Ironic similarity of Iranian women to Iranian Baha'i's


by Faramarz_Fateh

For the past 400 years, except for a short period during the reign of the great Reza Shah and his useless son, Iranian women have been second class citizens.  From forced wearing of the hijab, whether its full chador or roosari to a whole host of other things that most of us Iranian men have known and know about but haven't given enough crap to correct; examples are laws of divorce, inheritance, jobs, salaries, mandatory husband permission to do many things, custody etc etc.

Bottom line, if you ask most women in Iran if they feel equal to men, the answer is NO.  Women have been systematically oppressed via teachings of Islam and men have benefited from this for at least 4 centuries.  But, Iranian women have done everything they could to counter this systematic attempt.  Some examples:  Hijab has now been transformed to "mAnto and roosari" and the roosari sometimes covers 2/3 of their hair at best.  Women now constitute 60% of university students.  Women between ages of 28-38 are significantly more computer savy than their male counterparts.  A lot more single Iranian women have been able to leave Iran via marriage and attend universities in Europe and Canada, henece making women the "more" educated sex in Iran.

I know that the IRI elements who scoure the web for anti regime info to counter will make this sound as if the IRI actually promoted all these good things for women of Iran; to enable them.  But most of us know that is a big crock of crap.  Women have done this inspite of the government attempts to oppress them.  Ask this of any woman in Iran and you'll get to the truth.

Until the revolution, Bahais were, on a relative scale, more educated than the general public.  A somewhat disproportionate % of them were doctors, university profs, architechts and industrialists; Sabet Pasal (first broadcast TV station, Pepsi factory), Arjmand family (Arj HVAC company) were a couple examples.  Since the very first weeks of the so called revolution of 1980 and the formation of the Islamic Republic, the government of IRI has systematically done everything possible to make second class citizens out of the Bahais. 

The steps taken included but were not limited to:  1) confiscation of real and personal property  2) prohibition of work in public or private enterprieses  3) prohibition of enterance into institutes of higher eductaion (public or private universities)  4) creation of an atmosphere of fear and in some cases encouragement to leave Iran.

To some extent the IRI goverment has succeeded.  Until the revolution, 1 out of every 35-45 people in Iran was a Bahai.  Now that figure is less than 1 out of every 250-350.  There are no university professors, less than 100 doctors and 0 Bahai industrialists in Iran.  Less than 25% of Bahai youth can get a university education (Bahais attend online university courses but due to government crack down it takes 7-8 years to finish a BA/BS degree).

If it was any other group besides the Bahais, 95% of them would have left Iran and the other 5% would have lived in destitude.

Just like the Iranian women, the Bahais have persevered 30 years of atrocities and have become stronger.

Like I have said many times before, until and unless women and Bahais are given their due rights, nothing will ever change in Iran.



more from Faramarz_Fateh

On the same page !

by alborz on

The Baha'i Scriptures states that ...

"...religion must be the source of fellowship, the cause of unity and the nearness of God to man. If it rouses hatred and strife, it is evident that absence of religion is preferable and an irreligious man is better than one who professes it.", and,

“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”.



The only religion

by Cost-of-Progress on

I once saw this on a bumper sticker. The religion part caught my attention most:

"Earth is my country and to do good is my religion".




by Anonym on

I am honored by your invitation but I live on the East Coast so it's not possible for me to attend.

I will check out the links you provided though.

Thanks and best wishes.



A wonderful outcome!

by alborz on

I am glad that we were able to redirect this exchange to the place that it is now.  Respect and recognition is what you and I can afford to offer.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier comments, many Iranians have been a source of aid and comfort to their Baha'is brothers and sisters and morally against their abhorrent and systematic persecution.  You "see yourself like a philosopher than a religious person" and therefore have the freedom to acknowledge the possibility that the 'Baha'i religion is divine'.  It is this distinction that you make between yourself and a religious person that has been at the core of attrocities and the dialogue here.

Just as religion can be a motive force for one to transcend self to do good, it has also been at the root many attrocities.  It is perhaps the very reason why many associate the term 'religious' with attributes that they find unworthy of a thinking, objective, rational, and self informed and reliant person - which no doubt you are.

