Baha’i in Iran

United States
October 22, 2007 9:18am CST
The Baha's faith is an off shoot or splinter group from the religion of Islam. Many Muslims truely despise the Baha'i. I experienced this for myself while participating in usenet discussions of the Baha'i faith, back when I was considering joining and becoming a Baha'i. The Baha'i are the most tolerant, understanding, and peaceful religious folks of which I am aware. So, what is their situation in Iran? Not good. Here are some quotes and links. "Since the beginning of the Islamic Republic we can say that there are approximately 200 Baha'is that have been executed only for their beliefs, thousands that have been jailed." Isn't it strange that in the above quote it says,"we can say that", instead of, "there have been"? As I distinctly remember news reports of 10's of thousands of Baha'i killed in Iran after the revolution, I am extrememely suspicious the wording,"we can say that". Why can they say that? Is it because that's how many were killed or was their some kind of agreement as to the reporting of the number killed? You'll understand this question when you read how Baha'i are still treated in Iran even to this day. "Diane Alai, the Baha'i International Community's UN representative, says after the revolution in Iran the harassment of Baha'is became systematic. However, she adds that in recent years the execution of Baha'is and long-term detention have decreased." Note the quote only says executions and detention have "decreased" not "ceased". "The President was deeply troubled to learn of the July 21 summary execution of Iranian citizen Ruhollah Rowhani for the exercise of his Baha'i faith." The above occurred in 1998. Links: http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2004/12/094e1d63-f94b-49b0-a765-49e59edb7014.html http://www.onecountry.org/e102/e10207ys.htm http://www.bahai.us/persecution-bahais-iran The amount of links attesting to the terrible way in which Bahai are treated in Iran are too numerous to list here. So, what do you think of a country that would deny rights as citizens to members of a peaceful, tolerant, religious faith?
6 people like this
7 responses
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
22 Oct 07
There is no room for religious tolerance of other faiths in a Theocracy. Of course I think that is wrong.
3 people like this
• United States
22 Oct 07
Yes, it is wrong. In the case of the Baha'i the founder could also be understood to be saying that Mahamoud was not right about everything he said and that his message was incomplete. As you can imagine, that upsets a few mullahs!
5 people like this
• United States
22 Oct 07
In other words, that would be the equivalent of Blasphemy. I can see where the mullahs would not be amused.
4 people like this
• United States
22 Oct 07
Because I considered joining them, I studied a bit of their history. In the 1800's when they were just getting started, there was open warfare between the Baha'i and Muslims. Eventually, the founder, Bahullah (sp?), took them toward pacificism as they were just too outnumbered. To this day the Baha'i are very pacifistic, though you are permitted to serve in the armed forces of your country or be a policeman. They are pacificists, but are reasonable about it! How strange is that?
5 people like this
@estherlou (5020)
• United States
13 Nov 07
It almost sounds logical from their point of view. If you are not Muslim, you are not a true believer...end of story. It is probably that cut and dried for them. No tolerance whatever for anything else.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Nov 07
It is totally logical from the Muslim point of view to hate the Bahai. Imagine if today one of the leading Christian preachers decided he could found a better religion than Christianity. Further imagine that this preacher decided he would be the leader of this new religion, in effect, replacing Christ. Would most Christians have some kind of contempt for this fellow? This is close to what happened with the founding of the Bahai faith.
3 people like this
@kiwimac (324)
• New Zealand
26 Oct 07
Actually the Baha'is have had a mixed kind of a history. Earlier in the 20th Century, for example, they were much more accepting of a diversity of personal views than they are now. All religions change as they move further away from the lifetime of their founder and Baha'u'llah's religion is no different.
• United States
26 Oct 07
How true, and ironic! About 10 years ago when I was considering becoming a Baha'i the signs were there of what you speak and I shied away from joining. Recently, I did some browsing of Baha'i internet chatter, and it does indeed seem they are becoming much more like other religions. That is, politically skillful power hungry people get in charge and the religion loses its compasion and open mindedness to give the leaders more of what they want. Thanks, for the perceptive comment.
4 people like this
@Lindalinda (4112)
• Canada
24 Oct 07
This is so sad. As you say the Baha'i faith is one of the most gentle and tolerant religions. Why are they persecuted and killed? Because totalitarian regimes cannot tolerate any deviance from the norm they impose.
