When will enough be enough? That’s what this latest news regarding the Baha’is of Iran makes me wonder. Iran seems quite intent on destroying its Baha’i community, while offering to the international community cowardly denials of wrongdoing; will it take a Holocaust for the world to sit up and take notice? The latest reports of persecution against the Baha’is of Iran, brought to light by the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations included reports of the widespread harassment and abuse of Baha’i schoolchildren by their teachers and school administrators (thanks to Barney Leith for the link). Many cases of harassment reported so far have been targeted at girls. Harassment has ranged from insult and ridicule, to pressure to convert to Islam, to beatings and physical abuse.
As someone who serves (however humbly) as a Baha’i children’s class teacher, it seems to me to be particularly shameful and reprehensible that the very people who are tasked with the responsibility to nurture, educate and provide for the material and spiritual development of a new generation of children, choose instead to subvert their trust, exploit their weakness, and effectively stunt the growth of those who depend on them to help them “grow and develop, and appear in the utmost beauty”.
From the Baha’i World News Service article:
Baha’i students in primary and secondary schools throughout Iran are increasingly being harassed, vilified, and held up to abuse, according to recent reports from inside the country.
During a 30-day period from mid-January to mid-February, some 150 incidents of insults, mistreatment, and even physical violence by school authorities against Baha’i students were reported as occurring in at least 10 Iranian cities.
“These new reports that the most vulnerable members of the Iranian Baha’i community — children and junior youth — are being harassed, degraded, and, in at least one case, blindfolded and beaten, is an extremely disturbing development,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.
“The increasing number of such incidents suggests a serious and shameful escalation in the ongoing persecution of Iranian Baha’is,” said Ms. Dugal. “The fact that school-aged children are being targeted by those who should rightfully hold their trust — teachers and school administrators — only makes this latest trend even more ominous.”
N.B.: Vous trouverez une traduction française de cet article sur le site web des Baha’is de France: Les enfants bahá’ís harcelés à l’école en Iran