Enqalab-e Islami, September 25, 2013 (updated)
Dr. Muhammad Maleki ( محمد ملکی ), the former Rector of Tehran University, has met with one of the Bahai students excluded from tertiary education in Iran, and apologized to her. He was accompanied by film director Mohammad Nourizad, who has reported the meeting. The gesture has implications that are wider than Dr. Maleki’s rejection of religious discrimination in education, as he went to the home of one of the Bahai students, drank tea with her, and allowed himself to be photographed giving her a (chaste) kiss. He has also posted this photograph and an account of the meeting on his facebook page. This amounts to a forthright rejection of the belief that Bahais are unclean, which, with the beliefs that Bahais practice incest and are agents of foreign powers, is one of the three pillars of anti-Bahaism in the Middle East. This follows the earlier visit of Mr. Nourizad to the home of the Rahimiyan family, where he ate fruit handed to him by a Bahai, and kissed the feet of a Bahai child.
Dr. Maleki, met with Taraneh Ta’efi ( ترانه ی طائفی ), a 17-year-old Bahai student who has been excluded from tertiary education with the “incomplete file” excuse. He asked her where her mother was, and she told him her mother was serving five and a half years in prison, for having taught psychology in the Bahai Open University (BIHE), and had been denied any prison furlough. In his astonishment, Dr. Maleki jumped from his seat and embraced her, kissing her head, with tears in his eyes. [The injustices suffered by Bahais and other minorities in Iran are not reported in the Iranian media, and blocking of the internet makes it difficult for people in Iran to obtain objective news ~ Sen] He then apologized to her, on behalf of all those who did not understand [the Bahai Faith] and who in their ignorance impose limitations on the Bahais. He asked her to tell her mother, “The first Rector of Tehran University, now aged 81, came to our home and bowed in recognition of the injustice we and others like us have suffered.
Mr. Nourizad and Dr. Maleki then went to the home of Afaq [Rahimian] whose husband was executed by the post-revolutionary regime, while her two sons and daughter-in-law are now in prison for teaching psychology at the Bahai Open University. [This must refer to Keyvan and Kamran Rahimian ( کامران رحیمیان : کیوان رحیمیان ) and Faran Hesami (فاران حسامی )]. Dr. Maleki shook hands with her and said, “Madame, I am an academic, a Muslim, a Shiah, and I swear by God that studying and teaching are not a crime for any human being, because Islam teaches that everyone should be learning, from the cradle to the grave. It is a religious duty.”
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