Stand up for Iranian Bahá’ís’ right to a higher education

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The Guardian, Saturday 11 June 2011

Exams are here for students across the country. In Iran, too, students are busy at university – but not if they are Bahá’ís. The youth of Iran’s largest religious minority were banned from university after the 1979 revolution. On 21 May, Iranian authorities raided 30 homes and arrested 16 Bahá’ís for being part of an initiative to provide higher education to their community.

In 1987, the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education was established to give Iranian Bahá’ís a chance to study. It has hundreds of students and many come to the UK for postgraduate degrees. The New York Times calls it an “elaborate act of communal self-preservation” – without it, Bahá’ís would have nowhere to learn.

The authorities have struck the institute before and dozens were arrested. It is official policy to block the development of the Bahá’ís. Young Bahá’ís who cannot study are denied a basic human right. Their desire to contribute to society is being strangled at the start of their adult lives.

Academics, students and politicians should join common cause for Bahá’í students in Iran. The authorities must be taught that human rightsare universal. Barring Bahá’ís from university exposes the government’s own ignorance.

Professor Stephen Chan School of Oriental and African Studies

Professor Sadie Creese Warwick University

Professor Erol Gelenbe Imperial College London

Professor Jonathan Michie Oxford University

Professor Rachel Murray Bristol University

Professor Karalyn Patterson Cambridge University

Dr Andrew Shacknove Oxford University

Professor Patrick Thornberry Keele University

Professor Barbara Wilson Cambridge University



One Response

  1. Amy Naderi

    June 14, 2011 9:45 pm

    Since Ghajar regime the bahaiis of Iran have not had the most basic rights of any citizen.The discrimination of the government of Iran toward Bhaiis never ended ,but even it is getting worse.Banning Bahaiis of having any government jobs,teaching ,and food services are not something new.Since the establishment of Islamic regime the young bahaiis have been abused verbally in their schools,and high school diploma is the highest degree of education for young Bahaiis , but when you analyze the situation that how could a goverment do such an act in twenty first century ,you ‘ll be amazed.Aren’t all Bahaiis call themselves true Iranian ,where they’ve been borned and nurished ,where their grand parents have been leaving for more than one hundred and fifty years and serving their country?
    The right for higher education is everybody’s righ ,it is not a decision solely could be made by one government,IT IS EVERY HUMAN’S RIGHT.


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