BIC GENEVA — In recent months, the Iranian government’s decades-long campaign of hate speech and propaganda against the Bahá’ís in Iran has reached new levels, increasing in both sophistication and scale. The unfolding strategy to demonize the Bahá’í community is reflected in a growing and coordinated network of hundreds of websites, Instagram accounts, Telegram channels, and Clubhouse rooms.
“History is replete with the victims of grievous crimes incited by hate speech,” says Diane Ala’i, Representative of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) to the United Nations in Geneva. “We are concerned that the increasing spread of disinformation targeting the Bahá’ís may signal a severe increase in the persecution meted out against them.”Government officials, human rights activists, religious figures, and other prominent people are raising alarm about the intensification of the state-sponsored anti-Bahá’í propaganda, as history shows that flagrant violations of human rights often take place in a climate of hate and disinformation.
Canadian Member of Parliament Kerry Diotte states: “I wanted to join the chorus of many people in the world who are concerned about the persecution of people of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran. Religious freedom is one of the most basic elements of civilization. This religious persecution of the Bahá’í must stop.”
The CIJA, which represents hundreds of thousands of Jewish Canadians across Canada, issued a statement expressing grave concern about the latest developments in Iran. “As Jews, we understand the deadly consequences of a relentless repetition of falsehoods and myths against an entire community. Left unchecked, the Iranian regime’s indoctrination will instill a belief that Bahá’ís are outsiders in their own land, who deserve to be discriminated against and even subjected to violence.
“This must stop. Canada must play a role in holding Iran to account for the countless human rights violations it commits against the Bahá’ís with impunity.”
In the United States, a congressional human rights commission has invited a representative of the Bahá’í community to testify about the status of the Bahá’ís in Iran at a hearing today.
Nadine Maenza, Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), says, “We are dismayed by news that Iran has expanded anti-Bahá’í incitement in state-sponsored media. Iran must guarantee Bahá’ís and other religious minorities in Iran freedom of religion or belief.”