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Baha’is in Iran

In March 1983 three of the 22 imprisoned members of the Baha’i community in Shiraz, Iran were executed. Ironically, their deaths occurred just one day after the United Nation’s Human Rights Commission had adopted a resolution expressing deep concern over the repression of freedom in Iran and specifically requesting the UN general secretary to continue efforts to protect the rights of Baha’is in Iran.

The slayings were the most recent in a line of executions that began in June 1981 when seven Baha’is from Hamadan were slain by Iranian officials. Eight others died in December of that same year. The Baha’is, well respected citizens known in their communities for their humanitarian deeds, were tortured before their executions in an attempt to make them renounce their faith.That faith is the youngest of world religions, having been founded in
1844 in Persia (now Iran) by Mirza Husayn-Ali, known as Baha’ullah--God’s glory. The movement promotes harmony, unity, equality, tolerance, and removal of all prejudice. That tolerance allows for the presence in Baha’i temples of the holy writings of all world religions so that, regardless of a person’s belief, he or she can worship there. At present there are five temples worldwide, with two under construction in India and Samoa.

One of the principles in the Baha’i faith is that divine revelation is a continuous, ongoing process. The faith changes, therefore, because community and human needs change character. Members must pledge not to use narcotics or alcohol, not to participate in politics, and to observe a 19-day fast from sunup to sundown once a year.

Baha’ullah envisioned a one world federation, one global state that would supercede all nations and religions. It is not surprising, in light of that goal, to find the approximately one-half million Iranian Baha’is suffering persecution under the government of the Shi’ite Muslim Khomeini whose vision is of a similar nature.