Should you live in the SF Bay Area - you are welcome to attend an event in SF, on Wednesday, August 12th, at the Herbst Theater on Van Ness Avenue, at 8 PM.  It will be a memorial for those that have perished and remain in the prisons of Iran.  The Baha'is of SF are sponsoring this event.

I also invite you to visit on occassion which is updated with the most recent events affecting the plight of the Baha'is in Iran and // which chronicles the history of these persecutions.

In the hope that information will bring about understanding.

Be Well,




by Anonym on

Thanks for taking care and time to discuss this very important issue.

You have written and covered a great deal which deserves a detailed response that I hope I'll be able to provide.

When a religion is 'issued' by God, it is clearly for a purpose that only God almighty knows. There are individuals who start following it since what they hear is the truth. The truth is recognizable by all, even though it may be ignored by some.

It is quite easy and possible to 'ruin' virtually any religion, even though it might take time and effort. Islam is no exception. As a matter of fact, the way that the revelations were provided to Prophet Mohammad and the way it was forbidden to 'publish' Qur'an during the span of his life point to the fact that the human nature is taken into account for this command to be issued. (my assumption)

The reason that I am discussing all these with you, a non-Muslim, is not because I feel 'Apolegetic'. The reason for saying that a government should not be religious is because in the absense of the Prophet, one would be at the mercy of the highest religious authority. That may be good in some cases, or bad like it is in Iran now. Just Imagine if IRI would care more for all Iranian people (an easy thing to do), instead of making all the mistakes, people would hug and embrace Islam today in Iran.

Furthermore, I see myself more like a philosopher than a religious person and understand the argument that you make for the need for a new religion and it might just be so. Time will tell. If the Bahai religion is divine, then one should not obstructs it.

Also for your statement:

"Another is quoting only certain parts of the Quran and ignoring others that are damaging to the argument being made. "

If need be, one can always interpret a writing in a way that becomes non-'damaging'. I may not be a good interpreter, but I am sure there are some out there. 

Take care.


The right notes have been struck in this exchange....

by alborz on

... and perhaps a few more are warranted.

You stated: "So I disagree with you there. "Islamo Kharab Kardan" is not the same thing as critisizing Islam." I believe you misunderstood what I said in this regard.  What I stated was : " Even those that say that "Islamo kharab kardan" (they have ruined Islam) are acknowledging that this is possible. "  Allow me to explain further.

I believe that religion is intended to transform society through the transformation of the individual.  Should it fail to transform society for the better it means that it has failed to transform the individual for the better.  Religion comes from the root words 're' and 'ligare' which means 'to reconnect'.   This ability to reconnect is to be used to "make whole" the indivdual spiritually and socially.  Regretfully, this potency has been used for many distructive and divisive acts in this world and as such, in its current form it is best to not have a religion.  However, this is not to deny the true purpose of religion.

For this reason those that say "Islamo kharab kardan", are making a statement about the potency of Islam to transform society for the better.  So, I, in no way meant to imply that they were criticizing Islam but rather acknowledging its inability to do what it was intended to do.  I went on to say that others have blamed and criticized Islam for what has happened in Iran. While I acknowledged the differences between the two I went on to conclude that the result is one and the same, because the true purpose of Islam (religion) is not being fulfilled today. I again emphasize 'today', as Islam did at one time have this potency.

Additionally you stated that: "As for the true Islamic rule one would think that it existed only as long as the Prophet Mohammad lived in this world. Islam, like other religions of God must be in the heart of people, not a ruling government."   While you are free to define this as you wish, the reality of the Islamic Caliphate and the Islamic Republic is based on a wholly different interpretation than yours, 1400 years later.   Islam defines a framework for society based on which many aspects of a person's life and its relationship to others are regulated.  So to assert that "Islam, like other religions of God must be in the heart of people" is not consistent with the principles of Islam.

Your view in this regard has gained much traction amongst modern day Moslems as it attempts to separate Islam from recent world events and affairs which in one way or another have an 'Islamic' label associated with it.  The argument that the Quran is the only basis on which Islam should be judged and not the Nahjol Balaghe, or the Hadith, is another manifestation of this thinking.  Another is quoting only certain parts of the Quran and ignoring others that are damaging to the argument being made.  These approaches are commonly referred to as Islamic Aplogetics and since I don't wish to diverge, I will assume that you know what I am referring to and where this could lead to.

