u.n. religious freedom official expresses fears for baha’is in iran

From the Baha’i World News Service (BWNS):

UN Religious Freedom Official expresses fears for Baha’is in Iran

UNITED NATIONS, 20 March 2006 (BWNS) — Representatives of the Baha’i International Community reacted with alarm today to a United Nations official’s statement about actions of the Iranian government against the Baha’is in Iran.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir, stated that she was highly concerned and expressed her apprehensions in a press release posted today about “a confidential letter sent on 29 October 2005 by the Chairman of the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces in Iran to a number of governmental agencies.”

“The letter,” she said, “which is addressed to the Ministry of Information, the Revolutionary Guard and the Police Force, states that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, had instructed the Command Headquarters to identify persons who adhere to the Baha’i faith and monitor their activities. The letter goes on to request the recipients to, in a highly confidential manner, collect any and all information about members of the Baha’i faith.”


Such actions come in the wake of mounting media attacks on the Baha’is, the nature of which in the past have preceded government-led assaults on the Baha’is in Iran. “Kayhan,” the official Tehran daily newspaper has carried more than 30 articles about the Baha’is and their religion in recent weeks, all defamatory in ways that are meant to create provocation. Radio and television programs have joined in as well with broadcasts condemning the Baha’is and their beliefs. In addition, the rise in influence in Iranian governmental circles of the Anti-Baha’i Society, Hojjatieh, an organization committed to the destruction of the Baha’i Faith, can only heighten the fears for that beleaguered community.

Read the entire article.

Also blogged on Baha’i Blog [2], Baha’i Views, Andropolis, Life of Leif and many other blogs.

If you haven’t already, read a column by Ruth Gledhill of the Times (UK) on this issue.

writing for the right to education: baha’is in the charlatan

As a follow-up to the Fulcrum article on the same topic, The Charlatan, Carleton University’s student newspaper, ran an article about the denial of higher education to Baha’is in Iran and the greater campaign by Iran’s government to destroy the Iranian Baha’i community [1][2][3][4][5]. The article quotes Sam Benoit as chair of the Carleton CABS and Tahirih Naylor as a representative for the office of governmental relations for the Bahá’í Community of Canada. Both describe the restrictions on higher education for Bahá’ís in Iran – including the Iranian government’s numerous attempts to shut down the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education, an “Open University” organized by the Bahá’ís of Iran.

Learn more about Iran’s campaign to deny higher education to Baha’is.

Visit the University of Ottawa CABS website for more resources, including photos from Dr. Payam Akhavan’s Nov. 17th talk on the situation of the Baha’is of Iran.

wrongly imprisoned baha’i dies in iranian jail

hey. I don’t mean to look like I’m some sort of distribution agent for the Baha’i World News Service (I’m not), it’s just that there’s been so much news coming out lately. here’s the most recently-posted article:

Wrongly imprisoned Baha’i dies in Iranian jail

NEW YORK, 19 December 2005 (BWNS) — A Baha’i who was wrongly jailed in Iran for 10 years died in his prison cell of unknown causes on Thursday, 15 December 2005, the Baha’i International Community has learned.

Mr. Dhabihu’llah Mahrami, 59, was held in a government prison in Yazd under harsh physical conditions at the time of his death.

His death comes amidst ominous signs that a new wave of persecutions of Baha’is has begun. This year so far, at least 59 Baha’is have been arrested, detained or imprisoned, a figure up sharply from the last several years.

Read the entire article.

un calls on iran to stop persecution of baha’is

Newly released by the Baha’i World News Service:

UN calls on Iran to stop persecution of Baha’is

UNITED NATIONS, 17 December 2005 (BWNS) — For the 18th time since 1985, the United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution expressing “serious concern” over the human rights situation in Iran, also making specific mention of the ongoing persecution of the Baha’i community there.

The resolution, which had been put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by 46 countries including Australia, the European Union, and the United States, passed by a vote of 75 to 50 on 16 December 2005.

Read the entire article.