By Vahid Mazahib [The Religious Group]
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Among the various problems confronting the Baha’is of Iran, one can point to the systematic destruction and desecration of their cemeteries as a significant element of their ongoing persecutions. Of course, these destructions are not a new development in recent years, nor limited to only certain areas of the country; nevertheless desecration of these cemeteries has increased considerably in recent months across the entire country.
Among them is the [Baha’i] cemetery at Darzikola, near the town of Qa’emshahr, which has been assaulted several times. [Note: Several postings on this subject are available on Iran Press Watch, which can be accessed by searching, Darzikola.]
The land for this cemetery was bequeathed to the Baha’i community of that region about 100 years ago by the late ‘Abdu’l-Ghani ‘Abdi. It is located at marker Km 2 on the highway connecting Qa’emshahr to Firuz-Kuh. The cemetery is walled on three sides and faces the highway on the west and southwest sides — this portion is fenced in by barbed wire.
In 1983, the neighboring Muslim residents objected to the burial of one of the Baha’is. However, through the persistent efforts of the Baha’i community they were able to overcome this objection and obtain permission to bury the deceased at the Darzikola cemetery.
On 12 May 2008, the Department of Intelligence of Qa’emshahr, without designating a new location, warned the Baha’i community about the use of their cemetery at Darzikola. Because of this issue, two prominent members of the Baha’i community of that region were imprisoned. Of these two, Mr. ‘Ali Ahmadi continues to be incarcerated until now.
Eventually, on the morning of Thursday, 23 October 2008, an attack on this cemetery using large bulldozers resulted in 80% of the graves being thoroughly demolished and only a handful of remaining unmolested. After the Baha’is reported this assault, several ranking military officers and the Qa’emshahr’s representative to the Islamic Consultative Council [i.e. national parliament], Mr. Ezatu’llah Akbari, came to the site; however, without paying the least attention or undertaking any investigation, they then left the location.
After this incident, this cemetery was severely attacked two more times. The first of the two subsequent assaults was on 3 November 2008; however, the Baha’is were present at the cemetery at the time and prevented further destruction of graves. However, the second time, on 22 November, the attack took place at 4 o’clock in the morning by a group of unknown assailants who had their faces covered. After they cut off the electricity to the site and removed the gravestones, they proceeded to level the ground and thoroughly obliterate any trace of gravesites. It so happened that one of the Baha’is came upon the men in the course of their destruction, but he was severely beaten and abused by the assailants.
Those familiar with the situation believe that ever since a certain “Movahhed” became the Chief of Intelligence in the province of Mazandaran, reactionary and extreme groups have gained support for their illegal and inhumane activities.
Watch the following video:
[The above report and video was posted on Tuesday, 9 December 2008, by Human Rights Activists of Iran, an organization with no affiliation to the Baha’i community, at: http://www.hrairan.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29:2008-12-09-14-25-13&catid=31:2008-12-06-06-28-40&Itemid=58 and is provided above in translation. Translator Ahang Rabbani.]