Draft Iranian Penal Code Legislates Death Penalty for Apostasy

Thanks to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, we have just become aware of a draft Islamic penal code that has been set before the Majlis, the Iranian Parliament. There are articles in the proposed legislation that clearly violate Iran’s commitments under the International Covenants on Human Rights, to which the State is party. Not that we would expect anything otherwise from them...

{josquote}It is imperative to note that that if this law is adopted, it will be the first time that Iran will have in its criminal code -- as a legal stipulation -- the death penalty for apostasy.{/josquote}

Particularly frightening is a section on apostasy, which could obviously be used against religious minorities in Iran, especially Bahá’ís and Zoroastrians and against anyone who is a convert from Islam. It is imperative to note that that if this law is adopted, it will be the first time that Iran will have in its criminal code -- as a legal stipulation -- the death penalty for apostasy. The text uses the word Hadd, meaning that it explicitly sets death as a fixed punishment that cannot be changed, reduced or annulled. In the past, the death penalty has been handed down (and also carried out) in apostasy cases, but it has never before been set down in law.

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Baha'i Belief Advisory System

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Inspired by Moojan Momen’s recent paper (and the United States Homeland Security), I’ve drawn up an easy to use chart which should help fellow Baha’is and the institutions in identifying and categorizing members of the community.

Note that each label is directly taken from Momen’s recently published paper. [takes out laser pointer and slowly removes glasses for effect]

“Let the name calling and mud-slinging… errr… I mean, sociological categorization… BEGIN!”

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Sen's response to Moojan

Umm Yasmin

Sen McGlinn, one of the “apostates” named in Moojan Momen’s Religion article discusses some of his thoughts on issues since raised, arguing that some current normative Baha’i positions were once marginal themselves (and thus current marginal positions are simply ahead of the opinion Bell curve) and that one possible reason for the significant drop in Baha’i conversions, and increase in formal unenrollments is due to a change in the tenor and character of the Baha’i organisation, unlike Moojan’s position which holds the Baha’i community as a static constant and marginals as the sole shifting actors.

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Critiques of various aspects of Momen's 2007 paper

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Marginality and Apostasy in the Bahai Community

Ahead of the curve (PDF)
The beliefs held by Bahais, and Bahai practices, have changed over time. Some of those labelled as "dissidents" by Moojan Momen, in an article published in 'Religion,' are just ahead of the curve in the changes taking place in the Bahai community.
Posted on Tarikh, 26 November 2007

Unenrolling (PDF)
There seems to be a shift in the American Bahai community, towards increasing numbers of Bahais not choosing to enroll and take up the duties and privileges of enrolled membership. This posting touches on the evidence for this, and criticises an explanation put forward by Moojan Momen in a recent paper in Religion.
Posted on Tarikh, 9 December 2007

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Marginality and Apostasy in the Baha'i Community

The following is my commentary on a recently published paper titled: “Marginality and Apostasy in the Baha’i Community” - by the Baha’i theologian, Dr. Moojan Momen.

{josquote}Moojan is using a model that implies that the Baha’i Faith is pretty much on the level of Hare Krishna or Scientology in the eyes of the wider society.{/josquote}

Let me make a crystal clear distinction here: I do not agree with Momen, his assertions nor his conclusions. In fact I strongly disagree with pretty much everything he says in this paper. However, I have nothing personal against him, and unlike him, I do not cast aspersions on his faith in Baha’u'llah nor his sincerity as a Baha’i.

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