I would be the last person to blame Islam for the acts of a Basijee, however, my reference was to the enforcement of Islamic laws by the Basijees (the fact that you need a baton wielding thug to enforce Islamic law).  This association is undeniable and hence even your own call for Islam to be restricted to a person's heart is a safety mechanism to prevent people from being able to act out what is in their heart.  Hate crimes against Baha'is by individual Moslem are common and derive their legitmacy from the interpretation of individuals from their religious principles and their inflamed passions.  I will simply remind you of your own statement: "After all it is written in the Qur'an that the Prophet Mohammad is the last of the Prophets (khatam al anbia). So, If that is to be held true, as written, then it would be illogical or dishonest for Bahai's to hold Islam in reverence. "  A Moslem in Iran, that agreed with you would face no consequence in attacking and harming a Baha'i, because there is not only no recourse but that they would be fulfilling what they believe is a legitimate act. Imagine that!   Well you don't need to imagine this as it is real.

Please be fair and recognize that your call for independent thinking is the antithesis of Islamic Jurisprudence.  In a system that has clerics, sources of emulation (maraaje taghlid), and Friday prayers sermons that spew out hatred, your call for independent thinking is welcomed, even though it is a novel one for Islam and not representative.

In short, are you asking for Islam as it is today, whether Sunni or Shiite, to be completely set aside and a new more liberal and personal version be instituted?  One that is unable to supersede The Universal Declaration of Human Rights?  If so, this may by itself be a verdict on today's Islam.



alborz, one last addition ...

by Anonym on

On holly words, 

Anything that is spoken, but not written, can be disputed ...

Anything that is written can be interpreted ...

One must use his/her mind as well as their heart to be able to make the right judgement.



by Anonym on

I don't blame Bahais for not liking what they think is Islam in Iran. It has been hard on Bahais not just under IRI but all the way back to creation of their faith in Iran.

As for the true Islamic rule one would think that it existed only as long as the Prophet Mohammad lived in this world. Islam, like other religions of God must be in the heart of people, not a ruling government.

It is against Islam to oppress people. It is actually written clearly in Qu'ran "... Do not oppress others and do not allow others to oppress you...".

So any oppression of the Bahais or others is strickly against Islam. If IRI is doing that, then Islam can not be blamed for it.

When the people of Iran are discontent about their government and are beaten and opperssed by the Baseej, then Islam can not be blamed for it.

If the wealth of the country is spent on the wrong causes and the money could be used for the people of Iran so that they won't feel oppressed, Islam can not be blamed for it.

So I disagree with you there. "Islamo Kharab Kardan" is not the same thing as critisizing Islam.

Have a good one.



by alborz on

... thank you for your responses.  I believe that this exchange has taken a turn for the better.

1. Just as you have now agreed that a difference in interpretation can exist, irrespective of motives or 'desired objective', the original point that you made was that Baha'is don't revere Islam because they don't share the same interpretation as Moslems.  Had you presented your more recent view in the same way, my ensuing response would have been unnecessary and misplaced.  Your accusations directed at me would also have been well justified - but alas it was unwarranted in the context of your original comment.  I am glad that we are past this point now.

2. Thank you also for further clarifying your views on this subject, but I fear that you still are holding back on specifics.   I would be happy to learn of the specifics and ask that you present them.

However, since you have stated: 'In some cases there has even been closeness and respect that Bahai members on this site had shown towards the people who attack Islam regularly.', perhaps you can provide a specifc example of such a pattern.

What I can attest to is the enormous volume of attacks against Islam which Baha'is in principle do not condone.  I ask you to consider whether a Moslem or a Baha'i has more of a pretext to attack Islam. Why are Baha'is not attacking Islam? After all is there not sufficient reason to do so? Baha'is in response to the persistent attacks on this site, have never backed off from expressing their perspectives and persented compelling arguments to the contrary, all as part of a defence and not an attack. In response to many conflicts in the world their response has consistently been the same and based on the Words of Baha'u'llah:

"The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind.  He perceiveth the disease, and proscribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy.  Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration.  The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflications can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require.  Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalcuable afflictions.  We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned.  They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician.  Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices.  They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy.  They have conceived the stright to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.

