According to the report of the Aryan Community News Agency, citing the Baha’i Community News Service, this month, in response to the repression of the Baha’is, government officials, national and international news agencies, prominent civil society activists and dozens of other prominent individuals, released a wave of statements, news coverage and posts on the networks. Social groups have risen to defend the Baha’is of Iran and have demanded an end to this injustice. The crackdown began on July 31 with a wave of arrests and violent destruction of houses in Roshankoh village in northern Iran.
Before examining the various dimensions of this international support, the Aryan Community News Agency condemns the actions of the Islamic Republic in removing the human and basic rights of religious minorities, including the Baha’is, and tries to take a small step in ending these crimes and atrocities by raising awareness.
The Twitter account of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) saw a 9-fold increase in the number of visits and the ability to publish news about repressions to the public. Only one video containing images of a number of Baha’is who lost their property next to the ruins of their houses in Roshankoh was seen more than 3.4 million times on the Instagram page of a news network and was widely published on a large number of other websites.
A group of United Nations experts, headed by Javed Rahman, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Nazila Ghane, the special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and Fernand de Varnes, the special rapporteur on minority issues, announced on August 22 that the Iranian authorities should stop the harassment and End the harassment and suppression of religious minorities and the use of religion to deprive them of basic human rights.
Pointing out that these pressures are part of a wider policy against the country’s religious minorities, these experts said: “We are deeply concerned about the increase in arbitrary arrests and, in some cases, the forced disappearance of Baha’i followers and the destruction or confiscation of their property in an operation that has all the signs of a policy of repression. It has the systematicity with it.
Covering the situation of Baha’is in different news agencies
The situation of the Baha’is in Iran was also covered by the world’s major news agencies.
The New York Times called these persecutions “a sweeping wave of Baha’i oppression.” The Associated Press published an article that was widely echoed in other media, including an article from the Washington Post that said that despite all the accusations of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence against the Baha’is, “this country has not provided any evidence to prove the accusation that the Baha’is have done anything illegal.” Is.”
AFP called this situation a “new wave” and reported from the Baha’is that “the teachings of the Baha’i religion promote a non-confrontational approach called constructive endurance and emphasize that the Baha’is of Iran want to work for the interests of their country and not against its leadership. ” Associated Press and Reuters also published detailed news articles.
The news of these events also appeared in several programs on the BBC (the first program, the second program), in the British Times and Telegraph, in two articles in the German Deutsche Welle (the first article, the second article), in the Jerusalem Post, in the New Arab, twice in the Times of Israel. (Article 1 and Article 2), and was also covered in the Indian Express newspaper. French newspapers Le Figaro and Le Monde also published articles about the situation of Baha’is in Iran. The article published in Le Monde, like several other news agencies, examined the news related to these repressions in the larger context of Iran’s geopolitics.
An article in the Toronto Star linked recent events to ongoing violations of Baha’i education rights in Iran, as well as the disappearance of a Baha’i distance education student in Iran.
This extraordinary volume of support and news coverage took place following the issuance of a statement that many have considered ridiculous and condemned, which was published on July 31 by the Ministry of Information of Iran. The statement, which was a disgusting example of hate speech, led to arrests and raids on homes and businesses.
After that, the Iranian government persecuted the Baha’is with more than 200 cases of repression, including by arresting, arresting, raiding homes, destroying houses and confiscating property, banning access to higher education, covering electronic bands, issuing Heavy bails, beatings and preventing access to medical services for prisoners.
The Bahá’í World Community revealed in its recent report that on the same day, the security officers staged and filmed a fake film in a kindergarten in an attempt to defame and condemn the Bahá’í community with these false accusations.
On August 2, nearly 200 officers blocked the entrance and exit roads to Roshankoh village in Mazandaran, where a large number of Baha’is live, and destroyed six houses using heavy machinery. The agents also confiscated about 20 hectares of land belonging to the Baha’is.
Bonnie Dougal, the senior representative of the world Baha’i community at the United Nations, said that the international support as well as Iranian support indicates that the efforts of the Iranian government to exclude and exclude the Baha’is have failed.
Referring to the fact that in the new academic year, Baha’i students were once again excluded from universities, Mrs. Dougal said: “For three weeks, the eyes of the international community have been in astonishment towards the Iranian government, which has increased the repression of the Baha’is, the hate campaign against the Baha’is. It has reached its peak and in addition to the thousands of people who were banned from university education in the past, it has deprived more Baha’i youth of the right to attend university. All this must end and end now.”
