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March 13, 2009
Iranian persecution of Baha'is
While New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote several controversial columns contending, that aside from hangings, threats of hangings, imprisonment, intimidation, persecution and major restrictions, Jews in Iran lead a good life, as is true for other Iranian minorities. American Thinker's Ed Lasky and Thomas Lifson, factually disagreed
Writing in the Telegraph, Dr. Nazila Ghanea, a lecturer in Human Rights law at the University of Oxford, forcefully and factually describes the plight of another persecuted Iranian minority, the Baha'is.
Iran's persecution of Bahá'ís is devastatingAha! Israel! Jews! Baha'is! Israel! (The Baha'i headquarters and main religious institution are located in Haifa, Israel.) Another belief system besides the Iranian approved Muslim version.
But now a new embargo on freedom of expression has formally been announced. Iran’s Prosecutor General, Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, has declared that the very expression of affiliation to the Bahá’í faith is illegal. This was communicated in a letter to the Minister of Intelligence, Ghulam-Husayn Ejeyee, who needs no encouragement to violate rights. Human Rights Watch named him one of Iran's 'Ministers of Murder' four years ago.
According to the Prosecutor General , everyone is free to have his own belief and faith. “However, no expression or declaration in order to disparage the thought of others, nor any attempt to teach them resulting in deception and agitation of minds is permitted.”
He goes on to determine that “the administration of the wayward Baha’i sect at all levels is illegal and forbidden … their danger to national security is documented and well-established.”
Bahá’ís in Iran are provided with all facilities afforded other Iranian citizens, and are respected as human beings, “but not as insiders, spies, or a political grouplet supported by Britain and Israel to cause disturbance in Iran”. Much kindness had always been shown Bahá’í citizens of Iran, he asserted, but there was “opposition to the relations of many of them with the enemies of the Iranian nation and particularly with Israel.”
As Ghanea concludes
The outright prohibition on all declaration or expression of Bahá’í belief along with the ban on all their organisational structures, is all the more devastating for a community which does not have a clerical religious structure and is entering its thirty-first year of severe persecution.
Iran’s criminalisation of the freedom of expression rights of hundreds of its Bahá’í citizens does not bode well for the wider cause of opinion, thought and conscience.
But, once again, as Cohen might have asked Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"