Friday, March 02, 2007

Documentation of "A Faith Denied" in Iran

In response to the denials by Iran of its ongoing and unrelenting persecution of its Baha'i population, it is now timely to turn to the following report entitled "A Faith Denied" which was published in December 2006 by an independent agency named "Iran Human Rights Documentation Center."

The report's cover states the following:

"This report explores how Bahá'í religious practice has effectively been criminalized inside Iran. Bahá’ís are subjected to a level of social exclusion and harassment in Iran that shocks the conscience and A Faith Denied illuminates the persistent role played by the clerical establishment in perpetuating such abuse. Community leaders have been murdered and sites of irreplaceable religious significance destroyed. The report finds rising levels of persecution since the 2005 election of President Ahmadinejad and resurgence of other conservative political figures."

Below is the executive summary of the report, and in order to read the full report, please click here....

Executive Summary

The Bahá’í community of Iran has faced repeated cycles of persecution since the founding of the faith in the mid nineteenth century. Today the Bahá’ís are not free to practice their religion, they suffer from economic and social exclusion, and they have been subjected to executions, arbitrary arrests and the destruction of their property – all carried out with the support of national judicial, administrative and law enforcement structures. Since the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2005, there is evidence to suggest a new cycle of repression may be beginning. The report’s key findings are as follows:

• The Shi’a clerical establishment in Iran has long regarded the Bahá’í faith as a heretical deviation from Islam. The Bahá’í community has suffered most severely when the clerical influence in national affairs has been strongest. This report seeks to demonstrate that the clerical establishment has consistently worked to undermine and ultimately extinguish the Bahá’í faith, a project that has been wholeheartedly embraced by the government of the Islamic Republic.

• The 1950s saw organized anti-Bahá’í campaigns resulting in mob violence, the destruction of religious sites and the formation of private anti-Bahá’í organizations, approved and assisted by senior civil, military and religious leadership figures. The propaganda used to cultivate and justify social persecution created negative stereotypes that continue to have repercussions today. Clerics who gained an influential public voice during these campaigns later gained powerful positions in the post-1979 leadership.

• The consolidation of clerical rule after the 1979 revolution gave rise to a centralized and government-directed anti-Bahá’í campaign. The new Islamic constitution explicitly withheld recognition as a religious minority from the Bahá’ís. Instead the Bahá’í faith was categorized as a political threat – a characterization reinforced by frequent accusations of espionage or other anti-revolutionary criminal activity. This effectively criminalized the Bahá’í religion.

• The first years of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) saw the full range of state coercive force deployed against Bahá’ís. The authorities particularly targeted Bahá’í leadership in an attempt to destroy the community. The members of three successive Bahá’í national councils were arrested and summarily executed. A similar fate befell numerous members of local governing assemblies.

• Another recurring feature of anti-Bahá’í campaigns has been the confiscation and destruction of Bahá’í property, including holy sites, cemeteries, personal property and community institutions. The House of the Báb, one of the Bahá’í community’s most sacred religious sites, was demolished by the Islamic Republic in 1980.

• Economic and social exclusion has been a consistent feature of the Islamic Republic’s treatment of the Bahá’í community. Bahá’ís have been purged from educational institutions and from both state and private businesses at the order of the central government.

• The recent election of President Ahmadinejad and resurgence of conservative political figures appears to have emboldened Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. In November 2005, Ayatollah Khamenei instructed military agencies to identify and monitor all Bahá’ís living within their areas of responsibility. Given the historic hostility of the conservative clerical establishment to the Bahá’í community, there is good reason to fear that this measure is laying the foundation for a new cycle of anti-Bahá’í persecution.


  1. Why are you now writing about Iran? I thought this is about Egypt. Bahaai just cause us trouble and it is our business not yours.

  2. Anonymous,
    First, Baha'is everywhere belong to the same family, just the same as human beings belonging to the same family, so if atrocities are committed against the Baha'is they should be brought to light regardless of where they happen. Presently, the Baha'is have been facing direct and vicious attacks on their civil and human rights both in Egypt and Iran for no legitimate cause. The strategies used against the Baha'is, and the misrepresentations made of their Faith are identical in both Iran and in Egypt.

    Second, you are incorrect in saying "Bahaai just cause us trouble and it is our business not yours." The Baha'is never cause any nation trouble, they are required to be obedient to their just government, they never participate in partisan politics, and are law-abiding and peace loving. They have contributed tremendously to their societies in over 200 countries where they exist. The issue of the Baha'i struggle is not your "business" alone, but the "business" of the entire human race regardless of its location. Finally, the only hope for the salvation of the human race is to become "as one soul and one body."

  3. Anonmus 1 Doth protest too much!!!

    amazing what happens when you turn the light of truth onto a rapist who is raping his victim!!
    he complains that you are exposing his criminal activity

  4. Dear Bilo: Many many thanks for publishing the article about the Persian Baha'is. The Bahai Faith has been persecuted in Iran since the Declaration of the Bab in 1844, but in so many cases it is worse now than then. At the time of the Bab, even though there were persecutation of the believers, but they never dared to touch the house of the Bab, because him being from the direct line of Prophet Mohammad they were afraid of the consequenes, but in the recent years those fears are non-existent and they destroyed many of the holy places. May we all pray and beseech God the Almighty to protect all the friends and guide all the mankind to be tolerant and free of prejudies. We are all the fruits of one tree, all have come from God and we'll are return to him.

  5. Thanks Bilo for remembering the heroic Baha'is in Iran as well as those in Egypt. The entire Middle East, a region of the world that has long cast the light of Divine Revelation on all humanity is in a period of intense transition. The persecution of the Baha'is is but a symptom of deeper issues that cause much suffering to the peoples of that richly blessed but troubled region. If only the people of the Middle East could free themselves from fixed conceptions inherited from the past and recognize that God is one and beyond all human interpretation or cultural expression, religion is also one, they could arise and take their rightful place in contributing to the building of a diverse, unified and just global society.

  6. Thank you all for your wise and insightful remarks.

  7. After reading just the first few pages of the report itself, I can see that it is very comprehensive and meticulously detailed with sources throughout. I'm very impressed at the quality and objectivity so far.

    Thanks for sharing, I will forward on to some family members of mine who were also persecuted.

  8. Anonymous 1, you could not have put it better, Baha'is are indeed causing you troubles. They are the worst kind of troubles, troubles of conscience... you need to look into your soul and find tolerance lest these troubles haunt you for the rest of your life and most likely way beyond that.

  9. Last commnet,
    You bring up a very important point. Thank you for the insight.

    It is indeed a scholarly document produced by an unbiased source. May your family members be free to live a peaceful and civil life under God's protection.


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