A Heart-Felt Note from a Baha’i Youth from Tabriz, Iran

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Source: HRANA,  http://goo.gl/5y8K90
Translation by Iran Press Watch

 

(Regarding the issues of educational and economic discrimination, and even the right of burial)

Tabriz

Saturday June 14, 2014

I am a Baha’i citizen residing in Tabriz (a city in the northwest of Iran) who loves and desires to serve his beloved country. Just like all citizens, I have served in the army and have paid all my taxes, but unfortunately I am not enjoying any privileges and rights as a citizen.

This letter is written anonymously to protect me and my family from possible future persecution. After finishing high school, I took the University Entrance Exam, but later found out that as a Baha’i I was denied higher education under the false excuse of “Incomplete Documents”.

This deprivation not only exists for my generation in this decade, but also in my parents’ generation  ̶   and it is still going on; we were denied higher education at that time and we still are.

Baha’is face discrimination  ̶   both open and secret  ̶   all over Iran, including in the city of Tabriz. But in the last three years it has reached its climax, since, unlike previously, in an unexpected action Mr. Farokh Jalali, the undertaker of “Aramestan”, the Undertaker’s Office in the city of Tabriz, denied burial permission to Baha’is of that town. Soon after that, having maintained this position regarding undertaking, he accepted a promotion and was appointed to other positions, such as “The Highest Counsel to the office of the Mayor” and “Director General of the City”.

What happens is that after the corpse of a Baha’i is delivered to the “Wadi Rahmat”, a cemetery in Tabriz, it is kept in the morgue for three days. At this point, the family is informed that they will not be allowed to bury their deceased according to the Baha’i burial laws*; if they still insist on burying them there, Islamic burial laws should be observed.

This demand is obviously in conflict with our belief. In most cases, the authorities end up sending the Baha’i corpse to Mian-Do-Ab, a smaller city outside Tabriz, and bury them there without informing the family members.

This issue still persists; although, it has been brought to the attention of the higher ranking authorities, including writing many unanswered letters to the office of the President of Iran.

Another reason to write this letter is related to this. Not long ago, my grandmother passed away in a hospital, and, disregarding the wish of our family and with the interference of the security office and personnel of the hospital, not only she was not buried as a Baha’i, but she was sent to Wadi Rahmat, and subsequently to Mian-Do-Ab, and buried there without our knowledge.

Next in line is a young Baha’i soldier who died while serving in the army; he is expected to be treated the same as my grandmother. (His corpse is in the morgue as I am writing this letter.) While pursuing this issue, the Baha’is of Tabriz only hear threats from the authorities.

But, as we all know (in Iran), burial is not the only issue. After serving my time in the army, I wanted to open a business. I applied for a work permit to sell eyeglasses from the Syndicate of the Optometrists of Tabriz and I submitted all the required and necessary documents.

Now, after working for a year and paying all the taxes, I have been informed by the Officials at the Office of Building and Safety that my work permit has been revoked, and that I will not be issued any other work permits as a result of being a Baha’i.

I pursued my complaints with the Ministry of Crafts and Industry and the Society of the Affairs of Trade, as a result of which I was threatened with a notice of foreclosure. After pursuing it for twenty more days, I was finally served with the verdict and my business was foreclosed.

Finally, as a conclusion, I would like to quote an officer serving in the Office of Building and Safety who in these exact words told me: “Do whatever you can  ̶  even file a complaint with the Supreme Leader (Ali Khamenei); I still won’t allow you to work.”

 

* There is no specific provision in Baha’I religious law as to how soon after death to bury the body of a deceased Baha’i. See http://bahai-library.com/compilation_bahai_burial

 

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4 Responses

  1. Israeli Jew

    June 18, 2014 3:52 am

    I am an Israeli Jew. I recently found out that If I am to become a Baha’i I must be kicked out of My country in accordance with Baha’i law. Furthermore, once Baha’is find out I live in Israel they no longer speak to me about the faith. Why this discrimination? Why?! Why must Israelis go into exile if they want to become Baha’is?

    Reply
  2. Masha

    June 18, 2014 6:03 am

    ” If I am to become a Baha’i I must be kicked out of My country in accordance with Baha’i law.”

    Excuse me, but this is not a Baha’i Law. There is no such law in Baha’i books.

    In the same time there is a kind of old agreement with the Government of Israel, – due to Israeli laws and traditions, – to avoid spreading there any other religion except national religion. Israeli Jews usually are good citizens and patriots, and they understand.

    Reply
  3. vafa-canada

    June 18, 2014 5:21 pm

    Dear Israeli Jew,

    Your statement is a simple misunderstanding. It is a Baha’i law to follow the laws of the country you live in. Please note that there are many Baha’is from Jewish background throughout the world, who do not live in Israel. However, as a sign of respect for the Government of Israel and the Jewish population in that region, since the time of Baha’u’llah, Baha’is in general do not live permanently in that country. I served at the Baha’i World Centre for many years in Haifa. All Baha’is in Israel are on a temporary religious volunteer service and return to their country of origin once their term of volunteer service is completed. We are like guests in your country and obey the laws of your land, and appreciate the freedom to visit and maintain our Holy Places there.

    The Israeli Government wishes Israel to be a Jewish State. As Baha’is we respect that and hence do not do any teaching activity in Israel. If you wish to get proper, accurate, information on your particular situation it would be best to contact the Office of Public Information at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa.

    Any person, anywhere in the world, can be a Baha’i in his or her heart. Good luck to you my friend in your search for the truth.

    Reply

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