Chicago Baha'i community prays for change in Iran on eve of election

"There’s a saying in Persian - it takes a needle to take a thorn out of your hand”    --Mojgan Patel of Chicago

As political rallies explode throughout the streets just days before the Iranian Presidential elections and incumbent ruler Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows to cut his critics’ hands off, members of the Chicago Baha’i community are likely hoping that the moderate reform party prevails over the Islamic extremists because many of their family members are sitting in prison simply because they believe in world unity, one of the major underlying precepts of their faith.

{josquote}...its central theme is that we all belong to a single race and the time is near for the unification of humanity and the world religions into one global society, which sounds a lot more appealing than the apocalypse.{/josquote}

Baha’i Persecution

Currently there are at least 31 Iranian Baha’is in prison because of their religion, including 7 leaders of the faith that have been in jail for over a year. According to the Baha’i World News Service, thousands more have suffered harassment, including many of the following human rights violations:

  • Direct intimidation and questioning by authorities, sometimes with physical abuse
  • Confiscation of property
  • School expulsions and harassment of schoolchildren
  • Prohibition on Baha’is attending universities
  • Denial of work opportunities
  • Desecration and destruction of Baha’i cemeteries
  • Dissemination, including in official news media, of misinformation about Baha’is

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