Bahai News - Baha'i profs protest persectutions in Iran

Baha'i profs protest persectutions in Iran

BY DIANNA MESCHER
Staff Reporter

Since the summer, Baha'i educators have been arrested in Iran for running an open university for Baha'i students, who by law cannot attend colleges in the country.
Along with the arrests, one Baha'i was executed in the city of Mashad in northeast Iran, and two more have been sentenced to death.
The Baha'is have been under attack by the Iranian government because they practice their religion, said Azar Parvizi-Majidi, a mechanical engineering professor at the university and Iranian Baha'i.
Baha'i is an independent religion that focuses on a world community, said Grant Wolf, the advisor for the university's Baha'i Club.
Baha'is believe in a single god from which all religions originate. They believe the god sends a divine messenger to teach the people periodically. Baha'is believe some of these messengers include been Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus, Wolf said.
Parvizi-Majidi said since the Islamic revolution of the 1970s, led by the Ayatollah Khomeni, hundreds of Baha'is have been executed in Iran.
Before the revolution, there were around 500,000 Baha'is in Iran. There are probably less now, because many have left the country due to the oppression, she said.
"Iran has systematically tried to eliminate the Baha'is," Parvizi-Majidi said.
Parvizi-Majidi left Iran in 1975 before the revolution. Her parents and brother still live there, and she hasn't been allowed back in to visit since 1978 because Iranian law prohibits Baha'is from entering the country, she said.
"Baha'is are a peace-loving people who, by their religion, are loyal to their government," Parvizi-Majidi said adding that Baha'is focus on unity. "Any form of prejudice is absolutely abhorred."
Wolf, who is an instructor at the English Language Institute, said, "I deeply respect these people for their courage. All they have to do is sign a paper saying they're not Baha'i, but they won't do it."
Sophomore Kalim Oldziey, a practicing Baha'i, said Baha'is in Iran are not able to get good jobs. They are prohibited from attending college or being any sort of educator.
"Baha'is have second-citizen status," he said. "It's something akin to the old Jim Crow laws in the United States."
Sophomore Kierney Corliss, a member of the Baha'i Club, said the Iranians feel the Baha'is are threatening them. In the 1980s, she said, eight young women were executed simply for being Baha'i.
"It's sad that things like this are still happening," Corliss said.
The state of mind in the United States, she said, is that religious persecution in the world is a thing of the past.
She said she thinks people should be more aware of persecution worldwide and know that they can do something about it.
"It's hard to think we can change the world when we're so far away," she said.
The Baha'i club is sponsoring an inter-faith service for all victims of persecution on Nov. 4 in response to the developments in Iran.


©Copyright 1998, The Review

Top 19 Baha'i Sites Page last updated/revised 120300
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page