Iranians should ask for apology from Bahais

Bahman Aghai Diba

Although since the old times the Bahai’s faced hardships and prosececutions in Iran, and an unknowm number of them have been killed, prosecuted and discriminated against, since the beginning of the so-called Islamic Revolution in Iran, a kind of official anti-Bahai policy is followed by the regime. In fact, some of the promonent figures of the Islamic regime of Iran were among the members of the notorious “Counter-Bahai Associations” in Iran. Over 200 Baha’i believers were executed between 1978 and 1998. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iranian Baha’i have regularly had their homes ransacked or been banned from attending university or holding government jobs, and several hundred have received prison sentences for their religious beliefs, most recently for participating in study circles.

Baha’is have been targets of discrimination and violence in Iran since the religion began there in the mid-nineteenth century…Today the Iranian government regards Baha’is as apostates and unprotected infidels. Baha’is in Iran have no legal rights, and they are not permitted to elect leaders of their community….Baha’is in Iran are systematically denied jobs, pensions and the right to inherit property. More than 10,000 Baha’is have been dismissed from government and university posts since Iran’s 1979 revolution.

The officials of the Islamic regime of Iran , and the members of the anti-Baha’i groups in Iran, have long accused the Bahai’s to distort the religion of Islam. Also, they have claimed that Bahai’s have acted as the tools of the foreign powers in Iran. Of course, as far as the first accusation is concerned, Shiites are themselves under attack by the majority of the Muslims that are Sunnis to do the same thing. Many Sunnis do not accept Shiites as the followers of Islam at all.

Regarding the second one, the interesting point is that the Bahai’s have been accused of being foreign allies of the British, the Americans and even the Russians in Iran. The wide spectrum of these accusations reveals their baselessness. The real reason of the hostility of the Islamic governments, especially Iranian regime, towards the Baha’is, is explained by Bernard Lewis, the famous Philosopher, who has said the Muslim piety and Islamic authorities have always had great difficulty in accommodating post-Islamic monotheistic religions such as Baha’is… [whose]their very existence presents a challenge to the Islamic doctrine of the perfection and finality of Muhammad’s revelation.

The Islamic regime of Iran has a special hatred towards Bahai’s. However, this feeling has not started has a longer history than the present regime of Iran. It is not really important that the claims of the Bahai about their religions and the course of history are right or wrong. The validity of these claims is equal to the claims of the other religions and their branches. The response of the Iranian regime and all those who have harassed the Bahai’s in Iran due to their religious convictions has always been a violation of human rights and should be condemned as such. Those of Iranians that feel a kind of baseless hostility towards the Bahai’s, and those who think that Bahai’s are a disgrace to the Shiite Islam, shall pause and think of the situation of Shiites in the Islamic world. 90% of the Muslims (Sunnis) think of the Shiites the same way.

The people of Iran should know that “Bahai killings” (killing men, women and children of Bahai’s), under the guidance and religious orders of the Mullahs of Iran, as a kind of silent genocide, was one of the darkest chapters of the Iranian history. The Iranians should condemn such heinous crimes and express their regrets and get ready to apologize.

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