Social Action

Human rights, community development and the like

A Tribute to the True Lovers

This is a tribute to the 7 Baha'is Leaders of help captive in prison, in Iran, because of their Faith. The Poem was written and is being read in English by Mrs Shahla Nabilzadeh-Ghotbi.


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Iranian cleric gives due recognition to Baha'is as Iranian citizens

I’m not an expert on Iranian politics, but reading between the lines is the Ayatollah signaling that the arrest of the Baha’i leadership in Iran, is incompatible with the Iranian constitution and the normative Islamic ethic of compassion?

I, and many Muslims like me, certainly believe so. May Allah (SWT) reward the Ayatollah for having the moral courage to speak out against oppression of a religious minority. The Qur’an warns us to protect the rights of religious minorities, even if they possess theological beliefs incompatible with the fundamental tenets of Islam:

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People Must React Too!

Increasing Crackdown on Bahai Community

A week into the arrest of six Bahai leaders in Iran, an interview published by hardliner ‎Fars news agency called for the “creation of a popular movement” to “confront and fight ‎Bahaism” so that the “government is not left alone in its confrontation against the Bahai ‎community.” ‎

The interview was held with Seyed Kazem Mousavi who is introduced as an analyst and ‎expert in contemporary Iranian history, in which he is quoted as saying “Bahais in Iran ‎are attempting to gain independence and legitimacy by being present in cultural and ‎economic fields and to infiltrate the power structure and other political spheres." ‎

{josquote}...human rights activists warned against the consequences of these baseless ‎charges and predicted an intensified crackdown on the Bahai community in Iran{/josquote}

Denouncing the “Bahai community's attempt to infiltrate the power structure in order to ‎gain access to regime’s secrets, reduce regime’s sensitivity to Bahai cult and downplay ‎dangers associated with this cult,” Mousavi added, “Currently, the Bahai community is ‎trying to hide its true face and pretend to be an ordinary and normal part of society. The ‎Bahai community is planning to attract the support of international organizations such as ‎Amnesty International to fulfill its mission.” ‎

Noting that Bahai followers “claim not to get involved in politics,” Mousavi claimed, ‎‎“This very non-interference in politics is itself a political move, designed to gain ‎immunity to freely and seriously participate in cultural and economic activities. Prior to ‎last winter’s Majlis elections, the leaders of the Bahai movement ordered their followers ‎to participate in elections. Some Bahai groups protested that decision, to which the Beit ‎al-Adl of Bahais responded by clarifying that it was not forbidden to participate in ‎elections and vote for independent candidates, just to support political parties.” ‎

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Threats spark unity

Rich Pellegrino and Jerry Gonzalez pray after a press conference on May 20 in Marietta, where they announced the creation of the new coalition, Cobb United for Change.

Death threats have not intimidated pro-Latino activists who are not giving up, but are encouraging multi-racial unity to counteract the anti-immigrant atmosphere that has taken on a sinister tone in Georgia.

Not even a week after Rich Pellegrino took the initiative to call a group of human rights and activist organizations together to protest the sale of a racist T-shirt, he received a shocking death threat at the door of his home.

That week had been intense for Pellegrino, director of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, who had protested in front of Mulligan’s Bar and Grill in Marietta with other activists on Tuesday, May 13.

The objective was to urge the owner of the establishment to suspend the sale of a T-shirt with a drawing of Curious George and the caption “Obama in 2008,” which offended the African-American community and the Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Pellegrino had already left that episode behind him when another chapter in this activist's life opened up the night of Thursday, May 15.

{josquote} reminded me of my experiences during the time of the civil rights movement and in the 80s when they arrested me for professing my Baha’i faith and holding meetings with African-Americans in South Carolina{/josquote}

“I got home at about 10 p.m. from a meeting with some Latino leaders," said Pellegrino. “I saw a manila envelope at the door that said 'Cobb Latino Alliance,' with my name and a sketched drawing of a cross and the year 2008.

“My children said it looked as if there was a man hanging from the cross and that perhaps they were referring to me and that the year 2008 was the year I was going to die," Pellegrino commented, laughing nervously.

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Republished by AlterNet as Latino Activists Face Death Threats in Georgia

Follow-up story: Racism increasing nationwide, under investigation