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Stop religious persecution in Iran

17 February, 2009

The spotlight is increasingly being pointed towards Iran in 2009 in various ways, it seems the world is wondering what their relationship with this somewhat mysterious country should be, and if there is any room for mutual understanding.  After all it is a youthful country (population wise) rich in; cultures, traditions, academics so what about human rights? This is undoubtedly one area where Iran has failed on all accounts, including its international obligations to freedom of belief and expression, take for instance how its religious minorities are systematically persecuted.

This is most apparent with the estimated 350,000 Bahá’ís of Iran, who were severely persecuted following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.  Through the turbulent years that past, this community have been tested in unspeakable ways, recent arrests of prominent Baha’is in Iran have sparked outrage,  after being held for many months without contact with the lawyer who wishes to take their case (Nobel Peace Prize winner) Shirin Ebadi. These seven Bahá’ís are facing charges including allegedly spying for Israel, among other baseless accusations. Nevertheless, these ‘crimes’ which if used to convict these men and women, are punishable by the death penalty in the Iranian Islamic state.

American actor Rainn Wilson added his thoughtful and concise comments on the matter, appearing in the online ‘World – Middle East’ section of  CNN:

Why write about all this now? Well, I’m glad you asked. You see there’s a ‘trial’ going on very soon for seven Baha’i national leaders in Iran.

They’ve been accused of all manner of things including being “spies for Israel,” “insulting religious sanctities” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”

They’ve been held for a year in Evin Prison in Tehran without any access to their lawyer (the Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi) and with zero evidence of any of these charges.

When a similar thing happened in 1980, the national leadership of the Iranian Baha’i community disappeared. And this was repeated again in 1981.

In fact, since 1979, more than 200 Baha’is have been killed, holy places and cemeteries desecrated, homes burned, civil rights taken away and secret lists compiled of Baha’is (and even Muslims who associate with them) by government agencies.

Please blog if you can and contact your local government representative USA or UK.

Stay informed:

  • Baha’i World News Service (Link)
  • Amnesty International’s appeal (PDF)
  • British government’s appeal (Link)
  • American government’s resolution (Link)
  • European Union’s declaration (PDF)

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