Baha’is in Iran suffer new wave of persecution


The father of an Ottawa man was arrested in May. More Baha’is were swept up and jailed in January. Baha’i graveyards are ransacked. I’ve written a more detailed story for the Maclean’s website. Yet the overt persecution of Baha’is in Iran receives little media attention elsewhere. Why not?


Baha’is in Iran suffer new wave of persecution

  1. “Yet the overt persecution of Baha’is in Iran receives little media attention elsewhere. Why not?”

    Because only male caucasians can do something wrong, don’t you know. Highlighting the wickedness of anyone but male caucasians goes against pc/liberal orthodoxy that all cultures are equal and we all live in a happy multi-culti world.

    • Noooo… Try again?

    • It’s received a lot of coverage over the years.

  2. The thing is the bahai I have met are the very last people and I mean the very last people that would ever in any way be considered subversive, malcontents or god forbid (no pun literally) be the type to engage in any violent acts. Like the Falun Gong as well. Good question as to why media just gives little blips of data out and no major coverage. I think there should be.

  3. Maybe if the media didn’t serve as conduit for anti-Iranian propaganda so often, the public might be allowed to focus on really issues.

  4. Yet the overt persecution of Baha’is in Iran receives little media attention elsewhere. Why not?

    The Baha’is don’t issue fatwas. Somehow, threats of violence in the name of a group of people make it to the front page. Those who suffer in silence remain, sadly, silent.

  5. My Grade 6 teacher was Baha’i and a book she read to the class was by an American children’s television personality from the 50s or 60s who became Baha’i. It was a really funny book but I don’t know if she would be allowed to do something that could be construed as proselytising these days. This is how I first learned about Baha’i and learned that it had started in Persia.

    Also the duo Seals and Crofts (remember Diamond Girl?) from the 70s were Baha’i and they sang on the song “Mona with the Children” in the early 80s which was about persecution of Baha’i and the death of a girl named Mona in the early years of the Iranian Revolution. The song was by this singer from Toronto (I googled and his name is Doug Cameron).

    All this to say that the issue has been around for years. Perhaps there just isn’t enough of an ex-pat community to bring attention to it or there isn’t yet a “mainstream” champion of their cause.

    Whatever the case I hope something is done to help them and other persecuted peoples around the world.

    • Thanks to our friend YouTube I found the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ-UxEbuPag. I remember it was a favourite during the early years of MuchMusic and back in the day on CFNY (for all you southern Ontarians out there) before it became The Edge.

    • The name of the book you mentioned is “God Loves Laughter” by William Sears

    • the funny book you’re referring to is God Loves Laughter by William Sears, i believe. excellent book. it was one of the first baha’i books that i read as well!

  6. Most, if not all, religions faced intense persecution during their early, formative years and this invariably received little attention elsewhere. Sadly, it seems that the Baha’i, like the Jewish, Christian, Muslim before them, are not exempt, even in the 21st century. History does repeat itself. I would like to point out a good source of information on this topic, “The Muslim network for Baha’i rights”, http://www.bahairights.org. It is unusual because it is developed by a group of Muslim interfaith activists who believe in tolerance, coexistence and freedom. It is good because they created this site to promote human rights, religious freedom and respect within the Arab and Muslim world. I have no personal connection or affiliation with this group, but such values should apply to all people equally regardless of their faith, cultural differences, political stance or nationality. More people should be joining such efforts not only as believers of freedom, but also for the sake of a better and more productive society, one that embraces diversity instead of stifling it by oppressing minorities.

  7. The Baha’is are the most law abiding citizens around and do not deserve this kind of treatment. Everyone should have the right to practice their faith. The governments of countries around the world should take up the issue.

  8. It is my apinion that the iranian government is struggling to hold on to power at all costs as proven by many of it’s past acts. Like most inferior political systems oppression is the main way to control a population. Dictatorship is an island without purpose.The United Nations assembly has brought some attention to this issue of suppression of freedom as well worship yet has a long way to go in making it a mainstream issue in the talks involving sanctions. Any consideration for the normalization of Iranian world relations must address this issue if Iran is to be taken seriously by the international community. The past attitude of the Iranian government only stands to mock any efforts concerning the establishment of unity and peace. It is obvious that the present government of Iran is wholly inadequate in its approach to many humanitarian laws and world views. I do believe that increased sanctions are the way to go yet these sanctions must be upheld by the entire peace loving international community and not just by a few nations seeking to harmonize the world community. All nations that sincerely express an appreciation for the unity of all peoples must form a tight alliance to ensure we as a global community are moving toward world peace on all levels without exception not just reaching out from the silence when suffering from such consequences arrises. Worldwide preemtive strategies must be employed if we are to make real progress in combating those who freely dictate through fear whatever they will. Slowly but surely those goverments run by fear and who believe they are an island unto themselves will face the inevitable cosequence of change. Praise be God

  9. Thank you, Michael Petrou, for bringing Iran’s despised infamy to Maclean’s readership. The fruits of the 1979 Iranian Revolution (American diplomats were held 444 days – save those secretly saved by the Canadian Embassy in Tehran) have seen the Baha’i community progressively targeted by the Secret Police.

    Over 200 Baha’i leaders have been executed (or gone missing) and thousands arrested; houses and businesses appropriated and expropriated; government employees summarily fired and their pensions revoked; students expelled from higher education; high school and elementary students verbally abused, intimidated, and hounded to convert to Islam – though Mohammad has expressly forbidden compulsion in religious matters, as He recited in the Qur’an (Koran) nearly 1400 years ago.

    Iran’s Shi’a (Shi’ite) clergy have surely shamed the fair name of Islam. To the good, at least the Sunni Muslims in Iraq are respectful and tolerant of the progressive beliefs of the Baha’i world religion. But the Iranian government, controlled by the orthodox Shi’a clergy, have actively pursued policies to destabilize Iraq in its drive to democratize and embrace freedom of thought and belief for all of its citizens.

    And the fact that Baha’u’llah was exiled from His beloved Persia (now Iran) by the Shaw, and subsequently by the Sultan, to Palestine (now Israel) in the 1850’s and 1860’s, does not put the Baha’i World Centre, and by extension the Baha’i Faith, in some kind of anti-Islamic skull-duggery undermining Iran’s Shi’a version of Islam.

    Again, thank you, Michael Petrou.

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