To the Contrary

Iran persecutes Baha'is

The purpose of this letter is to inform the citizens of Rock Hill of the ongoing dastardly treatment of the members of the Baha'i faith in Iran.

Not since the early 1980s has the situation of the Baha'is in Iran been so crucial.

During the above period more than 200 Baha'is were executed; thousands were imprisoned; cemeteries, holy places, and community property were seized; cemeteries were desecrated or destroyed; more than 10,000 were dismissed from government or university posts; young women and men were barred from institutions of higher education; Baha'is were put in the category of "unprotected infidels."

There seems to be a qualitative change in the commission of the persecution. In the past, it was mostly the adults that were subjected to the atrocities. Now, although most of the above is still occurring, it is the children in primary and secondary grades who are being subjected to inhumane treatment as part of a government-sponsored campaign against the Baha'i community. Baha'i pupils are secretly monitored and reported upon by school officials, are being vilified by their teachers and school administrators, and are forced to listen, in the classroom, to vile and outrageous tales about the teachings of their faith and the moral behavior of their co-religionists. They are often expelled when they identify themselves.

Freedom of religion

These are just some of the machinations of the Iranian government against the Baha'is. When questioned about freedom of religion, the Iranian government states that it upholds religious freedom and then goes on to state the Baha'i population represents a political sect, not a religious community, and is consequently regarded as apostate.

Nearly half a million Iranians, members of the Baha'i faith, are being systematically persecuted despite calls by human rights advocates and Western governments. The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution on Dec. 19, expressing "serious concern" over the worsening situation of human rights in Iran, mentioning specifically the continuing persecution of members of the Baha'i Faith. This is the 20th time since 1985 that the U.N. has expressed such concern.

Persecution condemned

Congress, on Feb. 28, passed House Resolution 1008 "condemning the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran." This was the 10th resolution regarding this matter since 1982.

This matter is not just the concern of the Baha'is; it is the concern of all who advocate religious freedom. It is our sincere hope that the citizens of Rock Hill will respond to this latest outbreak of persecution before the Iranian governments goal to extirpate the Baha'i faith from Iran succeeds.

How can you help? You could write a letter of protest to Iran's representatives to the United Nations:

His Excellency Mohammad Khazaee

Permanent Representative of the

Islamic Republic of Iran to the United States

622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor

New York, NY 10017

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