Incline your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner*.  Arise, and
lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be


The Baha'is are therefore urged to focus on the needs of the world and its remedy.  How well we do individually is a personal matter, but the principle here is clear.

3. Your explanation helped me understand your earlier point.  Material well being does influence our spiritual life.  As such, I agree with the first part of your assertion.  However, I also aknowledge that the association between the ails of Iran's society and Islam is a natural one, as Iran named itself first 'Islamic' and then 'Republic'.  Today many argue that it is neither. 

People make these associations superficially.  Even those that say that "Islamo kharab kardan" (they have ruined Islam) are acknowledging that this is possible.  In general, critics of Islam and those that say "Islamo kharab kardan" are speaking of the same thing from different perspectives. 

Islam is not an abstract thing, seperate from its effect on society and the life of its adherents.  While the first group directly blames Islamic principles for the crisis that Iran faces today, the second group laments the fact that Islam no longer has the potency that it should have precisely because of its principles and how it has been enforced by the ruling clerical order. Yes, the very clerical order that derives its legitemacy from Islamic principles.

It is hard for many to dissociate the disasterous situation in Iran from Islam. Religious principles must have the potency to transform human society for the better.  If, for whatever reason, it no longer can, then 'it is hard to argue with logic' and those that point out this failure from any angle or perspective.  They in essence argue that the potency is no longer there and any attempt to revive it by force or police or basiji batons will further reinforce the point.  Many have become anti-Islamic and for others they have accepted an end of Islam's potency for creating a better society.

Isn't the end result one and the same?

Have a good weekend,




by Anonym on

1- Qu'ran can be interpreted in many ways given that a desired objective is to be reached. This is in no way saying the the Bahai interpretation is wrong, but at least it provides the people of your faith a way to counter your opposition and have an honest reason to revere Islam. Good for you.

2- One hopes to see if the Bahai 'voice' on this site and elsewhere to condemn wrong doings of other nations and groups and religions as they are condemning the wrong doing against their own people by the extremists in Iran or elsewhere. In some cases there has even been closeness and respect that Bahai members on this site had shown towards the people who attack Islam regularly. You are incorrect to assume anything else or continue accusing people.

3- Most Shahrestans are not considered 'rural'. As for the people, when someone's stomach is full and they have money, in most cases they tend to forget religion and look for pleasures of this life, or get out of Iran to come to US or Europe for a better life. So if a person has no money, struggling and maybe hungry from time to time, they do tend to approach religion more. Even the people who are not that poor in Iran and don't approve of government's handling of the country, when asked about Islam, they say 'Islamo Kharab Kardan', means 'they ruined Islam'. So the Idea that Iranians are becoming anti Islamic is an illusion.

Good day


Anonym - your passive approach is indeed agressive!

by alborz on

You must be under the impression that by simply putting an 'or' in your accusations (agressive) you can make your assertions plausible statements (passive).  If this is not your intent, then please refrain from it.

1) Regarding the term 'Seal of the Prohpets', it has been the basis of much of the malevolence towards the Baha'is.  While you appear not to endorse such malevolence (passive) you do seem to lend credibility to the outcome (aggressive), albeit it may have been inadvertent.   Since you think that you have an understanding of the 'clear writing in the Quran', I wonder whether you would consider an alternative interpretation.  Words do matter and if one does not have a complete understanding of words and the context in which they are used one is very likely to misunderstand.


While greement is not a requirement, nor one is sought here, acknowledging that alternative interpretations do indeed exist, is.

2) I have no clue as to what you are referring to because you give no specifics (passive) and yet by implication you are insinuating that the Baha'is somehow deserve the atrocities they have and continue to endure (aggressive).  If this is what you meant - how tragic to learn that such self-righteous views still persist.  If this is not what you meant perhaps you care to clarify.

3) This is what you stated, "I have been to Iran and have spoken to a great number of Iranians in Tehran and some Shahrestans as well." If by 'shahrestan' you did not mean rural, then what did you mean to make such a distinction with Tehran?  You then went on to say "I have to add that most of them were from low income families". Did you mean to imply that low income people somehow have a different persepecitive and that in contrast to higher income people don't blame Islam for the ills of society in Iran? This is what I had enquired about in my earlier question, and here I am very interested to hear your reasoning for any such differences. 

