This government of Iran has been on a hunting expedition since 1979, with the express intention of essentially eradicating Bahais from Iran. I don’t understand this, because every single Bahai I have ever met, or heard of, or talked behind their backs, has been unequivocally, without exception, super nice. Occasionally really good looking.
But I simply haven’t met a bad one.
So I am completely unable to process why this Iranian government has it out for them, in this big a way.
As far as I can tell, if there was one religious group that everyone could accept and get along with, it would seem the Bahais are that group.
If there was one religion that precisely accepted Islam, and any other religion for that matter as valid, and your free choice to choose it, Bahaism would be that religion.
Why then, does this Iranian government systematically seek and destroy ANY hint of Bahais, including those that help the Bahais trying to survive inside Iran?
Why? What is so bad about Bahaism that this Iranian government would risk it’s normally very carefully sanitized image of respecting other religions, by publicly and through a set policy, deliver this degree of sustained institutionalized inhumane treatment?
Simple. Apostasy. More on that later.
First let us explore the Bahai faith a bit, so you know exactly who is being degraded. I’m not going to be too detailed and I’m just going to skim around and give you what I think is the real gist, so you get it. Do your research if you have more questions.
“The Bahai Faith is a monotheistic religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahai teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal.”
Sounds great so far.
“The Bahai Faith was founded by Bahaullah in 19th-century Persia. Bahaullah was exiled for his teachings, from [Persia]. After Bahaullah’s death, under the leadership of his son, Abdul-Baha, the religion spread from its Persian roots, and gained a footing in Europe and America, and was consolidated in Iran. After the death of Abdul-Baha, the leadership of the Bahai community entered a new phase, evolving from a single individual to an administrative order with both elected bodies and appointed individuals. There are probably more than 5 million Bahais around the world in more than 200 countries.”
Sounds positively Democratic. Hmmm! I’m starting to see a problem already!
The laws of the Bahai Faith primarily come from the Kitab-i-Aqdas, written by Bahaullah. A few examples of basic Bahai laws and religious observances are:
- Prayer: Bahais over 15 must recite an obligatory prayer each day. In addition to the daily obligatory prayer, believers are directed to offer devotional prayer and to meditate and study sacred scripture. There is no set form for devotions and meditations, though the reading aloud of prayers from prayer books is typical at Bahai gatherings.
- Backbiting and gossip are prohibited and denounced.
- Adult Bahais should observe a nineteen-day sunrise-to-sunset fast each year from March 2 through March 20.
- Bahais are forbidden to drink alcohol or take drugs
- Sexual intercourse is permitted between a husband and wife, so premarital, extramarital and homosexual intercourse is forbidden.
- Gambling is forbidden.
- Fanaticism is forbidden.
- Adherence to rituals (other than the daily prayer) is discouraged
- Participating in partisan politics is forbidden. (sort of)
- Being a fulltime priest or monk is forbidden and Bahais “ground their spirituality” in ordinary daily life. Honest work for a decent living for example, is considered a form of worship.
Bahais also believe that each religion was appropriate for it’s time. They accept all of the messengers of the Abrahamic, as well as Dharmic ones—Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad. For Bahais however, after Mohammad died, they also accept the recent messengers of the Bab, and Bahaullah. Bahais therefore consider all humanity to be in a continual process of collective evolution.
OK let’s stop for a minute, right here.
So far Bahais believe in the same thing as Moslems! Surprisingly even in the area of Homosexuality being prohibited! But this last bit about the evolution of the spirituality of mankind, that seems to be an obvious problem. We know that Islam considers itself to be “Perfect”, the Qoran “the Perfect Document”, and Mohammad the “Perfect Prophet”.
While if I were inclined, I would argue that all of this proclaimed perfection seems a bit vain, and the sin of vanity and all that, but I’m not about to argue that. Are you crazy?
But apparently, or from the evidence of it, Iran hates Bahais for this reason exactly, that they consider themselves the extension AFTER Islam, or a sort of perfection upon the perfection, which then has to be taken as an insult to Islam, which also now obviously insults the Qoran, and then Mohammad, and now brings us to Apostasy.
By claiming that Bab came to Shiraz as the first messenger in 1844, and Bahullah hit Earth shortly after in 1863, both well past Mohammad’s “final bedtime”, Bahais put themselves front and center in the sights of Islamic Scholars, who now had no choice but to apply the rules of Apostasy. Resulting in Bahullah’s eventual death in 1892, in what was then Palestine. We call it Israel today. Well, most of us do.