In the United States, more than 30 civil society organizations and human rights leaders wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, asking him to echo their “deep concern” about the “increasing repression facing Iran’s Baha’is.” They pointed to an “emerging pattern that clearly indicates a systematic and deliberate effort to dramatically increase repression” against Iran’s Baha’is.
The Department of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the US State Department also asked Iran to respect the “right to freedom of religion or belief for all” in a tweet that was retweeted by the US Deputy Secretary of State, Ezra Zia.
Rashid Hossein, the United States ambassador for religious freedom, said: “Iran must adhere to its international obligations regarding freedom of religion or belief for all Iranians and immediately stop the intensifying campaign of attacks, arrests and unjust imprisonment” of Baha’is.
The International Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also condemned the “increasing pressures of the Iranian government on the religious minorities of this country” in a statement that specifically referred to the persecution of “dozens of Baha’is”.
Commissioner Sharon Kleinbaum said: “The Iranian government cannot achieve stability and security by attacking vulnerable religious minorities and peaceful dissidents.” However, Iran continues to violate human rights.
Fiona Bruce, Britain’s Ambassador for Freedom of Religion or Belief and president of the International Union for Freedom of Religion or Belief, said on Twitter that Article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights is “clear” and that the right to follow a belief and practice a religion “must be reserved for everyone everywhere.” “
Canada’s Office of Global Affairs in the field of human rights, freedom and inclusion expressed its concern in a tweet about the “systematic campaign to suppress and persecute Baha’is” and added that “Iran must comply with its international and domestic obligations in the field of human rights and eliminate Any kind of discrimination, including discrimination based on religion or belief, should be adhered to.
In Britain, Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, the minister responsible for human rights and freedom of religion or belief at the British Foreign Office, expressed “deep concern” about the arrests, house demolitions, property confiscations and targeting of former members of the Board of Trustees. “In 2022, the suppression of religious minorities is not acceptable… We are working closely with our international colleagues to force Iran to accept responsibility and to regularly raise our human rights concerns with the Iranian government.”
Germany’s ambassador for freedom of religion or belief, Frank Schwab, said on Twitter that the arrests of the Baha’is were for “false reasons… Those arrested must be released.”
Support of Parman members and representatives of different governments to protest against the suppression of Baha’is
Many members of parliament and government representatives also joined the wave of protest against the suppression of Baha’is in Iran.
Ted Deutsch, a member of Congress in the United States, asked the House of Representatives of this country to approve his proposed bill. This bill “condemns the suppression of the Baha’is of Iran and asks the president and the secretary of state to punish Iranians who are directly involved in the violation.” “Human rights, including cases of persecution of Baha’is, have played a role in imposing sanctions.”
Three members of parliament in the UK, Ruth Jones, Virendra Sharma and Lord David Alton also expressed their support. Also, Lamia Kador, a member of the German parliament and a prominent Islamic scholar, said that the repression of Baha’is that has been happening for decades is a “big problem”.
Frei Anastacio, a member of the Brazilian parliament, expressed his sympathy with “the Baha’is…” and asked the Brazilian government to participate in this issue by stressing Iran to “observe human rights agreements”.
Amnesty International has also issued an urgent appeal stating that Baha’is are “subject to increasing attacks on human rights”. This organization asked its country offices to write letters to the officials of Iran’s judiciary and two public prosecutors in order to defend the Baha’is.
Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch, was one of the first figures on the international level to publish news of the crackdowns on Twitter in English.
The statement of the working group of minorities of the Middle East anti-defamation population
The Minorities Working Group of the Middle East Anti-Defamation Society, an international civil society organization based in the United States that addresses issues such as anti-Semitism, extremism, hatred and bigotry, said in a statement that the Iranian government has “continued brutality” against Iran’s Baha’is, who have “long been They are slandered and oppressed by the Iranian regime.
This statement says: “These recent attacks are a series of severe and increasing measures by the head of the Iranian government that target vulnerable communities and indicate a more severe repression than what we have seen in previous years.”
Mahosh Thabit, Fariba Kamalabadi and Afif Naimi, three former members of the disbanded Board of Friends of Iran, who until 2008 were in charge of the administration of the Iranian Baha’i community in an unofficial group, are among those arrested. All three of them spent a decade in prison before being released in 2018.
The International Pen Association, a group that deals with freedom of speech and literature, and its offices in Austria, Great Britain, France and Norway, expressed concern over the arrest of Mahosh Thabit. Ms. Thabit has been writing poetry for a decade in her former prison and was honored as a brave international writer by the British Pen Association in 2017.
The Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights in Canada also issued a statement in which the recent events are likened to “a mirror to the long-standing pattern of hatred and oppression of the Iranian regime against the Baha’is of this country” which has been “unceasingly in a bed of The culture of immunity” continues and “no one has ever been arrested or punished for such crimes”. .
