the baha’is of iran… in 1980

amazing video here, sent over by a fellow baha’i blogger. it’s a news feature from 20/20, back in 1980—during the peak of the persecutions of Baha’is of Iran. even more amazing when you think about how little has changed in 27 years… find the video on google video. thanks Marco for the link.

Warning: The following video contains graphic imagery, which may upset certain viewers.

update on the baha’is of iran

A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha'is of IranA new baha’i blog focusing on the plight of Iran’s Bahá’ís has recently seen the light—perhaps following in the footsteps of the successful blog Baha’i Faith in Egypt—and it seems poised to be a promising source of information on the situation of the Bahá’ís of Iran.

The most recent post features a Bahá’í World News Service press release that announces the release of a recent report from the Connecticut-based Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) on the situation of Iran’s Bahá’ís. The 60-page report expresses concern that Iranian Bahá’ís “may soon face another cycle of repression and violence”. You can read the original press release.

Also of interest may be a photo that appeared on iranian.com and was blogged on the portuguese Baha’i blog Povo de Bahá a few days ago. The photo shows an anti-Baha’i display set up outside a mosque in Iran. My Persian’s getting better, but it’s still too rusty to understand what’s written on the signs.
Anti-Baha'i display outside a mosque in Iran

From the website: The book stand in front of the mosque has a green banner reading: offering books for Recognition of the “Devious Baha’i sect”. I’m assuming this means they’re offering books that misrepresent the Baha’i Faith and passing them off as Baha’i scripture.

un general assembly expresses concern on human rights in iran

Here’s news from the Baha’i World News Service regarding the latest resolution adopted by the UN’s General Assembly on the situation of human rights in Iran. A recent story mentioned a similar resolution being passed by the General Assembly’s Third Committee.

UN General Assembly approves resolution expressing concern on human rights in Iran

UNITED NATIONS, 20 December 2006 (BWNS) — The United Nations General Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution expressing “serious concern” over the human rights situation in Iran, including the escalation of violations against Iranian Baha’is. […]

Put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by 43 countries, the resolution calls on Iran to “eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination based on religious, ethnic or linguistic grounds, and other human rights violations against persons belonging to minorities, including Arabs, Azeris, Baha’is, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Sufis, and Sunni Muslims.”

The resolution takes particular note of the worsening situation facing Iran’s 300,000-member Baha’i community, noting “reports of plans by the state to identify and monitor Baha’is,” “an increase in cases of arbitrary arrest and detention,” and “the denial of freedom of religion or of publicly carrying out communal affairs.”

The resolution also expresses concern over the “destruction of sites of religious importance” to Baha’is and “the suspension of social, educational and community-related activities and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, adequate housing and other benefits” for Baha’is.

Read the whole story.

un expresses “serious concern” over human rights in iran

A UN resolution passed yesterday, originally put forward by Canada, made specific mention of the worsening plight of Iran’s Baha’is. From the Baha’i World News Service:

Uniting Nations by shrued (cc)UN expresses “serious concern” over human rights in Iran, including the situation of Baha’is

UNITED NATIONS, 22 November 2006 (BWNS) — A committee of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday passed a resolution expressing “serious concern” over the human rights situation in Iran, including the escalation of violations against Iranian Baha’is.

The resolution passed the Assembly’s Third Committee by a vote of 70 to 48 on 21 November 2006. It will now go to the General Assembly plenary for vote, in December. The Third Committee considers human rights issues for the Assembly.

Put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by 43 countries, the resolution calls on Iran to “eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination based on religious, ethnic or linguistic grounds, and other human rights violations against persons belonging to minorities, including Arabs, Azeris, Baha’is, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Sufis, and Sunni Muslims.”

The resolution takes particular note of the worsening situation facing Iran’s 300,000-member Baha’i community, noting “reports of plans by the state to identify and monitor Baha’is,” “an increase in cases of arbitrary arrest and detention,” and “the denial of freedom of religion or of publicly carrying out communal affairs.”

The resolution also expresses concern over the “destruction of sites of religious importance” to Baha’is and “the suspension of social, educational and community-related activities and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, adequate housing and other benefits” for Baha’is.

Read the whole story.

photo by shrued (creative commons)

iran steps up secret monitoring of baha’is

From the Bahá’í World News Service:

Iran steps up secret monitoring of Baha’is

19 August 2006 letter from Iran's Ministry of the InteriorNEW YORK, 2 November 2006 (BWNS) — In an ominous move, Iran’s Ministry of Interior has ordered officials throughout the country to step up the surveillance of Iranian Baha’is focusing in particular on their community activities.

The Ministry has requested provincial officials to complete a detailed questionnaire about the circumstances and activities of local Baha’is, including their “financial status,” “social interactions,” and “association with foreign assemblies,” among other things.

The Ministry’s order came in a letter dated 19 August 2006 and addressed to provincial deputies of the Department of Politics and Security in Offices of the Governors’ General throughout Iran.

The 19 August letter, which was recently obtained by the Baha’i International Community, asks these deputies to order “relevant offices to cautiously and sensitively monitor and supervise” all Baha’i social activities.

The letter is the latest in a series of threatening documents that outline a secret national effort to identify and monitor Baha’is in Iran.

Read the whole story.

defense of iran’s baha’is from canadian parliament

I couldn’t help but share this with you all; it’s heartening to know that members of Parliament actually stand up and take notice of the plight of the Baha’is of Iran. From the Canadian Baha’i News Service (CBNS):

parliament all lined upCanadian Bahá’ís acknowledge MPs’ efforts to defend Bahá’ís in Iran

OTTAWA, ON, 11 October 2006 (CBNS) — As Parliament resumes this fall, Bahá’ís around Canada have expressed gratitude for the concern Members of Parliament have shown upon hearing reports of activities that suggest the Iranian government is preparing to intensify its persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran.

To date, approximately 120 Members of Parliament have met with representatives of local Bahá’í communities in Canada to discuss the mounting evidence that the government in Iran is intent on suppressing the rights of its country’s Bahá’í community.

By the time the first session of Parliament ended back in June, four Members had individually spoken out in defence of the Bahá’ís in Iran, including one Member who introduced a private motion that explicitly called on the international community to convince the Iranian government to cease its discrimination against the Bahá’ís.

“The Bahá’ís have been oppressed solely because of religious intolerance. The progressive stands of the Bahá’ís on women’s issues [and] education have particularly infuriated Muslim clerics,” said the Honourable Bryon Wilfert to the House of Commons in June.

“The pattern of actions by the Iranian authorities is threatening,” he continued. “It is essential that Canada play a role in promoting human rights for Bahá’ís around the world.”

The Honourable Keith Martin and Louise Thibeault were the other two Members who referred to the human rights violations being carried out against Bahá’ís in Iran. The Honourable Alexa McDonough introduced the private member’s motion urging Canada to take a lead role in convincing the Iranian government to stop discriminating against its country’s religious minorities.

Read the entire article.