• United States
24 Oct 07
To be fair as possible to the Iranian government, they have extra reason to hate the Baha'i in that the founder of that faith split off from Islam. This is regarded as a direct slap in the face, no, a spitting in the face of Mahammad. The Bahai are exceptionally brave. Many Muslims regard Bahai to be the most low of the low of the apostates. To be as fair as possible to the Bahai, they saw the problems with Islam about 150 years ago and started trying to change it. They have had some limited success. I have a lot respect for what they are trying to do. I only did not become a Bahai myself as it is an organized religion and it suffers from all the same problems of organization as any other religion. I agree with their beliefs but could never put up with their administration. Their belief system is actually the most logical and reasonable of any I've ever studied.
4 people like this
@academic2 (7010)
• Uganda
16 Nov 07
It is a pity that Karman should be using the full power of his intelectual energy to defend the indefensible. Intolerance of any kind cant make good. The fact of Bahai being a splinter of Islam does not justify intolerance. Look at Protestanism and Catholicism, these divisions were a source of intolerance in the Middle ages, today we pursue our different doctrines without trying to over emphasize our difference-it should pinch just a bit of Karman's conscience that we still see faith based persecutions in the 21st Centuary deliberately targetted at Bahais in Iraq. In Uganda my country, I have lost count of religious groups and the Bahai Temple in my country is the biggest in Africa but no body cares which religion you belong to, yet these amazing level of tolerance should not have been the case in a backward country like ours. If only Karman was using his intellectual prowess to change the status quo on these matters of intolerance, he would have succeeded to improve the human right issues in Iran-sad bit is that he is a great apologist of intolerance and I feel very sad for him!
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Nov 07
You mentioned the Bahai temple in your country. This reminds me of something I'd forgotten about the Bahai faith. Mostly, they will allow their temples to be used by other faiths to conduct their own religious worship. At least that was the policy when I was looking into their religion. I especially agree that it is a waste of intellectual horsepower to defend the indefenseable, particularily by those who have the potential to really do some good. Thank you for your comments.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Feb 08
thank you for bringing up this discussion! I have been a Baha'i for about a year now and love the faith. Though I do acknowledge that it is by no means perfect I have found in my experience it is much less corrupted than many other religions. I just wanted to clarify one thing. The Baha'i Faith is an independent religion, it is not a sect of Islam. there is a lot of confusion about this because Baha'u'llah lived and taught in a Muslim country and many of the teachings of Islam are included in Baha'i writings. But to say the baha'i faith is a sect of Islam would be equivalent to saying christianity is a sect of Judiasm. In addition, the baha'i faith is not a sect of the Babi religion (another confusion) Both are indepedent religions intitiated by independent founders. Although the Baha'i Faith does follow the teachings of the Bab and Muhammad, Baha'is also follow the teachings of Christ, Krishna, Zoroaster, ect. The Baha'i Faith is no more part of one religion than another. Also, I wanted to add that the UN affirmed that mass killings and torturings of people happened in Iran but voted to do nothing about it which I found interesting...
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
The Bahai are the closest to having the same beliefs as myself. As to the UN and the mass killing, my guess as to what happened is that a compromise was worked out. Did you notice the Bahai do not officially claim thousands were killed anymore? I think the Bahai backed off in return for the killing to stop or for it to not start back up.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Feb 08
That would explain a lot. I was so suprised when I heard because the UN has been investigating Iran for a while and it is not just the Baha'i situation...many minorities are being persecuted. Then they suddenly decided to stop.
@academic2 (7010)
• Uganda
16 Nov 07
If you know about the country you are talking about-Iran-then you shouldnt be very surprised. It is one country where terror and religious intolerance thrives in every domain of life and all leaders perfect this intolerance with a religious duty.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Nov 07
I guess that explains why the Bahai seem so threatening.
