Bahais in Iran

The Persecution of Baha'is: an Interactive Timeline

For the past 30 years, followers of the Baha’i Faith in Iran have been lynched, falsely imprisoned, vilified and driven out of their homes. Baha’i children have been deprived of their right to an education, adults have been prevented from earning a livelihood and thousands of families had their properties illegally confiscated by the government.

{josquote}...we began creating a timeline that documents violations that have been perpetrated against Baha’is in the past 30 years...{/josquote}

But the Iranian regime would have us believe that it’s the innocent party in these circumstances. It continues to deny that it harbours any intentions to eradicate the Baha’i community, while employing all possible means to slander and denigrate the memories of its victims. And unfortunately, there are many who believe the Iranian government’s narrative and feel the persecution is justified. And just as alarming, there are many who fail to fully grasp the intensity of the injustices wrought against Baha’is.

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The Terror of Conviction (1/3)

{josquote}Cruelty has a Human Heart,
And Jealousy a Human Face;
Terror the Human Form Divine,
And Secrecy the Human Dress.

William Blake: Songs of Experience Additional Poem{/josquote}

Terror and the Human Form

The situation in Iran would be enough to set me thinking about intolerance and extremism. Family members of good friends of mine are being persecuted because of their beliefs. Because of my shared beliefs I also feel strongly linked even to those with whom I have no other connection.  The current perilous situation of the seven Bahá’ís who have been arrested reinforces that feeling.(See ‘Breaking News/Impending Trial’ on this blog.)

I have other experiences that spur me on in the same direction.

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Pretentiousaurus: Beets, bears, and Baha'i

PAPER JAM | Rainn Wilson's character in 'The Office' struggles with a phone. In real life, shrugging the Schrute stigma is a struggle.

JIM (pretending to be Dwight): Question. Which bear is best?

DWIGHT: That’s a ridiculous question.

JIM: False. Black bear.

This week Rainn Wilson, the actor who plays Dwight on “The Office,” contributed an op-ed column to speaking out against the Iranian persecution of the Bahá’í religion, of which he is a member. As Wilson explained it, the Bahá’í faith, started in 19th century Persia, is built around a prescribed notion of absolute religious unity — i.e., that “there is only one God and therefore only one religion.”

{josquote}I think it is worth considering the various reasons why Wilson is the worst possible spokesman for an obscure world religion based on hyper-monotheism.{/josquote}

I think it is worth considering the various reasons why Wilson is the worst possible spokesman for an obscure world religion based on hyper-monotheism.

But first: When Jim says “false,” is he rejecting Dwight’s answer (i.e. the submission that, in fact, no bear is best) or is he rejecting the notion that it is a ridiculous question?

On one hand, I tend to agree with Jim that black bears are best (long story). On the other hand, we here ensconced in the echo chamber of academe would have to side with Dwight: “Which bear is best?” is a bad research question. It’s entirely too vague, and it presumes an objective truth — that there is an absolutely superior bear — that doesn’t exist.

I don’t mean to devalue the situation of the Bahá’ís, the religion itself, or Wilson’s passionate commentary by comparing it all to a stupid debate about bears. In fact, Wilson essentially told us not to do that, bracketing his column with the kinds of “this is no joking matter” buffer phrases that any well-known character actor would have to deploy at charity events. But there is still a problem here, and it isn’t merely that Wilson is inextricably linked with Dwight or that he kind of plays himself. It’s that the very act of Wilson preaching to us is tainted by the essence of Dwightness.

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Dwight, the Baha'i Faith, and My Friend in Finland

{josquote}And by "crimes" I mean "worshipping God in the way you want."{/josquote}

Rainn Wilson--Dwight Shrute to most of us--wrote an opinion piece today for CNN about some current religious persecution in Iran. As you can read in the column, several members of his religion--the Baha'i Faith--are about to go on trial for some crimes they are accused of committing. And by "crimes" I mean "worshipping God in the way you want."

You can read more about the persecution of the Baha'i Faith here.

Wilson keeps it classy and to the point: He asks for support of a resolution in Congress related to this cause, and suggests that we, as Americans, take a step forward and show a little more appreciation and perspective on the rights and freedoms we have.

{josquote}something about the combination of Dwight Shrute, my friend in Finland, and religious persecution just makes me feel all activisty{/josquote}

I have only known one member of the Baha'i Faith in my lifetime--when I was a Mormon missionary in Finland. He was an older gentleman-- an American--who moved to Finland as a pioneer to help establish a presence for the Baha'i Faith in that country. He was getting up there in years, and I have lost contact with him, but I miss him. He was always kind to the missionaries in Turku. He served us ice cream every week and asked us to read passages from the Book of Mormon to him. Now and then, he would share some of his own religion with us, but he was usually more interested in hearing our take on things. I really liked him--I remember him being one of the most decent, genuine people I've ever met. He was also really good at chess, but that's neither here nor there.

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Arrested Iranian Baha'is Face Islamic Court

Almost one year ago, the news was first broken here that the authorities in Iran had arrested the administrative body of the Baha’is of Iran.

The news sent shock waves worldwide across the Baha’i community as everyone realized that this meant that our fellow Baha’is in Iran faced a renewed pattern of persecutions.

{josquote}...the treatment of the Baha’is in Iran is no less tragic and unjust than what is meted out to many groups in Iran{/josquote}

Now Baha’is are abuzz all around the web because we have news a few days ago that the 7 arrested Baha’is are to be tried in court with trumped up charges of espionage. They have never been allowed to see their lawyer, nor has any manner of due process been followed in their case.

If they do go to trial, you can expect it to be little more than kangaroo court with the verdict already decided well in advance.

Yaran Baha'i Group Iran

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