The Islamic Regime has been systematically discriminating against the Baha’i Community in Iran for the past 29 years. This discrimination has taken many forms including arrests, questioning by authorities and imprisonment of Bahai’s, searches of their homes and businesses, confiscation of personal belongings, school expulsions, and denial of higher education.

On December 18th 2008 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES 63/191 expressing deep concern over serious human rights violations in Iran. The resolution specifically criticized “increasing discrimination against Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Sufi’s, Sunni Muslims and other minorities.”

This resolution took particular notice of the attack on Baha’is noting “necessary evidence of efforts by the State to identify and monitor Baha’is, preventing members of the Baha’i faith from attending university, from sustaining themselves economically, and the arrest and detention of seven Baha’i leaders without charge or access to legal representation.

According to the “Canadian Baha’i National Centre” there are currently 26 Baha’is in prison, although the number may be higher, because some individuals are arrested secretly, others are arrested and released after a few days.

Of the 26 people in prison seven (7) of them are Baha’i leaders who saw to the needs of the Baha’i Community in Iran. These individuals are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, Mr Vahid Tizfahms and Mrs. Mahvash Sabet. These individuals were arrested in March and are currently in the Evin Prison.

Other prisoners include three (3) students who were arrested in Shiraz, Ms. Haleh Rouhi, Ms. Raha Sabet and Mr. Sasan Taqva who are all serving four (4) year prison terms on charges of “indirect teaching of the Baha’i Faith.”
Another very significant form of discrimination against Baha’is is systematic denial of higher education. There have been instances of students being expelled from educational institutions, with authorities openly stating that the reason is the fact that they are Baha’is.

Another very significant form of discrimination against Baha’is is systematic denial of higher education. There have been instances of students being expelled from educational institutions, with authorities openly stating that the reason is the fact that they are Baha’is.

Further during the application and enrolment process for the current academic year, it became apparent that most Baha’i students had been identified by the authorities. When the students attempted to go online to get test scores and fill in application forms, they were met with an error page stating that their file was incomplete. Without complete files, enrolment in all public and most private universities in Iran is not possible.

Other forms of discrimination and harassment have included destruction of Baha’i cemeteries and circulation of anti-Baha’i petitions by Regime Agents.

Although the Baha’i Community has been facing systematic discrimination and harassment, they have been active in trying to overcome these obstacles. For example the Baha’i Community has been very active in developing “underground” universities in order to pursue higher education.

Aside from the Baha’i Community’s own activities, there are also things we can do as individuals, bloggers and human rights activists, to help their situation. In order to provide some suggestions I have contacted the Canadian Baha’i National Centre and they have been kind enough to offer to help me in this regard. Please stay tuned for my next article which will focus on what can be done to fight against discrimination and harassment of the Baha’i Community in Iran.


Sayeh Hassan
Shiro-khorshid-forever.blogspot.com

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