Baha’is Have No Citizenship Rights, Says Grand Ayatollah

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Source: www.iranhumanrights.org

'We never say that Baha’is have the right to education; Baha’is don’t even have citizenship rights. Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians enjoy citizenship rights. They have representatives in the Parliament, because they are Abrahamic religions and we engage with them and their representatives are our friends,' Ayatollah Bojnourdi told Fars News Agency.

A high-ranking cleric and Khomeini-era member of the Supreme Judicial Council has told Fars News Agency that Baha’is are not entitled to citizenship rights. The statement was made only weeks after Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council, denied the systematic denial of Baha’is right to higher education. “We never say that Baha’is have the right to education; Baha’is don’t even have citizenship rights,” Ayatollah Bojnourdi told Fars. “Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians enjoy citizenship rights. They have representatives in the Parliament, because they are Abrahamic religions and we engage with them and their representatives are our friends,” he added.

Such statements reflect the continuation of the widespread and systematic violation of the rights of Baha’is in Iran, despite assertions by Iranian Judiciary officials who, faced with growing international criticism in this area, allege otherwise. The statements made by Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Bojnourdi, who is an influential cleric, lay the groundwork and provide religious justification for violence against Baha’is and for violations of the basic human rights of Baha’i citizens; they have been consistently used as instructions for cracking down on Baha’is by various state organizations, particularly security organizations.

In answer to a question about the right to education for all citizens, including the Baha’is, Bojnourdi said, “Absolutely not! Some issues do not need experts to provide opinions—those who oppose Islam are outside of this discussion. Baha’is are against Islam and they are outside of this discussion.”

In October 2014, Mohammad Javad Larijani denied there were any restrictions on Baha’i citizens in Iran and said that Baha’is are treated according to the “citizenship contract.” He claimed that Iran protects individuals who are committed to its citizenship laws, and asserted, “If an individual commits a violation, it has nothing to do with Shiites, Sunnis, or others in Iranian society.” A few months prior to these statements, in an April 2014 interview  with the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), Larijani said: “The authorities never target Baha’is just because they are followers of this faith, because according to the constitution, all Iranian citizens are entitled to certain rights and cannot be deprived of rights stipulated in the constitution.”

Dian Alaei, the Baha’i community representative at the UN, reacted to Javad Larijani’s statements in March 2014: “Mr. Larijani must be uninformed about the present situation facing the Baha’i community in Iran,” Alaei said, “or else he would know that Baha’i youths cannot attend university, Baha’i cemeteries are demolished with bulldozers, and Baha’i shops are locked up when their owners close during official Baha’i holidays. These are things that can be seen by all.”

The widespread violations of the rights of Baha’i citizens in Iran have been consistently criticized at the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. Since the 2011 appointment of Ahmed Shaheed as the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, his annual reports to the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council have consistently cited serious violations of the rights of Baha’is in Iran, including systematic violations of their right to education and to earning a living, and their persistent persecution.

Shaheed’s repeated requests for permission to travel to Iran have all been denied by the Iranian authorities. Ayatollah Bojnourdi, however, expressed an interest in meeting with the Special Rapporteur. “I would very much like to see this Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, up close and to talk to him, because he has generated a lot of anti-revolutionary rhetoric, and, regrettably, no one has gone to sit down and talk to him. I would very much like to talk to him and explain the Islamic rights, and ask him whether it is a violation of human rights if we arrest a violator and put him in prison?….”

Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Bojnourdi, 71, was a student to Ayatollah Khomeini for years in Najaf, and was twice a member of the Supreme Judicial Council, until the Council’s dissolution.

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11 Responses

  1. Don Schellberg

    December 23, 2014 11:32 am

    Shouldn’t there be a human at the head of “the Head of the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council”? A non-human cannot possibly understand human rights anymore than my cat or dog.

    Reply
    • William Jarrell

      December 24, 2014 4:58 am

      Of course there should be a human in charge of “the Head of the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council” but human isn’t always synonymous with humane. Given how people behave it’s often easier to assume that human and humane are oxymorons like “Iranian Judiciary” and “human rights.”

      Reply
  2. Connie Atkinson

    December 23, 2014 6:22 pm

    This is a man ruled by his fear. To be fair, Baha’is must endure the persecutions until it becomes clear to enough Muslims that it is in their best interests to accept the Baha’i reforms of Islam. It seems to me a reasonable assertion to say that Baha’is are against Islam from his perspective because the Baha’i Faith claims to be a Divine Revelation that outlaws the clergy and annuls various parts of the Koran, such as jihad. Baha’u’llah claims to be a new Prophet when Islamic scholars say Mohammed was the last. Finally, these men are entirely ruled by their interpretation of the Koran. This is their religion and their government. They give other religions rights only because the Koran instructs them to do so. The Baha’i Faith is not mentioned in the Koran and so they do not believe they have any obligation to provide rights to them. This is a matter of evolution of the mind and spirit. It will take a long time before Baha’is have rights in Iran. The world community may pressure Iran to give them rights but they will not force them to do so. Praying that God gives the Baha’is of Iran the strength to endure. Endurance and steadfastness has always been what they have on their side – right from the very beginning. Because of it, the Baha’i Faith is the second most widespread religion in the world – thanks, in part, by the persecutions. Our endurance and steadfastness makes us unstoppable. Eventually, evolution (and revolution) does occur.

    Reply
    • Margit Pataky

      December 27, 2014 1:31 am

      those who God has chosen are always the ones who experience great suffering in their lives, but the journey is well worth it because of the great Love God and Plan has for all of humanity. The Bahai’s with their faithfullness to God are truly inspirational, prayers for those who are incacerated and abused and suffer because of their faith.

      Reply
    • Margit Pataky

      December 27, 2014 1:32 am

      those who God has chosen are always the ones who experience great suffering in their lives, but the journey is well worth it because of the great Love God has for all of humanity. The Bahai’s with their faithfullness to God are truly inspirational, prayers for those who are incacerated and abused and suffer because of their faith.

      Reply
  3. Ray

    December 24, 2014 2:26 am

    These guys are embarassing good muslims around the world. I am an educated man and I do not want to be associated with these clergy.

    Reply
  4. MKhattib

    December 24, 2014 11:57 pm

    The dimensions of gross human rights violations in Iran are expanding beyond imagination in every possible direction. The list is very long: torture and other cruel and inhuman punishments, arbitrary and often very long pre-trial detentions and extremely non-standard and unfair trials frequently based on vaguely worded charges often even used to issue and implement death sentences, execution of dissidents and juveniles and the use of death penalty for non-serious offences, growing discrimination against women and women’s rights defenders, as well as against all religious minorities and groups, and ethnic communities, suppression of all kinds of dissent and opposition, extremely heavy-handed crackdown on political activists and organizations of all hues and civil society institutions, increasing number of political prisoners and the massive pressures on them, denial of freedoms of assembly, association, expression and press, censorship of books and blocking of various websites and blogs
    Until the international community wakes up and links relief from economic sanctions to human rights improvements, then its willingly condones the continued inhumane treatment of Iran’s people by this regime with more to come.

    Reply
  5. hailu

    December 26, 2014 2:41 am

    Sorry for the clergy ‘s assertion about Bahais
    in Iran,leave Alene those who follow the most
    recent & divinely ordained religion to follow,
    one can believe in Satan if his interest follows .Human right & free will is God given
    right not not Iranian clergies given right pls think about your own human nature ,do u think u are little god feeling to be worshipped by ur false believers .Pls think million times about the new dispensation!!!

    Reply

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