Tag Archives: Bahais

Iran Tightens Pressure On Bahai Community

The ongoing attempt by Iranian officials to crush its Bahai community continues with the latest example of lies about a group whose main crime in the eyes of Muslim fanatics is believing in the oneness of humanity and acceptance of all people on an equal basis. the Iranian newspaper, Resalat, reported “seven Bahai individuals have set up illegal organizations with connections to a number of countries, including Israel and they have received orders from them to undertake measures against the Islamic system.” The so-called “confessions” were simply statements extracted through torture and intimidation of innocent people. Over the past twenty years at least 200 Bahais have been executed by Iranian authorities, usually on charges of being foreign agents.

The destruction of Bahai property and holy places continues on a regular basis because religious fundamentalists can not accept those living in their midst who advocate peace and love. Attacks on the community have increased since Ahmadinejad assumed office in 2004. Yesterday, three men and a woman were sentenced to death for their alleged connections to Israel.

Hopefully, one day the people of Iran will have gotten rid of the thugs who control their nation and use violence against the innocent under the guise of religion.

Baha’i Threatened In Iran

Lost in discussions about Iran is any concern about the situation of the Baha’i sect which has many members in that nation. The Baha’i faith is viewed by Iranian officials as a heretical offshoot of the Muslim religion and since its inception during the 19th century its members have been persecuted and imprisoned. After the defeat of the Shah the new Muslim regime has increased its hostility toward Baha’is. During the past few weeks, six Baha’i leaders were arrested and sent to the notorious Evin prison which recalls similar events during the 1980s when several Baha’i leaders were executed on trumped up charges.

The Baha’i faith emphasizes a universality of people and works for world peace. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to their plight since Baha’is feel powerless to aid their fellow countrymen in Iran.

Religious Freedom Victories In Egypt!

Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court issued two decisions which strengthen the right to freedom of religion in their nation. In one ruling, the Court upheld the right of Coptic Chrisitians who had converted to the Muslim religion to change their mind and have their Christian identify listed on identify cards which are extremely important in Egypt for virtually any official document. Mamdouh Nakhla, a human rights activist said: “This opens the door of hope to hundreds of Copts.” In another decision, the Court ruled that members of the Bahai faith had the right to leave blank the indication of one’s religious faith which is required on official documents. At present, the only religions officially recognized in Egtypt are Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The only current way Bashais can got to school is to lie and say they are Christian or Muslim.

At first, these decisions appear to benefit Bahais and Christians, but there is a darker side to the problem. A Christian who switches back to his religion will have evidence of the change on an identify card. This will undoubtedly result in job discrimination.

Egyptian Bahais– Stateless People In Their Own Country

Lost in discussions concerning religious rights is the issue of Bahais in nations like Iran and Egypt. The Egyptian government presently only recognizes a death certificate issues by Christian, Jewish, or Muslim officials so if someone in the Bahai faith dies, they are still living as far as Egyptian law is concerned. Shady Samir, a Bahai Cairo businessman, continues paying taxes on his dead father’s business because there is no death certificate that ever has been issued. Certificates, Identify cards, of passports are necessary documents in the modern world but they can not be obtained by members of the Bahai faith in Egypt. Egyptian Bahais who refuse to pose as Christian, Muslims or Jews are left in limbo, living as stateless people in the land of their birth. Raqi Labib, a student at Cairo University is denied a passport because he refused to state membership in one of the three recognized religions.

The Bahais remain one of the most persecuted people in the Middle East. Palestinians or Iranians or Egyptians who complain about Israel’s denial of rights for Muslims are remarkably silent when it comes to how their own nations deny rights to Bahais. Many Muslim fundamentalists regard Bahais as apostates even though Bahais do not consider themselves members of the Muslim religion. In Egypt, a common practice is for Bahai parents to send their children to private schools because they lack legal documents allowing them to be in public schools. Perhaps, Muslim leaders can address the rights of Bahais as they argue for Palestinian rights.