Bahá'í Faith in Iran

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

The Bahá'í Faith in Iran is the country's second-largest religion after Islam[1][2] and the birthplace of the three central figures of the religion – The Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.[3] The early history of the religion in Iran covers the lives of these individuals, their families and their earliest prominent followers: the Letters of the Living, the Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh and later some of the Disciples of `Abdu'l-Bahá and Hands of the Cause. In the 19th century conversions from Judaism and Zoroastrianism are well documented - indeed such a change of status removing legal and social protections.[4][5][6][7][8]

Since its inception the religion has had involvement in socio-economic development beginning by giving greater freedom to women,[9] promulgating the promotion of female education as a priority concern,[10] and that involvement was given practical expression by creating schools, agricultural coops, and clinics.[9] Prior to 1911 a private school for girls existed in Tehran which was opened by Iranian Bahá'í women.[11] During the Persian Constitutional Revolution situations required the close of the school.

Although ‘Abdu'l-Bahá had instructed the Bahá'ís in Iran not to take part in open defiance of the government (and they did not participate in the street demonstrations and the taking of sanctuary in the British Legation in Tehran in the summer of 1906) during the period of the Persian Constitutional Revolution they did broadly support the Constitutionalist cause.[12]

Tarbiyat-i Banat (Girls’ Education), established in 1911 in Tehran, was the most respected Baha’i girls’ school. Founded on the efforts of private school for girls by Bahá'ís,[11] it was re-opened under the direction of an Iranian Bahá'í boys’ school committee and several American Bahá'í women pioneers who moved in order to support the goals of the religion. Even though it catered to the Iranian Bahá'í community, Tarbiyat attracted children from non-Bahá'í families, as the curriculum was largely secular.

The situation of the Bahá'ís improved under the Pahlavi dynasty when the government actively sought to secularize public life however there were still organizations actively persecuting the Bahá'ís in addition to there being curses children would learn decrying the Báb, a central figure of the religion, and Bahá'ís.[13] See Hojjatieh. The founder of SAVAK, Teymur Bakhtiar, took a pick-ax to a Bahá'í building himself at the time.[14] See Persecution during the early 20th century and during the Pahlavi Dynasty.

The religion entered a new phase of activity when a message of the Universal House of Justice dated 20 October 1983 was released.[15] Bahá'ís were urged to seek out ways, compatible with the Bahá'í teachings, in which they could become involved in the social and economic development of the communities in which they lived. World-wide in 1979 there were 129 officially recognized Bahá'í socio-economic development projects. By 1987, the number of officially recognized development projects had increased to 1482. However the modern history of persecution of Bahá'ís in Iran is extensive and prevented these kinds of developments in Iran:

Despite the persecution, one of many Bahá'í schools in the world, the Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education, "an elaborate act of communal self-preservation",[16] was set up, though it has been systematically raided. Between 1987 and 2005 the Iranian authorities closed down the university several times[17] as part of the pattern of suppressing the Bahá'í community.[18] Between September 30 and October 3, 1998,[19][20] and most recently again on 22 May 2011, officials from the Ministry of Intelligence entered the homes of academic staff of the Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education, a university in Iran designed and managed by the Bahá'í community for Iranian Bahá'ís as a Bahá'í school for those who are excluded from access to higher education in their country, seizing books, computers and personal effects and shutting down buildings used for the school.[21]

After a wave of arrests, Shirin Ebadi volunteered to be the lawyer for the arrested Bahá'í leadership of Iran in June 2008.[22] By December 29 the Islamic authorities closed Ebadi's Center for Defenders of Human Rights, raiding her private office and seizing her computers and files.[23]

Indeed, several agencies and experts and journals have published concerns about viewing the developments as a case of genocide: Roméo Dallaire,[24][25] Genocide Watch,[26] Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention,[27] and the journals War Crimes, Genocide, & Crimes against Humanity[28] and Journal of Genocide Research.[29]

A summary of 2013 incidents of prison sentences, fines and punishments showed that these were more than twice as likely to apply to Bahá'ís as any other religious minority in Iran and that the total rate of such cases had gone up by 36% over 2012.[30]

