Bahais persecuted shamelessly
Monday, May 15, 2006
When the big news is nuclear, the day-to-day oppression of human
beings may easily be obscured. So members of the Bahai faith worldwide
welcomed the exposure provided by a recent statement of United Nations
Human Rights Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir, saying she was
"highly concerned by information she has received concerning the
treatment of members of the Bahai community in
Sadly, this is not the first time that oppressed community has been the object of concern.
Since the inception of the Bahai faith in
Attacks have been increasing in both depth and breadth since the
early 1990s, commencing with a secret Iranian government document
unearthed by the U.N. Human Rights Commission. The document, written by
This policy of slow strangulation was furthered when the government, which had systematically deprived Bahais of higher education, also blocked Bahai efforts to establish their own institutions of higher learning. Bahais would be allowed to attend colleges and universities only if they recant their faith and declare themselves as Muslims, which the Bahais refuse to do on principle.
With each new election,
Then came the disturbing developments spoken of by Jahangir, who raised the alarm because of 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" instructing them to "identify persons who adhere to the Bahai faith and monitor their activities" and "in a highly confidential manner, collect any and all information about members of the Bahai faith." The Anti-Defamation League has said this directive "sets a dangerous precedent" and is "reminiscent of the laws imposed on European Jews in the 1930s."
One disquieting example of this monitoring, detailed on the Bahai World News Service Web site, was the discovery in early February that the Association of Iranian Chambers of Commerce has begun compiling lists of Bahais. The implication is that Bahais may be targeted in their places of employment, cutting them off from their source of livelihood.
While Bahais constitute
The key principles of Bah<135>'u'll<135>h's teachings are the oneness and wholeness of the human race, that there is only one God, and that all the world religions are expressions of a single, unfolding divine plan. The faith, the youngest of the world's independent monotheistic religions, has adherents in virtually every country.
Members of the Bahai faith still have no rights under the Iranian
constitution, and they are still classified as "unprotected
Meanwhile, we must at least bring these unjust actions into the light of day, because the longer they remain in darkness, the greater the jeopardy for members of this oppressed com- munity.
Vida Ellins was born and raised in
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