August 23, 2006
Brutalizing the Baha'i in IranBy Amil Imani
Islam, the 'religion of peace,' is anything but peaceful, particularly when it comes to other religions. To the oppressive Islam, there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet—the seal of the prophets at that. Grudgingly, Islam barely tolerates people of the book—namely Jews and Christians—but no other faith is entitled to any fair treatment. In Iran, the force—imposed Islam finds it expedient to extend its limited tolerance to the original religion of the indigenous people—the Zoroastrians.
The terrible plight of the Baha'i faithful in Iran is particularly heartwrenching, since they are the largest non—Muslim group in the country and have, from day one, been severely brutalized by Muslims. The Baha'i Faith dates back to the middle of the 19th century when an Iranian nobleman, Baha'u'llah, founded the new faith as an independent religion—a very painful thorn in the side of a ruling vested clergy with a stranglehold on the masses.
The slaveholder, Islam, finds the Baha'i Faith a threat to its very existence, since many of the Baha'i teachings are anathema to that of Islamofascism—the current favorite version of Islam in official Iran. Below is a brief list that contrasts some of the two beliefs. Beliefs are impetus to action and when beliefs clash, people clash.
* The chosen people. Muslims believe that they are the chosen people of God and recognize no other system of belief as legitimate. Baha'is believe that all people are the chosen people of God—that there is only one God, one religion of God, and one people of God, the entire human race.
* Progressive Revelation. Muslims contend that Muhammad is the seal of the Prophets, that God sent his best and final messenger to mankind, and any other claimant is an imposter worthy of death. Baha'is believe that God has always sent his emissaries to educate humanity and shall do so in the future. They believe that Baha'u'llah is the latest in that line of prophets.
* Independent thinking. Blind imitation and obedience to any authority is anathema to Baha'is. Baha'is believe that the human mind and the gift of reason should guide the person in making decisions about all matters. To this end, they place a premium on education and independent investigation of truth. Baha'is consider the education of women as important as that of men, since women are the early teachers of children and can play their valuable part by being themselves educated. By contrast, Muslims look for to religious authorities for guidance and often deprive women of education and independent thinking.
In recognition of the importance of independent thinking, no one is born Baha'i. Once one is born to a Muslim, he is considered Muslim for life. If he decides to leave Islam, he is labeled apostate and, apostates are automatically condemned to death. The slaveholders are intent on keeping all their slaves as well as their issue. By contrast, every child born in a Baha'i family is required to make his own independent decision regarding whether or not he wishes to be a Baha'i. Freedom to choose and independent thinking are cherished values of the Baha'is, in stark contrast to that of Muslims.
* Harmony of religion and science. Baha'is believe that truth transcends all boundaries. Scientific and religious truth emanates from the same universal source. They are like the two sides of the same coin. To Baha'is, science and religion are as two wings of a bird that enable human flight toward the summit of its potential; that any religious belief that contradicts science is superstition. Muslims believe that their religious dogma, irrespective of its proven falsehood, is superior to that of science. The Muslims literally believe, for instance, that Muhammad unsheathed his sword and split the moon in half and many, many more scientifically—untenable views.
* Equality of men and women. Muslims hold the view, expressly stated in the Quran, that men are rulers over women. Baha'is fully reject this notion and subscribe to the unconditional equality of the two sexes. This Baha'i principle emancipates one half of humanity from the status of subservient domestic to that of a fully participating and self—actualized human. It undermines the heartless exploitation of women and demands that women be treated with all due respect under the law.
* Participatory decision—making. Islam, by its very nature, is patriarchal and authoritarian. Baha'is believe in the value of decision making through the practice of consultation—a process where everyone, irrespective of any and all considerations—has a voice in making decisions. This participatory decision—making principle abrogates a major prerogative of Islamic mullahs who have been the great beneficiaries of dictating matters to their liking and advantage. Also, at all levels of society, including the family, all affected members have the opportunity, even the responsibility, to make their views known without fear. Baha'i teachings clearly emphasize this commitment to a democratic decision—making in their scripture, 'The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.'
* World—embracing outlook. Baha'is love their native countries, yet extend that same love to the entire planet and its people. Baha'is believe that love has no limit and need not have limits. One can love his country and love the world at the same time. This love of the world is frequently used as a pretense by the Islamofascists to accuse the Baha'is of Iran as traitors to their own homeland. It is for this reason that the present mullahs ruling of Iran falsely claim that the Baha'is are agents of the Zionist Israel and its American sponsor.
* Eradication of prejudice. Prejudice of any type is alien to the Baha'i Faith and severely undermines its pivotal principle of the oneness of humanity. Muslims are notorious when it comes to prejudice. Prejudice against others is thoroughly exploited by the Islamofascist. In contrast, Baha'i scriptures say, '...again, as to religious, racial, national and political bias: all these prejudices strike at the very root of human life; one and all they beget bloodshed, and the ruination of the world. So long as these prejudices survive, there will be continuous and fearsome wars.'
The above is a short treatment of some of the salient features of the two belief systems—one dating back some fourteen centuries and one of relatively recent origin. It is understandable that the intolerant defunct fascist Islam sees its death in a competing ideology vastly at odds with its barbaric tenets.
It is of further interest that the same land, Iran, which gave the world the magnificent religion of Zoroaster, once again has given birth to another religion of humanistic values.
We do not promote religion here. Yet, we feel that there are many religions practiced throughout the world, with beliefs and practices that are, by far, more human and humane than Islam.
We also feel for our long—suffering Baha'i compatriots in Iran. They have been savagely brutalized for over a century and a half through the demonic machinations of the despicable mullahs. They continue to pay dearly for their audacity to believe in human dignity. It is the duty of all free and enlightened humans to confront Islamofascism—the deathly ideology that is once again on a rampage; an ideology that is creeping out of its traditional zone of terror to the rest of the world; an ideology that holds the promise of destroying, in its path, all that is dear to enlightened humanity.
Amil Imani is an Iranian—born American citizen and pro—democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist, literary translator, novelist and an essayist who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website.