The Situation of Baha’is in Iran
Just a little over a week ago, Bahá’ís in Tehran were shocked to see a big poster displayed in most of the metro stations of the capital city of Iran. This poster, showing photographs of the leading figures of the Bahá’í Faith, including its Prophet-Founder, Bahá’u’lláh, incorrectly describes Bahá’ís as members of a sect devised by imperialist powers, whose aim is to spy and to change the culture and religion of Iranians, specifically Shi’a Muslims.
This blatant incitement to hatred is committed with total impunity, and with not one single objection raised.
Regrettably, although this is an extremely serious event, it is not the only case of incitement to hatred against members of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran. In fact, this campaign of slander, originating from government-sponsored or pro-government entities, is on the increase:
In October 2011, the Bahá’í International Community documented in a report more than 400 published instances of incitement to hatred over a 16-month period. These concerned not only print and online media but also conferences, exhibitions, national TV series and radio programmes, and at least two websites entirely dedicated to combating the Bahá’í Faith. The comparable figure for the 12 months of 2014 was over 4,900. In all cases, the dissemination was either sponsored or supported by the State.
Moreover, Shi’a clerics do not refrain from fuelling this hatred. By way of example, in a recent speech, Hojatoleslam Abbas Ramezani-Pour, the Friday prayer Imam of the city of Rafsanjan, called for the Bahá’ís to be expelled from the city. He also stated that according to religious fatwas, Bahá’ís are “unclean” and that it is “forbidden” to conduct business with them. The talk came a few days after an anti-Bahá’í demonstration was orchestrated in front of the Governor’s office in that city.
Dr. Shaheed, what measures do you think can be taken in order to curb this extremely dangerous pattern of incitement?