Iran

Persecution of the Baha’is

The Baha’is are adherents of a 19th century Persian prophet, Baha Ullah, who preached equality and world government. Its present religious dogma seeks “universal peace” for all humanity.

Though not the only victims of religious persecution in the world, the Baha’is deserve special mention.  There are only a handful of governments in the world which totally integrate religion with politics. Iran is one of them.  This then, is what places the persecution of the Baha’is, a basically passive religion, in such a unique light.  There are some 300,000 adherents of this faith in Iran, all of whom have been targets of what can only be described as a genocide campaign by Iran’s fundamentalist theocracy.  In fact, beginning with Ayatollah Khomeni’s government in the 1980′s there was established a department for the inquisition directed toward religions other than Shiite, and especially the Baha’is.  For example, elected leaders of the Baha’i national council faced an automatic death sentence – some 200 having been executed between 1979 and 1984 alone. The Khomeni government acted with impunity against the Baha’i, because members of this religious minority were considered “non-persons’ under its constitution, and accordingly afforded no protection in Iranian courts.

More insidious is the economic persecution. Baha’i families have been, and are continued to be, pushed out of their jobs and denied access to schools. Bahai pensioners and former civil servants were forced to refund all pension checks received from the previous government of the Shah.

A sad example is the case of Dhabihu’llah Mahrami who had been a prisoner of the State in Yazd for more than 10 years.  His crime:  he was a Baha’i.  He had only to disavow his religion to be released.  He didn’t.  Finally on December 15, 2005 he died of unknown causes while still in prison.  Subsequently, the Baha’i leadership pronounced him a martyr, a hollowed title bestowed by that religion.

For further information on the Baha’i, click here

Discrimination against the Jews

The previous Shia president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one-time Republican Guard commander, continued the national policy of the Ayatollah Khomeni’s tradition by calling for the destruction of Israel – simply because they are Jews; having made many statements such as desiring to erase “this disgraceful blot (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world”.  HIs successor who was elected in 2013, Hassan Rouhani, though more moderate in his demeanor and speeches, has not repudiated nor altered Ahmadinejad’s policy.