Sunday, June 10, 2007

Attacks on Iranian Baha'is

One of my closest Army buddies was a Baha'i from California who first made me aware of his faith and served as a personal example of what it meant to be a Baha'i. The reason that we both were assigned to Fort Sam Houston was for the Army's modified basic training and subsequent MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) training to be part of the Medical Service Corps in 1965. Steve and I were drafted as Conscientious Objectors during the Vietnam Era and Fort Sam was the only place where basic training without weapons was conducted.

But that's another story.
The reason for this post is to bring attention to Iran's policy of persecuting it's Baha'i communities. It should be noted that the faith began in that country in the last century and is firmly committed to non-violence.

Reports and documents filtering out of Iran over the last six months indicate a widespread and calculated effort by the government to maintain and gradually intensify the persecution of Iranian Baha'is.

The evidence tells of continued efforts by the government to identify and monitor Baha'is; further incidents of abuse and discrimination directed at Baha'i students and children; stepped-up efforts to deprive Baha'is of their livelihood; and ongoing attacks on the Baha'i Faith in the official news media.

"The cumulative trend is one of an exceedingly ominous nature, and something of grave concern to Baha'is around the world," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

"The considered view is that these recent incidents are being provoked and often methodically planned by the Information Ministry, in order to create fear, make the Baha'is physically vulnerable, and instill in them social and occupational insecurity," said Ms. Dugal.

"The clear intent is to separate Iranian Baha'is from their fellow citizens by generating suspicion, mistrust, and even hatred so that the social, economic, and cultural progress of this innocent religious minority continues to be blocked and its community life destabilized."

Thanks to Serendip for the link.

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