Publication Review: Baha'is of Iran: Power, Prejudices and Persecutions

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34614 The relationship between religious majorities and minorities in the Middle East is often construed as one of domination versus powerlessness. While this may indeed be the case, to claim that this is only or always so is to give a simplified picture of a complex reality. Such a description lays emphasis on the challenges faced by the minorities, while overlooking their astonishing ability to mobilize internal and external resources to meet these challenges. Through the study of strategies of domination, resilience, and accommodation among both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities, this volume throws into relief the inherently dynamic character of a relationship which is increasingly influenced by global events and global connections. (

[Of particular interest to Iran Press Watch is the paper by Margit Warburg which considers the situation of the Baha’is in Iran:]

Warburg, Margit, “Baha’is of Iran: Power, Prejudices and Persecutions,” pp. 195-218, in Religious Minorities in the Middle East: Domination, Self-Empowerment, Accommodation, Edited by Anh Nga Longva and Anne Sofie Roald. Leiden, Brill Academic Publishers, 2012.

This chapter presents and analyses the position of the Bahaʾis of Iran and their relationship with Iranian society, including the State and the Iranian ulama. After the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979, the Bahaʾi minority has sufffered from intensifijied persecutions, and the analysis deals primarily with these persecutions as seen in the light of the Bahaʾis’ historical relationship with the Iranian State and the ulama, respectively. The analysis includes the issue of the position of the Bahaʾi minority in Iran, the doctrinal tensions between the Bahaʾis and the ulama, and the diffferent prejudices about the Bahaʾis, which fuel the popular support to the persecutions.

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