriate building for a new synagogue.
But people familiar with the Jewish community in Dushanbe say those opposed to the demolition had been threatened by officials and most of the congregation are afraid to speak out.