Featured Post

The Great Sex Robot Debate at Ideacity

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Terry Glavin: Iran is tormenting the Baha’i people — is Canada going to do anything about it?

You’d have to go for a very long walk to find a religious tradition as benign as the Baha’i faith. The Baha’i mark the holiest days of the year during the 12-day Festival of Ridvan, which began at sunset on Tuesday. The religion’s precepts respect scientific discovery and emphasize the uplifting of the poor, the equality of men and women, and the unity of the world’s peoples. There is no clergy. Deriving from a 19th century schism within Shia Islam, Baha’is are admonished to respect all other religious traditions, not just the Abrahamic varieties. Their religious duties involve quiet prayer, meditation, education and service to humanity.

You might think this would cut them at least a little bit of slack in Iran, where the Baha’i faith emerged during a time of religious tumult in the early 1800s. But it’s all unforgivable blasphemy to the Khomeinist regime, which considers Baha’i people “unclean” and excludes them from 25 separate employment categories. Because they are not legally “persons” in Iran, Baha’i people are denied pensions and government services, their marriages are illegal, their children are “illegitimate,” they have no recourse to the courts and they are banned from attending post-secondary institutions.

In 2008, all seven members of the Iranian Baha’i leadership council were imprisoned on charges of heresy and conspiracy. In January, 24 more Baha’i people were sentenced to a total of 193 years in prison for the crime of practising their faith. Over the past three years, more than 200 Baha’i-owned businesses have been boarded up and the regime is increasingly refusing to renew Baha’i business licences. It’s all part of an explicit policy of closing off the last remaining survival opportunities for Iran’s 350,000 Baha’i people, and since the election to the presidency of “reformer” Hassan Rouhani in 2013, the persecution of Iran’s minorities, and most especially the Baha’is, has only grown worse...

No comments: