Translation by Iran Press Watch
Publication date: 24 Sept 2014
Taghato: Ali Reza Mahjoub, a member of the reformist faction of the Islamic Parliament, was approached in his office by several Bahai’s who had been deprived of the right to continue their education in Iranian universities. During the course of the conversation, he insulted the beliefs of the Baha’is, and after calling them “terrorists” and “gun holders”, he ejected them from his office.
Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh, an eighteen-year-old Baha’i girl who was present in the office on Tuesday the 23rd of September 2014, wrote about the encounter on her Facebook page. She indicated that in response to the greetings of one of the eight Baha’is who went to his office, Mr. Mahjoub, without any normal or proper response to the greeting of this Baha’i, suddenly in a demeaning tone and manner asked, “Is the Baha’i Faith really a religion?”
Miss Sefajuh has written that Mr. Sabet, who was the representative of the group, in his response indicated that “We are not here to talk about religion. We are Iranian citizens and have the lawful right to continue our education. I was expelled from university, and now my daughter has not even been admitted after passing her exams successfully!”
When hearing this, Mr. Mahjoub, who kept “his eyes closed” in order not to look at the Baha’is, aggressively asserted “Do not change the topic – answer my question! Is the Baha’i Faith actually a religion?”
Ruhiyyeh also added that when Mr Sabet firmly and clearly responded: “Yes, it is a religion”, the only response received from Mr. Mahjoub was shouting insult upon insult against Baha’i beliefs and its tenets. He did not give even a moment’s chance for anyone else to utter a word.
Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh, who had kept quiet until then, raised her voice – demanding Mr. Mahjoub to allow her to put few words forward – but she was confronted by more anger from this reformist Member of Parliament, who was elected several times to his office as a representative of the citizenry of Iran. With a louder voice than before he shouted “All of your forefathers were terrorists, and you all carry guns in your daily lives …!”
He shouted at this deprived young lady, saying “ Get out! Get out and go….!” To this response she replied “ I am not going, my father never shouted at me in my entire eighteen years of life! What right do you have to shout at me like this?”
Miss Sefajuh continues that “ again the voice of Mr. Mahjoub again rose higher and he yelled ‘Do I owe you anything? What do you want of me!?’ Whereupon I quickly declared “Yes – you owe me a lot! My father was expelled from university, my mother was not permitted to sit for her entrance exam and the same treatment has befallen me!”
According to her post, Mr. Mahjoub again shouted, saying “Is it my fault? Get out and go!”
His heated shout did the job and this young lady, with her tearing eyes and shivering body left the office of this reformist member of the people’s Parliament.
In addition to Ruhiyyeh, a few other Baha’is both male and female, including Shadan Shirazi (with a ranking of 113 among all university applicants),Tara Hooshmand , Noora Sabet and Sarmad Shadabi also informed the media of their dilemma in continuing their education. For these Baha’is either no student ID was issued from the outset, or after the major selection they were told to go to the Institute of Assessment for follow up on their application, which has not changed the equation thus far. No record of their grievances is ever kept at the Institute.
These Baha’is have emphatically indicated in their news dissemination activities and interviews that in the process of their exam registration, in no place had they indicated that they were Bahai’s (the form did not ask), and answered questions about Islam.
Deprivation of Baha’is from education is based on the endorsement of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council dated 25 Feb 1991*, which also stated that Baha’is are forbidden to secure employment in any government office.
According to item 3 of this document not only must Baha’is not be registered in any university, but also whenever it becomes known they are Baha’is, they must be expelled.
During the current year, in reaction to the prevention of Baha’is from being admitted into universities, nearly two weeks ago approximately 360 Baha’is, in an open letter to Hassan Rouhani, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, reminded him of his promises during his election campaign with respect to upholding the civil rights of all Iranian citizens. They specified this clearly:
“…non-announcement of the initial and final round of exam results of many Baha’i applicants for university admission indicatives your intention not to allow Baha’i students to gain admittance into any university.”