See also

References

  1. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  2. Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Foreign Affairs Committee (23 February 2006). Human Rights Annual Report 2005: First Report of Session 2005-06; Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence. The Stationery Office. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-215-02759-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. International Religious Freedom Report 2004 – Iran, United States State Department, 2004, accessed on 6 February 2009 Note this counts Ahl-e Haqq and Alevism as part of Islam
  4. Maneck (née Stiles), Susan (1984). "Early Zoroastrian Conversions to the Bahá'í Faith in Yazd, Iran". In Cole, Juan Ricardo; Momen, Moojan. Studies in Bábí and Baháʹí history. Volume 2 of Studies in Babi and Baha'i History: From Iran East and West (illustrated ed.). Kalimat Press. pp. 67–93. ISBN 9780933770409.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Smith, Peter (2000). "Zoroastrianism". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 369. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Maneck, Susan (1990). "Conversion of Religious Minorities to the Baha'i Faith in Iran: Some Preliminary Observations". Journal of Baha'i Studies. Association for Baha'i Studies North America. 3 (3). Retrieved 2012-03-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Sharon, Moshe (2011-01-13). "Jewish Conversion to the Bahā˒ī faith". Chair in Baha'i Studies Publications. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Retrieved 2012-03-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Amanat, Mehrdad (2011). Jewish Identities in Iran: Resistance and Conversion to Islam and the Baha'i Faith. I.B.Tauris. p. 256. ISBN 9781845118914.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Momen, Moojan. "History of the Baha'i Faith in Iran". draft "A Short Encyclopedia of the Baha'i Faith". Bahai-library.com. Retrieved 2009-10-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi (1997). "Education of women and socio-economic development". Baha'i Studies Review. 7 (1).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  12. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  13. Fischer, Michael; Abedi, Mehdi (1990). Debating Muslims. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 48–54, 222–250. ISBN 0299124347.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Samii, Bill (13 September 2004). "Iran Report: September 13, 2004". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , Inc. Retrieved 2009-12-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  16. Bronner, Ethan (1998-10-29). "Iran Closes 'University' Run Covertly By the Bahais". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  18. Leith, John Barnabas (2007). "A More Constructive Encounter: A Bahá'í View of Religion and Human Rights". In Ghanea-Hercock, Nazila; Stephens, Alan; Walden, Raphael. Does God believe in human rights?: essays on religion and human rights. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 134. ISBN 9789004152540.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Directory of persecuted scientists, health professionals, and engineers. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science and Human Rights Program. 1999. p. 79. ISBN 9780871686336.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha'is of Iran" (PDF). Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. 2007. p. 39. Retrieved 2011-12-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Many searches and 14 arrests of BIHE faculty". Iran Press Watch. 2011-05-23. Retrieved 2011-12-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Local Baha'is worry about their fellow believers in Iran" (Press release). The Chatham News. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Moaveni, Azadeh (6 January 2009). "Iran's Nobel Laureate Has Become a Target of the Regime. Azadeh MOAVENI. JANUARY 6, 2009". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Dallaire, Roméo (29 November 2011). "Baha'i People in Iran—Inquiry". Statements from Roméo Dallaire. The Liberal caucus in the Senate. Retrieved 2012-03-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Dallaire, Roméo (16 June 2010). "Baha'i Community in Iran". Statements from Roméo Dallaire. The Liberal caucus in the Senate. Retrieved 2012-03-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Genocide and politicide watch: Iran". Genocide Watch; The International Alliance to End Genocide. 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Seyfried, Rebeka (2012-03-21). "Progress report from Mercyhurst: Assessing the risk of genocide in Iran". Iranian Baha'is. The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention. Retrieved 2012-03-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  29. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  30. "79 religious minorities were sentenced to a total of 3620 months in prison, 200 months probation, 75 lashings and 41,030,000,000 rials in fines. In this area, 49% of the cases involved Baha’i minorities, 16% Christian and Dervish and 14% Sunni minority. Arrests of religious minorities increased by 36% in relation to last year." - "Human rights activists in Iran publish disturbing annual report summarizing human rights violations in 2013". irandailybrief.com. 23 January 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Brookshaw, Dominic Parviz; Fazel, Seena B., eds. (Oct 2, 2012) [2008]. The Bahá'ís of Iran. Routledge Advances in Middle East and Islamic Studies. 12 (illustrated, reprint ed.). Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-203-00280-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Joshua Castellino; Kathleen A. Cavanaugh (25 April 2013). Minority Rights in the Middle East. Oxford University Press. pp. 135–138. ISBN 978-0-19-967949-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • * Mina Yazdani (2015). "Higher Education under the Islamic Republic: the Case of the Baha'is". Journal of Educational Controversy. 10 (1).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>