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Michigan Islamic center honors ‘Butcher of Tehran,’ other Iranian ‘martyrs’ killed in helicopter crash

A Michigan Islamic center held a memorial Thursday for Iranian leaders, including one known as “the Butcher of Tehran,” who were killed in a helicopter crash last weekend, a move that came amid other tributes that sparked anger given Iran’s ties to global terrorism. 

The Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights posted a flyer to its Facebook page saying it was standing in solidarity with the people of Iran and advocates of “peace and justice globally” to honor Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi; Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian; Malek Rahmati, the governor-general of East Azerbaijan province in Iran; and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, an Iranian jurist, who all died Sunday, as well as a cleric who died separately. 

Raisi, Amirabdollahian, Al-Hashem and Rahmati were killed after the helicopter they were in crashed in the Dizmar Forest in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. They were returning to Tehran after traveling to Iran’s border with Azerbaijan to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.

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People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

“The global community is grappling with this tragedy, unsure whether it was a catastrophic accidental crash or a deliberate evil act of terrorism,” a mosque flyer states. 

The crash killed eight people, including three crew members. 

Raisi, nicknamed the “Butcher of Tehran,” was best known for his oversight of mass executions of political prisoners in 1988, which forced Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to install interim leadership for Iran’s executive branch.

The Biden administration and the United Nations Security Council have been criticized for issuing condolences and holding a moment of silence for the victims of the crash despite Iran’s well-documented human rights abuses and its support for terrorism worldwide, particularly against Israel and the United States. 

Mourners in Iran gather around procession for President Raisi

Mourners gather around a truck during a funeral ceremony in Tabriz, Iran, May 21, 2024, carrying the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions killed in a helicopter crash.  (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

“We have been quite clear that Ebrahim Raisi was a brutal participant in the repression of the Iranian people for nearly four decades,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Monday. “He was involved in numerous horrific human rights abuses, including playing a key role in the extrajudicial killing of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. 

“Some of the worst human rights abuses occurred during his tenure as president, especially the human rights abuses against the women and girls of Iran.”

Iran helicopter crash search team

Rescue team members search for the wreckage of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Iran. (Azin Haghighi, Moj News Agency via AP)

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Fox News Digital has reached out to the Islamic center. 

Thursday’s event also honored Ali Al-Kourani, a senior ayatollah in Lebanon, who died on May 19 in Iran. In the flyer, the Islamic center said it was honoring the memories of the “Righteous souls of the Martyrs of the Islamic Ummah,” meaning the Muslim community.

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