Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post #93 - Treatment of Baha'is

(The next few posts address human rights abuses in Iran.)

"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens." (Baha'u'llah)

Baha'i Lotus Temple, New Delhi
An element of revolutionary intolerance which persists even today is the persecution of the one minority religion distinct from all others in that it was promulgated after the advent of Islam. Developed out of what is called “twelver” Shi-ism, this tradition was founded in Shiraz around 1844; its current world headquarters is located in Haifa, Israel.

Baha'is sentenced in October 2011 to four years in prison
Earlier, in the mid-1800's Baha'is were persecuted – perhaps as many as 20,000 killed (out of a total of perhaps 300,000). They were seen as a sect that violated the Islamic understanding of the Mohammad as the last and final prophet of God (Baha'is see their tradition as natural step in the perfection and completion of all the preceding faiths). Under the Shah, the position of Baha'is was not always comfortable in Iran; in 1955, the government oversaw the demolition of the Bahá’í national center in Tehran with pickaxes. Following the Islamic Revolution, it grew worse once again. According to the Baha'i community, since then “more than 200 Bahá’ís have been executed or killed, hundreds more have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have been deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities.

All national Bahá’í administrative structures were banned by the government, and holy places, shrines, and cemeteries were confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed.” Citing the fact that Iran is a signatory of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Bahai's cite violations including denial of access to higher education to Baha'is. At 350,000, however, Baha'is still comprise Iran's largest religious minority.

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