Wide support of domestic and foreign real people
In the meantime, the support and solidarity of a wide range of Iranians inside and outside, from social and political activists, human rights activists, women’s rights activists, artists, writers, poets, cartoonists, satirists, religious scholars and even a few clerics , journalists, current and former political and ideological prisoners, believers of other religions, academics, lawyers, religious innovators, parties from various spectrums, political and social analysts, media members and hundreds of thousands of honorable citizens of Iran were admirable.
More than a hundred Iranian activists abroad and inside the country issued a joint statement while “expressing growing concern” about the pressures on the Baha’is and emphasized that “when their citizenship and human rights are at stake, we also consider ourselves a Baha’i.”
Several round tables in the clubhouse hosted Baha’i speakers and other experts who discussed why the issue of Baha’is is the issue of all Iranians in front of tens of thousands of audience.
In a beautiful display of solidarity, human rights activists, friends and supporters of Baha’is in the country organized a Twitter storm with the hashtags #BahaisUnderMassiveAttacks and #Bahá’íbodangerm_nest, which trended for more than 24 hours on Persian Twitter and were also the top two trends in the Persian language for several hours.
Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights lawyer, and Mehrangiz Kar, a prominent human rights activist and lawyer, released official statements in support of Baha’is on Instagram. Dr. Abbas Milani, a historian, wrote in a tweet, “The dangerous lineage of the Bahá’ís’ stubbornness and killing took root from the very beginning of the Bahá’í religion with the “gentlemen.”
Arash Sadeghi, a human rights activist in Iran, demanded to stop spreading hatred against Baha’is.
Seyyed Mohammad Ali Ayazi, a Shia mujtahid, asked in a tweet: “Destroying the house of Bahais is compatible with which religious logic.” When Imam Ali heard that an anklet was removed from the feet of a Jewish woman, he said that if a Muslim dies of grief after this incident, there is no place for blame, but in my opinion, his death is deserved. “Now we are witnessing the oppression of citizens who are deprived of their basic rights.”
Roya Hakakian, an Iranian-American writer and analyst, wrote: “One day, others will look at Iran and see that the saddest story was also the most soul-enhancing story: the story of the Baha’is.” No other minority has been attacked so systematically for 43 years. However, no group promotes forgiveness and patience more than them.
Journalist and human rights activist Javad Abbasi Tolli said: “Among Baha’is, mullahs, mullahs and muftis have no place. The government of Iran, above all, is afraid of their opinion. Let’s be the voice of Baha’i compatriots.”
Behrooz Buchani, an Iranian writer living in New Zealand, said: “Using the incomplete concept of “discrimination” to analyze the situation of the Baha’i minority in Iran is wrong. What is happening to them is not discrimination, but a systematic attempt to marginalize, move and finally eliminate. Discrimination is aimed at creating unequal opportunities, but in the case of the Baha’is, it is the goal of destruction.”
Maryam Mirza, an Iranian journalist in Germany, said: “If this sentence does not apply to any other oppression in Iran, it applies to the situation of the Baha’is: in this situation, all of us and our fathers and mothers and their fathers and mothers are involved.” Let’s raise our voices, but also reduce the historical shame of our collective anti-Bahá’íism.”
Soroush Dabbagh, one of the religious intellectuals, said: “As a Muslim and a member of a new-minded religious family, I sympathize with my dear Baha’i compatriots and strongly condemn the destruction of the residential areas of the residents of Roshankoh, Mazandaran, which happened as a crime of being a Baha’i.” Upholding the rights of citizens, regardless of whether you and I are Muslims, Christians, Jews, Baha’is or atheists, is one of the principles of peaceful coexistence and should not be violated at any cost.”
Aban Tahmasabi, a historian, said that he is “proud” to be the voice of the Baha’is of Iran.
Various Farsi-language media interviewed the spokespersons of the Bahá’í World Community at least 37 times. The representatives of the Bahá’í World Community were also targeted by threats and hateful attacks because of their activities, which is a clear indication of their success in spreading the facts related to these repressions to the Iranian audience.
Dozens of news agencies and civil society groups in the Middle East and Central Asia, including Egypt, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Yemen, and Kurdistan, also published an unprecedented amount of supportive and sympathetic content.
Ms. Dugal says: “The response of the international community is both encouraging and very clear: the suppression of the Baha’is by the Iranian government will only harm the country’s reputation in the eyes of the world. Iran should know that this call of public opinion will continue until the suppression of Baha’is does not stop and Baha’is cannot live in their land with full rights. »