4) When you make value judgments and unfounded assertions against one group (agressive) you are being disrespectful, period. You then went on to make further assertions that your "reasoning" was logical and how it cannot be argued with!  Softening an assertion by "leaving room for..." did not work in this case.  You opened yourself to this and I simply reminded you that you are not being 'respectful, logical and honest' and that this would detract from other points that you have made and that may have merit.

5) I agree that with you that you don't need my endorsement, but when you make sweeping judgements be prepared for a response which may call into question the content and approach you are taking to a dialogue.

Be Well...







by Anonym on

Actually some of my own family think like you do and we discuss this issue everytime we meet. I do agree with some of the things you say, but my vision of Islam is not Shia or Sunni or any other. I agree that people can be misguided by religious leaders and that is what has happened in Iran and other places too. 

If I ever get a chance I might put out a few blogs and expand on this.




by Anonym on

I am sorry that you think the way that you do but there are plenty of problems with your response.


"references within the Quran that supports a different interpretation that most Muslims have been fed over the centuries by the Muslim clergy. Enough on this subject.

What is 'fed'?  The clear writing is in Qu'ran? I did not 'interpret' Qu'ran, I just mentioned it! It is you who are interpreting it, not me! This is the core problem and obviously for you it is 'Enough on this subject'.


"attrocities inflicted upon them

Yes, I do agree with innocent Bahai's who have not been treated correctly and must be treated as equal as everyone else in Iran. But when you mention 'attrocities', it make one wonder of the hypocrisy of it and the silence of the Bahai's toward other 'attrocities' that take place and they have closed their door not to see the ugliness. 


"may I ask to what do you attribute the differences in perspective between those that live in large cities and those that live in rural areas?"

I don't remember mentioning rural areas. You need to read the posting again to clear your misunderstanding.


" being respectful, logical and honest yourself

Even though you made this personal, I will not. I will not call you names and you can be sure of that. If you had READ my posting properly you would notice the word 'or'.

"  ... then it would be illogical or dishonest ... " & "... misunderstanding or falsifications ..."

That means that I am leaving the possiblity of mistakes and misunderstanding open, instead of foolishly accusing people.

So the next time when you indicate 'with due respect' in the title of your response, make sure that you read your holly book and follow it. 


"Your inability to properly deduce not only does not win you any points, but rather discredits much of your other views that may have merit. Regretfully you have already disqualified yourself in 'telling anyone what is...'" 

I don't need your endorsement  to say what I think is just. If I were you, I'd stop writing in support of the Bahai faith. You just have too many unresolved issues that you slip away from or try to answer politically.


After the Prophet Mohammad departed this world some Muslims began to go astray, I think that the same can be said about the Bahai faith.

Good day to you sir. 


anonym, I guess a thank you is due.

by Faramarz_Fateh on

In you message, you indicated that "I have been to Iran and have spoken to a great number of Iranians in Tehran and some Shahrestans as well. I have to add that most of them were from low income families".  Thank you for being honest about your source of info.

Although I have not been to Iran and do not plan to go there until the current band of filth is not eliminated, I talk to people who live in Iran all the time and have met scores of Iranians who have recently left Iran; as recent as last month.  So, my source of info is not entirely off. 

Unfortunately, low income families in Iran's shahrestans are not as educated and well informed as others in Iran (Tehran and other large cities); because of lack of access to info.

Religion, especially organized religion mainly plays to people's emotions.  As such, taking advantage of emotions of low income less educated is much easier than it is for well informed.

That is (in my opinion) why people you spoke with do not fault Islam. 

Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on



Thank you Flying Solo and Javaneh ....

by alborz on

... your views have confirmed in my mind what I need to look for in a transformed Iran.  Anything short of the complete elimination of our past norms is an unacceptable compromise and one that can only plant the seeds of further turmoil and attrocities in our society.

The natural course that you, Flying Solo, refer to, may involve further detours along the way which will only serve to deprive many more generations of Iranian women from what is morally, ethically, and spiritualy the essence of humanity.  This is a fear of mine and one that you may agree is not unfounded.

Principles can define the foundation of our human society, just as 'truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtures'.  We need to now ask ourselves from which repository do we draw from when choosing the principles for our society, and do they meet the standards which will enable the fulfillment of every human being's spiritual, physical and material potential.



