Bahais in Iran

19 Facts about Baha'i spies in Iran

To: The Respected President of the Guinness Book of World Records

Dear Sir,

We would like to nominate Iran for consideration as the world record holder with respect to the nineteen (19) accomplishments below:

  1. Iran is the first country in the world to label over 400,000 followers of the same religions as spies.
  2. Iran is the first country in the world where spies are freely and openly going about their lives and the government is not apprehensive about them.  However, once in a while, a few of these spies are arrested in order to keep the government militia from boredom; then the spies are interrogated for a few months so that interrogators may gain experience.  Sometimes, spies are tortured for the practice of the torturers.  Ultimately, a few face firing squads for testing of the guns.
  3. Iran is the first country in which spies are born as spies.  There is no need for the courts to prove the allegations against them since they are innately convicts from birth.  They have no rights; therefore, there is no need to consider their civil rights when bringing charges against them.
  4. Iran is the first country where if spies recant their faith and convert to Islam, they are no longer spies, but are considered saved.

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Iran's Religious Minority Speaks Out On Elections

{audio}http://public.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/tmm/2009/06/20090618_tmm_02.mp3{/audio}

Tell Me More: Members of the Baha'i faith, Iran's largest religious minority, have long been discriminated against and persecuted by the Islamic Republic of Iran government. Farhad Sabetan, an official within the Baha'i faith community, offers a reaction to the recent elections.

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Local Iranians fear post-election riots


Vahid Salemi/Associated Press
A protester reportedly injured by gunfire from pro-government militia is helped by another protester near a rally supporting leading opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in Tehran, Iran, on Monday.

The violence has many worried for the safety of family, friends abroad.

Jacksonville resident and Iranian refugee Bita has been glued to cable news, satellite television and the Internet practically around the clock since Sunday - gripped by dramatic post-election developments in her homeland.

Reports of violent clashes and even deaths at mass protests have Bita "scared" for the safety of her parents in Tehran, where they are members of the persecuted Baha'i faith.

That anxiety kept her from disclosing her full name for this story. It's also kept her from calling her family back home.

"I try not to call them right now because their phone calls are monitored, and I don't want them put in jeopardy," said Bita, a 28-year-old University of North Florida graduate who came to the United States in 2001.

Fear is a key emotion for Iranians around the globe since Friday's presidential election, which many believe was rigged in favor of hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Several Baha'is and Muslims contacted by the Times-Union declined to discuss the situation.

Their caution appeared to be well-founded as violence erupted Monday in Tehran.

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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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Baha'i followers gather in protest

{josquote}The gathering ... exhibited both elements of a service and a mild rally.{/josquote}

A Capitol Mall gathering Saturday morning served as a local observance to condemn persecution of followers of the Baha'i faith in Iran.

The gathering of about 50 people was one of many held around the world Saturday aimed at drawing awareness to the "7 Friends," Baha'i religious leaders in Iran who were arrested and imprisoned a year ago. The seven remain jailed on charges of espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and the spreading of corruption on earth.

{josquote}This is meant to be a devotional service and informational gathering for the local Baha'i and anyone in the local community.{/josquote}

Those charges potentially carry a death sentence.

Local Baha'i spiritual assembly leader Layli Liss said the charges are absurd, given the tenets of Baha'i faith.

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