By Dr. Christopher Buck
The opposite of freedom of religion is the banning of religion.
The Baha’i faith-community in Iran is a case in point.
Iran has effectively banned the Baha’i religion by criminalizing it as a religious organization.
On the heels of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Iranian regime tried to eradicate the Baha’i Faith as a viable religious organization by executing its leaders. In 1981, the state summarily executed all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran. In 1984 and 1986, Iranian authorities executed the majority of the members of the new National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, which had been elected to replace the martyred members of that same council.
After two failed attempts, which drew international condemnation, the Iranian leadership soon discovered that, whenever it tried to “cut off the head” of the Baha’i community, the head would grow back, for the simple reason that the Baha’i community would democratically elect a new national administrative body.
The alternative to killing was criminalization. In 1983, when summary executions of elected Baha’i leaders didn’t work (because new Baha’i leaders were soon elected to take their place), the government of Iran simply outlawed Baha’i adminis... >>>
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