Anonym - with all due respect ...

by alborz on

... to the dialogue that you are having with Mr. Fateh, I must step in and point out that a difference in interpretation of the term "Seal of the Prophets" does not invalidate the correct assertion made by Mr. Fateh.  I don't wish to divert from the discussion from this blog, but the there many references within the Quran that supports a different interpretation that most Muslims have been fed over the centuries by the Muslim clergy.  Enough on this subject.

Reverance is the highest form of honor and respect, and Baha'is express this towards the beliefs of all Faiths and Islam is no exception, despite evidence to the contrary that has led to the attrocities inflicted upon them.  Perhaps you should take a page out of their book and begin by being respectful, logical and honest yourself.  Practicing these traits is far more involved than claiming them or writing about them.

Your inability to properly deduce not only does not win you any points, but rather discredits much of your other views that may have merit.  Regretfully you have already disqualified yourself in 'telling anyone what is' and being party to a 'logical' discourse.

Finally regarding your response to Mr. Fateh, may I ask to what do you attribute the differences in perspective between those that live in large cities and those that live in rural areas?  Could education and hence social development have something to do with it?  Perhaps there are other reasons, but these do come to mind.




by Anonym on


"You and I must hang around with a very different group of Iranians. "

Yes I agree. But unlike you, I have been to Iran and have spoken to a great number of Iranians in Tehran and some Shahrestans as well. I have to add that most of them were from low income families. Either they liked their religion or if they were not religious, they felt neutral about it. If you get to go to Iran too, do the same and I am sure you get much better information.

Also I don't understand why, as you say, Bahai's hold Islam with reverence either? After all it is written in the Qur'an that the Prophet Mohammad is the last of the Prophets (khatam al anbia). So, If that is to be held true, as written, then it would be illogical or dishonest for Bahai's to hold Islam in reverence.

Don't get me wrong, I am just telling you what is. I am not faulting other Iranians, whatever religion they may have or not have. I am not very religious and  have kept my mind open to other  faiths. But you see, sometimes you can not argue with logic, unless of course some people might think that there has been some misunderstanding or falsifications somewhere.

Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on


As you correctly point out nothing that I stated is a revelation.  The plight of the Iranian woman is not limited to the past 30 years.  Whilst the current regime and the current culture has shamelessly plundered and abused her, her right was trampled on plenty by the regime before the current and others before that.  

The Iranian female has always been given into marriage at a price. She has always needed the permission of her father (if single) or her husband (if married) to travel or to work. Unless stated in her marriage contract she has no right to her husband's assets.  The inheritance laws place her at the bottom of the list when her father or her husband dies.  While she is forbidden to seek a divorce, she has no choice but to accept being divorced if her husband so wishes.  Upon divorce she loses her children to her husband and his family. If she should be so lucky so as to bear male children, then perhaps there is a glimmer of hope that she may be afforded solace and in time protection and support. 

As for the dress code imposed upon her in the past 30 years, perhaps this was the only protection the regime afforded her, having severely rationed her other rights. 

I am afraid I am not the proponent of slogans, and I understand reform poorly. I am a regular citizen in the western world.  I have empathy for the Iranian female but no solution.  I believe the solution lies within her, in Iran.  It would be outrageous and most certainly audacious of me to even begin to understand what my Iranian sister has had to endure, let alone what she ought to do to get out of the mess. I watch.  

Having said that, I do believe history travels along a natural course, one that is inevitable. In that sense the uprising we have witnessed is a natural reaction to the oppression the Iranian male and female have had to endure.  It is my hope that role models and leaders rise to guide effectively so that such incredible energy does not go to waste. 

Often I hear the Iranian wants freedom.  I certainly hope it is equally realized that freedom comes along with tremendous   responsibility. 

In that regard, I think the Iranian female can learn from the Bahai community - to remain true and loyal to its kind, to be supportive and generous in spirit and to seek peaceful resistance.  Iran needs its women (not just its men) to shed chauvinism, misogyny and all other kinds of 'isms' also.  Taking the roosari off is one step. Let's hope it is not the only objective in the path to freedom for the women of Iran.



I have to comment now !

by javaneh29 on

Regarding Iranian women and why they have become so vocal.

