Seven arrested Bahai leaders remain in prison

Two weeks have passed since the arrest of the 6 Baha’i leaders in Tehran on May 14th 2008.They are members of an informal, coordinating group that sees to the needs of the Iranian Baha’i community. The 7th and the only remaining member was already arrested in March 2008. Government intelligence agents entered their homes in the early morning hours and spent up to five hours searching each home before taking the members to prison.

Jahanshah Javid the publisher of published an article on July 3rd 2002 under the title of Heechi Kam Nadaran. In his article he raised the issue of the reaction of non- Baha’i Iranians in regard to the injustices done to this religious minority in Iran. He mentioned in part: “What I’m trying to say is that a person’s beliefs should not bring punishment. It’s a really simple concept. And yet we ignore it – especially when it comes to Baha’is. Why is that? Why should they be excluded from all public spheres and discriminated against on every level? Don’t tell me it’s all the government’s fault. And no, you can’t blame it all on Islam or the mullahs either.

What about you and me? What’s our excuse? What have Baha’is done to deserve our scorn — and most of all, indifference? Dard o marazemoon chiyeh?

We, as a nation, have passively, carelessly, callously watched this inhumanity for decades. We respect Jews (when we’re in a generous mood) only because they are people of the Book and all that crap. But when it comes to Baha’is… I don’t know what it is. They don’t even exist.

This is an important issue just by the fact that non-Baha’is don’t think it’s an important issue. A whole group of people, hundreds of thousands of them in Iran, have been persecuted in the most deliberate and cruel fashion for three generations (is my math correct?) and yet our dissident literature is virtually silent on this atrocity.”

Well Mr. Javid I am happy to say that the Iranian non-Baha’i population is no longer indifferent and silent about the treatment of religious minorities in Iran and the Baha’is in particular. People of conscience are no longer buying the baseless accusations of Baha’is being agents of other governments or even the most recent excuse of the Iranian Government indicating that the 6 arrested were a threat to Iran’s security and their arrest had nothing to do with the fact that they were Baha’is.

Here are just some examples of non-Baha’i Iranians speaking up and against this unfair treatment of the Baha’is in Iran; Ayatollah Montezari has issued a decree indicating that despite the fact the Baha’is don’t have a heavenly book (which is actually incorrect) they are citizens of Iran; they have the rights of a citizen and the right to live in that country. Furthermore, they must benefit from the Islamic compassion which is stressed in the Quran and by religious authorities. Dr. Hossain Lajvardi has issued an open letter to the UN denouncing the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. Ebrahim Nabavi has published an article with his keen sense of humor on how ridiculous the statements of the government in regard to the arrested Baha’is are. Amil Imani has done an excellent job in investigating the Baha’i Faith and separating facts from rumors and baseless accusations in his many articles he has published. Bahram Moshiri, Sohrab Sobhani and Naser Mohammadi deputy editor of Kayhan in London in their interviews on Voice of America have spoken against these injustices. Again this is a very small sample from the many efforts and steps non-Baha’i Iranians are taking in defense of their defenseless fellow countrymen and women in Iran.

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