Sen's daily

July 26, 2012

Baha’is demonstrate in Tehran, against the oppression of Muslims

PCED, July 26

Today (July 26) a small number of Iranian Bahais held a demonstration outside the offices of the United Nations in Tehran, to protest the killing of Muslims in Myanmar. A statement issued by these Bahais says, “The defence of human rights, regardless of religion, race and thinking, is the duty of every human rights activist. Recently the world has witnessed a deplorable tragedy in Myanmar that rends the soul of humanity, yet the people of the world remain sunk in silence. In Syria, innocent people are killed under the most heinous circumstances and human dignity is trampled underfoot; the tears of the children of Palestine and Gaza fall on the shoulders of their fathers, and the world watches indifferently. The Muslims of Chechnya have been deprived of the right to life, which is the most basic human right, while the people of the world continue to life in relative prosperity. … We, a group of Iranian Baha’is, condemn the brutal genocide and massacre of Muslims in Myanmar, demand an investigation, and draw the attention of the international community and human rights organizations to these outrages….”

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  1. Bold move. Good work!

    Comment by Maku — July 26, 2012 @ 18:15 | Reply

  2. I am not sure this is legit. Baha’is do not conduct public demonstrations, in fact actions like that are proscribed by the tenets of the Faith as “engaging in partisan politics”. Suggest this is some type of pro-Iranian deal meant to discredit Baha’is.

    Comment by Steve Connor — July 30, 2012 @ 06:12 | Reply

    • Yes, it’s certainly authentic, and brave, because they have shown their faces in the photograph. The information and photograph comes from the PCED, which has several Bahai members — including several who are in prison for membership of the PCED and the Bahai Faith. For example, Mithaq Afshar and Bashir Ehsani are Bahai activists who are members of the PCED, see(on this blog):
      Security forces try to arrest Bashir Ehsani
      Two Bahai students arrested in Tehran

      There is nothing in the Bahai teachings to inhibit Bahais from protesting and marching against discrimination suffered by others. Tony Lee writes:

      “That Bahaíis may take part in demonstrations was made clear by Shoghi Effendi when a number of Bahai students at the University of Chicago joined a protest against racial prejudice and carried a placard with the word Bahaí on it. Mr. Ellsworth Blackwell asked the Guardian “Is there anything wrong in the protesting of Bahai student groups against racial prejudice along with other student organizations?” The beloved Guardian replied through his secretary (January 1948): “He does not see any objection to Bahai students taking part as Bahais in protest such as that mentioned in the clipping. On the contrary, he does not see how they could remain indifferent when fellow students were voicing our own Bahai attitude on such a vital issue and one we feel so strongly about.”
      (Bahaí News, insert, June 1964). (Lee, Circle of Unity, 1984: xvi)

      In 1963, a group of Bahais participated in Martin Luther King’s march on Selma, Alabama, to protest against racial segregation, and they had the NSA’s approval to do so. (Deb Clark, writing in Hollinger (ed.), Community Histories, (1992) p. 104). That’s not to say that every NSA will always support Bahai participation in demonstrations that support Bahai principles, such as civil rights for all. There may be local issues that require greater restrain temporarily. But the principle is clear: how could we remain indifferent, when others are expressing our own Bahai attitudes?

      Comment by Sen — July 30, 2012 @ 11:31 | Reply

  3. One of those people who specialise in cheap-shot critiques of everything has questioned whether the photograph was taken in Tehran, or somewhere in the West. I’ve deleted that comment, it was repugnant.

    The photograph shows a Unicef sign, and the street number 7 ( ٧ in Arabic numerals) on the wall. The Unicef offices in Tehran are in the modernist multi-story building that houses the UN Information Centre, but they have a separate access on a side street. Their address is No. 7 Nezami Street, off Qoba / Ghoba street, off Shariati Ave.; while the UN information centre is at No.8, Shahrzad Blvd., near the corner of Qoba St. & Shariati Ave. Unfortunately Google street view doesn’t stretch that far yet, so I can’t show you a photo of the UN Information Centre’s building. I can say that everything in the photo fits (down to the Iran-style pavement surface), and I have never had any reason to doubt the integrity of PCED reports, or the courage of their actions.

    Is the testimony of those acceptable and worthy of attention, whose deeds agree with their words, whose outward behavior conforms with their inner life? The mind is bewildered at their deeds, and the soul marveleth at their fortitude and bodily endurance.

    When noble souls stride through the world, one sometimes hears the yapping of little creatures around them. Interpreted, they are saying, “look at me, look at me, I’m important too!”

    Or is the testimony of these faithless souls who breathe naught but the breath of selfish desire, and who lie imprisoned in the cage of their idle fancies, acceptable? …. By what law or standard could men be justified in cleaving to the denials of such petty-minded souls and in ignoring the faith of them that have renounced, for the sake of the good pleasure of God, their life and substance, their fame and renown, their reputation and honor?.
    (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 181)

    Comment by Sen — July 31, 2012 @ 12:47 | Reply

  4. We Iranians are proud of you. Thank you for defending the rights of ALL
    بارک الله به شما بچه‌های شجاع و عزیز که از حقوق همه دفاع می‌کنید. به امید رفاه، آسایش و آرامش برای همهٔ افراد بشر
    Azita Rahimpoor, Human Rights Activist, Belgium

    Comment by Azita Rahimpoor — August 14, 2012 @ 16:51 | Reply

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