Semnan – On 19 February 2009, the Baha’i cemetery in Semnan became the victim of a growing wave of violence that has swept across Iran, desecrating Baha’i burial places and terrorizing Baha’i families. Fifty tombstones in the Baha’i cemetery were irreparably damaged, trees were razed to the ground and a room used for preparing the dead for burial was burned and destroyed. Before leaving, vandals sprayed hateful slurs and insults on gas and water tanks found on the cemetery grounds. These slurs contain spelling mistakes suggesting that the vandals may have been young or uneducated. One of the insults contains a reference to the Ruhi program, a series of study courses offered by the Baha’i community to serve the spiritual and educational needs of the greater community.
This brazen attack comes on the heels of arrests and raids by government authorities that have occurred in Semnan over the last several months. The day following the desecration of the cemetery, Hojjatol-Islam Shah-Cheraghi, Semnan’s supreme religious authority anathematized the Baha’i Faith in an odious sermon calling for direct attacks against Semnan’s Baha’i community. It is worth noting that Shah-Cheraghi is Semnan’s official representative for Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Days after his sermon, several Baha’i homes were attacked with Molotov cocktails.
Translations of the texts found in the pictures:
- The cemetery of the infidels living in Semnan. [We] spit on the souls of Baha’is and on their dead.
- We will kill each and every one of you. Baha’is are big fools!
- Baha, Bab, the Ruhi program; All of you [Baha’is] are impure. Get the hell of out here!
- Bastard Baha’i!
- Get the hell out of Iran! Death to Israel and England.
- Death to the infidel Baha’is!
- Filthy, infidel Baha’i!
- Death to Israel!
[youtube width=”460″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj5qWQDUuq4[/youtube]
[Pictures and video provided by HRA Iran]