Sen's daily

November 27, 2013

‘Unclean’ — Iran’s Outcast Baha’i Minority

Huffington Post blog, November 26, 2013

Anthony Vance, Director of Public Affairs for the Baha’is of the United States, has an excellent article on Huffington Post about the Iranian Shiah concept that Bahais (and others) are unclean, and that contact with them is to be avoided. It’s a point I’ve made several times on this blog, but Vance does it better, and has some documentation on the economic sectors that are forbidden to Bahais that I have not seen before:

The concept of ritual uncleanliness is an old one embedded in several major religious traditions, including Islam and Judaism. It is still accepted by many religious Iranian Muslims today. The Iranian Government has even taken legal steps to make sure that it applies to the occupations in which Baha’is may work. In a letter dated April 9, 2007, from the Public Places Supervision Office of the Public Intelligence and Security Force in the province of Tehran, addressed to the regional commanders of police and the heads of public intelligence and security forces, instructions were issued to prevent Baha’is from engaging in a wide range of businesses including “high-earning businesses.” The letter also prohibits Baha’is from receiving permits in 25 “sensitive business categories” and trades ranging from the tourist industry to computer sales, publishing, and a wide range of food businesses. With respect to the latter, the letter provides: “In accordance with the religious canons, work permits will not be issued to the followers of the perverse Bahaist sect in business categories related to Taharat [cleanliness]:
1. catering at reception halls,
2. buffets and restaurants,
3. grocery shops,
4. kebab shops,
5. cafes,
6. protein [poultry] shops and supermarkets,
7. ice cream parlors, fruit juice and soft drinks shops,
8. pastry shops,
9. coffee shops.” (italics added)

Related Posts
Signs of hope for Bahais in Iran
Ayatollah Masumi Tehrani speaks with, and for, the Bahais
Mohammad Nourizad calls for mass rejection of the ‘unclean’ superstition
Former Rector of Tehran University apologises
Demonstrative rejection of anti-Bahaism from Mohammad Nourizad
`Adnan Rahmat-Penah’s trial again a farce

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  1. Thank you, Sen, for posting this. I fully subscribe to Anthony’s criticisms of Rouhani’s government’s accomplishments so far. I just wish he had been more willing to mention the great suffering for the Iranian people which the sanctions have brought about and some form of hope that their suffering as well could be relieved. It is a truism of politics that it is easier to accomplish diplomatic goals with other countries than to accomplish domestic goals with one’s own fractious allies. This is as true of Iran as it is of the US. Mr. Vance, as seasoned former diplomat, must surely know this, but again — no mention. Mr. Vance comes across as an opponent of the new President, which seems to me inadvisable at this early stage in his presidency, when his actual ideas about Baha’is are unknown.

    Comment by petussing — November 28, 2013 @ 04:17 | Reply

  2. The “unclean” ones are the fanatical Muslim clergy who support persecution, imprisonment, and even murder.

    Comment by Candace Jacallen — November 29, 2013 @ 00:30 | Reply

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