2 people like this
@kamran12 (5555)
• Pakistan
23 Oct 07
Hello redyellowblackdog! It may not be reasonable to argue with you here because though I am not sure, yet, it seems that you are not willing to consider and present both sides of a story or state of affairs. Bias and Prejudice is common even in the educated lot and even on this community. I don’t know, how much you have studied Bahai history, or Iranian history, and their religious book “Al Bayan”. And, I don’t know how much you have considered or even know about other side of the story? So, I don’t find a basis for genuine debate as yet, and won’t comment directly on your post, the Bahai belief system, their practices and history. Bahais in Iran do have problems but they are no more than what Muslims, or blacks, or pagans or other groups have in America. I can surely bring thousands of stories, articles and news pieces, depicting plight of these groups in America but I don’t do this. It isn’t that I am not informed of the problems in America as such, but I don’t start discussions on the basis of political agenda and if I do, I tend to present both sides of a story because I don’t want to be a tool in the hands of some individuals who want to take advantage of me for their gains by politicizing the domestic issues. Also because, I am not perfect and am prone to mistakes just like any other body. However, when someone points out problems in others’ systems, I do remind people what problems they have in their own. Why I don’t start discussions and raise issues of human rights violations in America is because I TRY to consider both sides of a story and I believe natural process of normalization and don’t believe in interfering in others’ affairs based on political agenda. I do what is in my practical capacity about domestic problems in other countries without making negative hue and cry. Many wars have been waged on the pretext of doctrine of human rights while people waging war, seems to forget what violations they have in their own backyard. However, while not responding directly to your post, I do have some questions for you to consider and respond to me, honestly!! In your responses are the answers!:-) 1. How would you respond if I said that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are the heroes and are the voice of justice in America and whatever they say is RIGHT?? 2. Will you think of me as being honest and truth seeker, if I only read the plight of pagans in America from pagan writers or the plight of African Americans from African American writers without considering opposing and counter points!!? 3. What do you think of a person who takes one side of a story without deliberation and investigation and without even considering the other side!? 4. In any system of Justice, in any court of law, in any judicial system, will it be ‘just’ to NOT listen to the accused!? 5. How, in your opinion, a just and even handed opinion should be or can be formed!? 6. There were more than 480 hate crimes against Muslims according to FBI (reported by BBC) in 2001, and there are still more than 160 hate crimes against Muslims, annually. Total hate crimes against Muslims in America during last 10 years far out number hate crimes against Bahais in Iran in last 28 years. Would you consider America a hateful and tyrannical state on the basis of these figures? In your answers is the answer to your post!:-) Peace be to all!
• United States
24 Oct 07
"Bahais in Iran do have problems but they are no more than what Muslims, or blacks, or pagans or other groups have in America." This is a complete lie. Bahai in Iran are not even allowed to attend the universities. They are a non protected religious minority. I think you know what that means in Iran. For an educated person such as yourself to not understand the difference in what Muslims put up with in the USA (individual prejudice) compared to what Bahai tolerate (government sanctioned discrimination) in Iran can only be out right deception in an attempt to deceive others who might read these posts. While Muslims, blacks, and others might have problems, they do have the law and the legal authorities on their side. Let anyone attack a Muslim or black and our police will arrest them. Others will condem them. Everyone in the USA has legal rights. What problems minorities have in America is with bigoted individuals, not the government. Bahai in Iran suffer legal sanctioned discrimination by the government itself as well having to put up with their holy sites being destroyed. You mentioned the FBI hate crime statistics. You do realize those statistics exist because the FBI arrests the people involved and puts them in jail? The only reason hate crime statistics against Bahai are not higher is because for the most part the government does not arrest Iranians for hate crimes against Bahai. The Bahai have almost no rights in Iran. "Total hate crimes against Muslims in America during last 10 years far out number hate crimes against Bahais in Iran in last 28 years." Sure, when the crimes of the government of Iran are not counted, or even the crimes of individuals because the Bahai are an unprotected religious minority, then the statistics are skewed in the manner you suggest. You are not attempting any understanding of the truthfullness of the situation. You are misrepresenting facts and twisting words. Given you are a very highly intelligent individual, I have to conclude this is on purpose.
4 people like this
• United States
24 Oct 07
BTW: Your questions 1 thru 6 are all clever non sequiturs. You are perfectly entitled to think as you like about Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I am not offended by differing opinion, except when it is delibrate deception or purposeful pretending to not understand while responding. The long story short is that I have considered both sides of the Bahai - Iranian government situation. This renders each of your questions meaningless. It is pretty much universally agreed by the almost the whole world that Iran mistreats the Bahai.
5 people like this
• Canada
24 Oct 07
Hello Kamran, Obviously you are a well-read extremely intelligent person, however in your answer to redyellowandblackdog you have presented fallacious arguments. From what I gather he made two main points. 1. The Bahais are persecuted by the Government of Iran. 2. Bahais are murdered by the Government of Iran for their beliefs. You are so right, there are hate crimes and bigots in the United States. You are right there are crimes against Muslims. I don't know exactly what you mean by "pagans". In the United States you can belong to whatever religion you want to: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Bahai, Baptist, Wiccan or you can subscribe to tele-evangelists or start your own religion if you want to. The Government of the US does not forbid or persecute you on religious grounds. Jesse Jackson can say whatever he wants and he is not punished for that. You can build a synagogue, a mosque a Jehovah's Witness temple, a drive through church of your faith, a Hindu or Sikh temple, as long as your group has the funds. The main difference here is that your religion is not mandated by the state. Iran is a theocracy, the United States is not. Injustices, discrimination and hate exists in every society, but in a democracy where there is a separation between church and state, the state has by law the obligation to find and punish those who commit these crimes. I though I had to add these points even though I am not American. I appreciate this discussion even though we do not agree with each other.
2 people like this