It's simple really. Since time began woman every where in the world have had to fight for their right to be considered as valuable members of society. The right to vote, to work, to choose who they marry, to choose what they wear etc and for it to mean something.

Women in Iran have been cruelly oppressed these past 30 yrs. They have had their rights stripped from them and as Flying solo wrote, their choices have been narrow.

The cry from inside Iran is one of freedom. Women see this is some thing they can identify with, perhaps more so than any man in Iran, because even a man in prison has known more freedom.

This is a freedom movement for women.  



Flying Solo - How well you have summed it up!

by alborz on

I must admit that while the elements you point to in your comments are known to most Iranians, this was the first time that in a single reading I was confronted with all of them at once.

I am glad that I asked and grateful that you responded.

So, where do we go from here? While some elements are specific to the plight of women during the past 30 years, many are not. While the call for reform is heard from men and to a greater extent from women, will a tranformed Iran be able to address the multitude of disparitites between the genders, and the resulting inequities found in our culture and heritage?  Or will it simply result in a more relaxed dress code?!!

While it may simple to chant slogans against one regime, it is much harder to conceive of a common vision for a transformed Iran.  Clearly it needs to transcend individual preferences and ideologies and this leaves us only with universally upheld principles.

Are we prepared for such a discourse, which is far more profound than slogans against this or that person or regime?  Do we exhibit the maturity to even arrive at a process by which this discourse can take place?

I ask these questions because I am truly interested in hearing your views and the views of others on this subject, and not to express doubt in our capacity to deal with them.

Again, thanks for the dose of reality you have just offered.



Anonym....sorry, you are wrong

by Faramarz_Fateh on

Mr. Anonym,

You could not be more wrong in your assumption that "great majority of Iranians do not blame Islam for the problems of their government".

I have met numerous Iranians in the past years here in the U.S. as well as Europe and Asia, and continue to meet more as new Iranians immigrate ino the U.S.   I have to say that at least my experience has indicated that a great majority of Iranians DO blame Islam for the ills of their country.

The only groups that do not hold Islam at fault and continue to talk about Islam with reverence are Bahais and Zorasterians.

My experience has not been limited to just 1 group of Iranians; taxi drivers, neuro surgeons, grocery shop clercks, hair dressers, lawyers, men, women, young and old ALL blame Islam.

You and I must hang around with a very different group of Iranians. 

Flying Solo

The Self - Of course

by Flying Solo on


Humans are more alike than different.  The path to resolution, so it seems, always ends up in SELF rather than OTHER.

Thoughts on women having distinguished themselves in the recent social upheavals in Iran? 

It's all well and good to assert that they have the courage of their conviction; as I am sure they do.  Equally so one needs to bear in mind that there is not much that the Iranian female has not lost already. What are the options available to a typical young female in Iran right now?  As the blogger states one option is for her to marry an ex-patriate, more often much older than her, leave the country,  serve him abroad or divorce him and make a life for herself, studying, working etc. The other is to prostitute her body in one of the neighboring countries where Persian females are in demand, another is to make her way into university to gain knowledge. But can she finacially support herself with all that knowledge?   Another is to succumb to a marriage with a much older person - a father figure if you will - who will financially support her.  She has the choice to become a second, third, fourth or part-time wife. If she is fortunate enough to come from a well-to-do family she has the option of remaining single and continuing to live with her parents.   The luxuries of fancy roosari/manteau, $6 cups of coffee, hightlighted kakol and all night parties belong to a select few.  

For the Iranian female a life of servitude is a given. She has had to accept that life in order to assure her survival.  Her value has been defined in her ability to bear children and to take orders.  She is chattel to be owned and bartered. All this in the 21st century.  So I ask you what does the typical Iranian female have to lose by protesting the current regime? Answer is NOTHING.  So she takes to the streets in defiance, in protest and yes of course she leads. She has a higher probability of gaining than her male counterpart. 


Flying Solo - we are in agreement...

by alborz on

...that this rule applies to all of humanity. Since the degree and nature of the prejudice and the resulting oppression is indeed different amongst the different segments of society and both genders, each would be expected to develop different capacities for transcending the chief obstacle to social progress, which I think is focus on 'self' at the expense of all else. 

I find solace when a principle can be applied to the resolution of an issue.  When I can identify the principle everything else falls into place.  When I can't identify the principle then I know that I need to contemplate the situation more before a resolution is found or an explanation is offered.