Attacks on Bahais for Apostasy, continued through much of the 20th century, especially in Iran for some reason, where over 200 were executed between 1989 and 1998, as Bahais were systematically persecuted as a cult, and various other denigrating designations. But mostly just for the Apostasy.
The Shah didn’t apparently like the Bahis much either, starting in 1955 with the spreading of anti-Bahai propaganda on national radio stations and in official newspapers. Ironically, as the anti-Shah movement gained support in Iran, revolutionary propaganda alleged that some of the Shah’s advisors were Bahais. And Bahais were portrayed as supporters of Israel and the West.
Since the Revolution Bahais in Iran have had their homes ransacked or have been banned from attending university or from holding government jobs, and several hundred have received prison sentences, or for participating in traditional Bahai study circles. Bahai cemeteries have been desecrated, the personal property of Bahais has been seized and often demolished, including the House of Bahaullah’s father. The House of the Bab in Shiraz, one of the three holiest sites to which Bahais visit for pilgrimage, has been destroyed twice.
In October 2005 a confidential letter from the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Iran ordered its members to identify Bahais and to monitor their activities. This created a job opportunity for one of those Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Commissions on Human Rights, which never do anything but still manage to get paid to “express concerns”, expressed concerns about the condition of Bahais in Iran.
On May 14, 2008, an informal body you have no doubt been reading about here, all last week on the Anniversary of it, known as the “Friends” (Yaran) of the Bahai community in Iran, seven were arrested, and taken to Evin prison and sentenced to 20 years. Which was later reduced to ten years in Gohardasht prison. Then in March 2011 the sentences were magically and deliciously reinstated back to the original 20 years. On January 3, 2010, Iranian authorities detained ten Bahais, reportedly including Leva Khanjani, granddaughter of Jamaloddin Khanjani, one of the seven Bahais jailed since 2008, and in February they arrested his son, Niki Khanjani.
This Iranian government idiotically claims that the Bahai faith not a religion. And has conveniently classified them as a political organization. Remember, politics is prohibited in the Bahai religion. This convenient classification, allows the government to ignore Bahai cases as a minority religion. Bahais are also associated with Zionism because the Bahai World Centre happens to be located in Haifa, Israel. Where Bahaullah died. Which used to be Palestine. Which this government supports.
You see, this is precisely the problem with hypocrisy. You look so stupid when it comes out.
The primary problem Moslems seem to have with Bahais is the accusation of Apostasy in Islam, which is commonly defined as “the rejection in word or deed of one’s former religion”. So, for example a person who was previously a Moslem becoming a Christian, is an apostate. The appropriate punishment for the apostate ranges from execution – based on which hadith you want to interpret – to no punishment at all. The question seems to be if you are a threat to Islamic society or the Moslem religion, and whether you insulted Islam, the Qoran, Mohammad, or any two, or all three, or not. Mocking god, rejecting prophets, rejecting god, idol worship, Billy Idol worship. All Apostasy. Especially when you do it in public and out loud.
Public apostasy is certain Apostasy. Private Apostasy is even scarier. Because it gets into the whole freaky area that is all too common these days. The concept of “Thought Crime”. Think about that the next time you consider telling everyone in the mehmooni that you’re an Atheist. Or a Democrat.
Contemporary Islamic jurists like Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri have argued and even issued fatwas that changing your religion should not be punishable as long as you have done your research good and long and decided that Islam is just not the religion for you, and you’d rather be a Mormon. These kinds of minority opinions by liberal religious leaders have not found any sort of measurable acceptance among the majority of Islamic scholars.
Under traditional Islamic law an Apostate has three days (in jail) to repent and accept Islam again, and if not the Apostate is to be killed, without any reservations. Or a late check-out.
This now, should make it completely clear why Salman Rushdie was accused of apostasy in 1989, when a fatwa calling for his death was issued by Khomeini for what was considered blasphemy and insulting Islam in the book “The Satanic Verses”. And that whole unfortunate scene with Mohammad.
What all of this makes clear to me, and should to you too, is that it is urgently critical that the world come to grips with religion, and puts all the crazy genies back into their Mosques, Churches and Temples. It is when religion is allowed to wander out onto the street that it disrupts the neighborhood. This should be acceptable to the religious leaders, since religious leaders always make really crappy rulers. They should not even want the job, really. No. REALLY!
Religious laws prohibiting religious conversion consistently run contrary to Common Civic Law, and especially go against a really really good one called Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”