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bullet.gif (837 bytes) The Bahá'ís
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Unity in Diversity
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Bahá'u'lláh
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Social and Moral
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Spiritual Beliefs of
the Bahá'í Faith
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A System for
Global Governance
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A Century of
Growth and
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) New Approaches
to Old Problems
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Towards the New
World Order

The Persecution of Bahá'ís in Iran


Throughout the past century, the Bahá'ís of Iran have been persecuted. With the triumph of the Islamic revolution in 1979, this persecution has been systematized. More than 200 Bahá'ís have been executed or killed, hundreds more have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have been deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities. All national Bahá'í administrative structures have been banned by the Government, and holy places, shrines and cemeteries have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed.

The 350,000-member Bahá'í community comprises the largest religious minority in that country, and Bahá'ís have been oppressed solely because of religious hatred. Islamic fundamentalists in Iran and elsewhere have long viewed the Bahá'í Faith as a threat to Islam and have branded the Bahá'ís as heretics. The progressive stands of the Faith on women's rights, independent investigation of truth, and education have particularly rankled Muslim clerics.

In June 1983, for example, the Iranian authorities arrested ten Bahá'í women and girls. The charge against them: teaching children's classes on the Bahá'í Faith--the equivalent of Sunday school in the West.

The women were subjected to intense physical and mental abuse in an effort to coerce them to recant their Faith--an option that is always pressed on Bahá'í prisoners. Yet, like most Bahá'ís who were arrested in Iran, they refused to deny their beliefs. As a result, they were executed.

International protest against the persecution has been widespread. Thousands of newspaper articles about the situation of the Bahá'ís in Iran have appeared around the world. Prominent international organizations, including the European Parliament and several national legislatures, have passed resolutions condemning or expressing concern about the Bahá'ís of Iran. Most important, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly have pressed the Iranian regime to observe international human rights covenants with yearly resolutions--resolutions that have paid specific attention to the Bahá'í situation.

In response to this international outcry, the most violent aspects of this persecution had abated by the early 1990s--although at least one Bahá'í, a 50-year old Teheran businessman, was killed by the Government in 1992. However, the Bahá'ís of Iran remain without any fundamental guarantee of their right to practice their religion freely, and international efforts to win their emancipation continue.

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"Excerpted from The Bahá'ís, a publication of the Bahá'í International Community."

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Photo from page 58
Mona Mahmudnizhad [above], 17, was one of ten Bahá'í women [below] executed by the Iranian Government in Shiraz on 18 June 1983. Mona's only crime was her steadfast belief in Bahá'u'lláh.
Photo from page 59

Graph from page 59
The number of Bahá'ís killed in Iran each year dropped sharply after the United Nations General Assembly began in 1985 expressing concern in a series of resolutions.







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