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Current Religious-Based Conflicts

IRAN

Persecution of the Bahais

          The Bahais are adherents of a 19th century Persian prophet, Baha Ullah, who preached equality and world government. Its present religious dogma seeks "universal peace" for all humanity.

          Though not the only victims of religious persecution in the world, the Bahais deserve special mention.  There are only a handful of governments in the world which totally integrate religion with politics. Iran is one of them.  This then, is what places the persecution of the Bahais, a basically passive religion, in such a unique light.  There are some 300,000 adherents of this faith in Iran, all of whom have been targets of what can only be described as a genocide campaign by Iran's fundamentalist theocracy.  In fact, beginning with Ayatollah Khomeni's government in the 1980's there was established a department for the inquisition directed toward religions other than Shiite, and especially the Bahais.  For example, elected leaders of the Bahai national council faced an automatic death sentence - some 200 having been executed between 1979 and 1984. The Khomeni government acted with impunity against the Bahai, because members of this religious minority were considered "non-persons' under its constitution, and accordingly afforded no protection in Iranian courts.

          More insidious is the economic persecution. Bahai families have been, and are continued to be, pushed out of their jobs and denied access to schools. Bahai pensioners and former civil servants were forced to refund all pension checks received from the previous government of the Shah.






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