Any thoughts as to why women have distinguished themselves in the recent social upheavals in Iran?



Flying Solo

Oppresion and Strength

by Flying Solo on


Thank you for your response. My opinion is based on personal interactions with Bahais in Canada.  I am afraid some of what I was told does not support your assertions.  However, I accept that I may have been misinformed or simply misunderstood.

This much I do know, what does not kill makes the person stronger. This rule seems to apply to all races, creeds, religions and both genders. 


Flying Solo - just to get back on track...

by alborz on

... while I agree with parts of your response, I have to say that we have now sufficiently veered off the topic of the blog to warrant an adjustment.

The blog asserted that both Baha'is and women have suffered as oppressed segments of society and yet despite their plight, they have persevered in their determination to make their home, Iran, a better and more humane and progressive society for all to live.  In this regard, I agree with the blogger. While other oppressed groups have similar attachments to Iran, the fact is that they have left Iran in significant numbers such their population has decreased significantly over the past 3 decades.  You are free to verify this fact and let me know if I am mistaken.   This has not been the case for Iran's largest religious minority, namely the Baha'is.  Their numbers have actually increased and they are more vibrant inspite of the oppression they have endured.  These challenges have strengthened this segment of Iran's society and there lies the similarity to Iranian women.

There were no assertions or comparisons made by me that the two groups have similar or different support structures abroad.  This was your assertion.  In fact, even if we were to assume that your assertion is true, which it may very well be the case, this would further make the case for an exodus of Baha'is from Iran - as it would signify an encouragement for en masse migration.  There is no evidence of this and their migration mirrors that of other Iranians that have left Iran for varying reasons, including denial of opportunity to get an education, work, earn a living, and support their families under the protection of the law.

As for support organizations for Baha'is inside Iran, they have been repeatedly dismantled and their members imprisoned. At this time no such organization exists.  The members of  the last group were imprisoned over a year ago.  What support may exists today is at the grass roots level which includes the many decent Muslim Iranians that have come to know their neighbors and learned for themselves of the falacious nature of the charges and allegations against their Baha'i friends and fellow citizens.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope this clarifies the questions that were raised.  If I have missed anything, I would be happy to address it, if I can.


Flying Solo

En Masse Exodus

by Flying Solo on


It is my understanding that this blog likens the plight of the Bahais to that of the female population in Iran. 

You posed the notion of en masse exodus for various Iranians, asserting that such exodus did not apply to Bahais.  I beg to differ on both accounts.  Many who could leave oppression, did - irrespective of their race, religion or gender.

Bahais inside and outside of Iran have the support of their organization. The same cannot be said for the female population in Iran. 


Mr. Alborz

by Anonym on

The 'advent of Islam' did not cause the enmasse migration of Zoroastrians. It was after the invasion of foreign armies and their occupation and unjust treatment of Iranians by some of the invaders that forced our Zoroastrian brothers to leave.


Mr. Faramarz_Fateh

by Anonym on

The fact that the present Iranian government goes under the name of Islamic Republic, has probably caused the greatest harm to the image of Islam in anti-religion Iranians and some Iranians of non-moslem background.

Fortunately the good news is that the great majority of Iranians do not blame 'Islam' for the problems of their government.


A note to Flying Solo...

by alborz on

The question was one of an enmasse migration or exodus, not of individuals exercising their right to leave Iran based on specific or general reasons pertaining to the circumstances that they had in Iran.  Millions of Iranians have also left Iran and made Canada and elsewhere their new home. This does not constitute an exodus.

Also you state "Denouncing the Bahai belief has also bought many a Bahai the rite of passage to leave Iran and settle abroad among their brethren."  Now that would not make any sense !!  If they had denounced their faith they would not have had to leave Iran and secondly would not be able to rightfully find refuge in other parts of the world.  Any of the hundreds executed, imprisoned, tortured, and deprived of education and civil rights would instantly exonerate themselves from the false charges by simply denouncing their faith.  That has not been the case and is not a fact in question.

The number of Baha'is that have left Iran is miniscule compared to those that have steadfastly remained and in no way can be described as an enmasse migration similar to Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians.  This, I believe, was the point of the original blog.