Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Discrimination against Baha'i of Iran

The Baha'i religion is a new world religion that started about 160 years ago in Iran. Baha'i faith, just like every other religion went through a lot of sacrifices to get their voices heard. Knowing over 2 million people practice the Baha'i religion, I would be confident to say that it is a world religion, and some 300,000 Baha'is live throughout Iran, making the Baha'i faith the largest minority religion in this country.
The trouble for Baha'is range from imprisonment for many believers to decapitation. The reason for this major discrimination being that Muslims do not believe there would or should be another religion after Islam.
Believers of the Baha'i religion have been prosecuted since the beginning of their era until there was a change in the government and as a result of that for almost three decades Baha'is were able to live a normal life.
Nearly hundred years after the birth of the Baha'i faith, after the Islamic revolution in Iran, the nightmare had started again. . With more than 200 Baha'is executed, thousands imprisoned, and tens of thousands of jobs lost their situation is worsening daily.
The count on murdered and imprisoned Baha'is just keeps getting higher to the point that many Baha'i families were forced give up their possessions and leave the country.
One of the most talked about martyrs in the Baha'i faith is Mona. in October of 1982, in the city of Shiraz Mona, a Baha’i teenage girl was taken away from her home in the middle of the night, and was taken to the prison. She was held imprisoned with nine other female Baha'i members, their crime? Teaching bahai children about the faith. They were repeatedly questioned and asked to deny their religion. And had been put through lots of intense psychological and mental abuse, but they refused to deny their faith, which led to their execution on Math 12th 1983.
Of course the Islamic Republic did not stop at putting Baha'is lives in danger and destructing their properties. Sometime ago Baha'i cemeteries around the country were demolished, some for the first time and some for as far as the 18th time.
Using large trucks and bulldozers, a number of unknown individuals destroyed and excavated Baha’i Cemeteries and wrote hate notes on tum-stones and walls.
Similar attempts have continued on, to force Baha'is to refrain from their religion.
On September 1998 (7/7/1377), all around the country the houses of the BIHE leaders were attacked. BIHE is a university built by the hands of the Baha'i teachers and professors who were fired from their jobs after the revolution. All the files, computers, books, and much more were confiscated, many teachers were arrested and imprisoned for days, thankfully all were released and charges were dropped.
Only two years later, in the beginning school year of 2000, Baha'i students were asked to identify themselves, and at that time nearly 250 student were expelled from schools for practicing the Baha'i faith.
In more recent attempts counting the seven people in Tehran who formerly constituted the Friends(Yaran) in Iran, at least 33 Iranian Baha’is are in prison because of their religion.
The number of Baha’is in detention varies frequently because new people are arrested but others released after posting cash, property deeds, or business licenses as collateral.
Since the beginning of 2009, Baha’is have been arrested or detained in Tehran, Ghaemshahr, Mashhad, Sari, Yazd, Shiraz, Semnan, Hamadan, Babol, Karaj, Tonekabon, Miandoah, Mahforouzak, and Kashan.
The collateral required for temporary release from custody is often exorbitant. A woman in Semnan who was arrested this summer and released two weeks later was required to post bail in the amount of 100 million tumans – approximately $100,000.
The court cases of more than 200 Baha’is are still active. These include individuals in prison, those who have been released pending trial, those who have appealed their verdicts, those awaiting notification to begin serving prison sentences, and a few who are serving periods of internal exile. Thousands more have been questioned, threatened, or deprived of pensions, livelihood or education.
Although the trial of seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned in Iran for more than 17 months was scheduled for today, when attorneys and families arrived at the court offices in Tehran they were told it would not take place. No new trial date has been set.
"The time has come for these seven innocent people to be immediately released on bail," said Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
"The seven, whose only 'crime' is their religious belief, are once again in legal limbo, held with no idea of the legal process ahead of them. The whole charade cries out for an end to their unlawful detention," she said.
Seven Friend(Yaran) of Iran were arrested with the accusations of espionage for Israel, propaganda against Iran and “insulting religious sanctities” 17 months ago. And sometimes in June the false accusations were joined by another accusation “spreading of corruption on earth” which is said to “carry threat of death” under Iran's penal code. Although the anniversary of their imprisonment in around the corner, their cases have not yet gone to trial! And have been faced with new accusations every so often.


Susan Maneck said...

The Yarin Baha's were supposed to be tried yesterday, Oct. 20. Does anyone know if this happened?

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