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Persecution – No laughing matter

26 February, 2009

Whenever a group of people are systematically targeted by a government, it is my view that whatever your occupation or background, you should try to  share the story of those facing hardships with who you can. One such case which is close to my heart is the trial of a group of  Baha’is in Iran, they are denied many liberties because of their religious conviction which differs from the Muslim majority. At present they face charges of espionage which could lead to their execution, even though it has been internationally viewed that they are being held without due process, and that this is all a part of an going persecution.

Now in the United Kingdom, there has been appeals by the government and some high ranked religious leaders, who have spoken out against the unjust trial, but would you believe it that the stand-up comedians have joined this spirit of goodwill? By signing an open letter in defence of the Baha’is published in The Times online, this mirrors a recent commentary from another public entertainment figure, actor Rainn Wilson.  Here is an extract of the article:

The prosecution of the leaders is the latest development in a 30-year-long systematic effort orchestrated by the government to eliminate the 300,000 member Bahá’í community in Iran, where the faith began in the mid-19th century. Documentary evidence has been provided by United Nations agencies on this campaign of religious persecution against Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority.The seven detained Bahá’ís had been looking after the basic needs of Iran’s 300,000-strong Bahá’í community after all Bahá’í institutions were banned by the Iranian government following the 1979 Islamic revolution. In the absence of any national governing council, the informal group of seven was formed with the full knowledge of the government who had routine dealings with them.

“As artists who strive to uplift the human spirit and enrich society through our work,” wrote the comedians, “we register our solidarity with all those in Iran who are being persecuted for promoting the best development of society – be it through the arts and media, the promotion of education, social and economic development, or adherence to moral principles.”

Most of the comedians who have signed this letter are ones that I enjoy watching on Live at the Apollo on the BBC, some of which do tackle serious issues such as Omid Djalili (although maybe in more of a comic way), certainly this time it is more of a sobering message of solidarity.  This essentially is  an issue which deals with the basic human right of freedom of belief, I believe this trial can be a thought-provoking talking point to all people who wish to maintain this fundamental principle.

UPDATE: Sky News covers story

One Comment leave one →
  1. Charlotte Paquette permalink
    24 June, 2009 03:45

    I’m a lazy Baha’i but have been raised as as one and Bahulla (wrong spelling) is is in by heart for ever.

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