Sen's daily

September 12, 2019

Minister of Education approves policy of barring Bahais from schools

Photo thanks to HRANA
Radio Farda, September 11, 2019. –

Iran Press Watch, following HRANA and other Persian sources, has reported that Borna Piraasteh (برنا پیراسته), an outstanding Bahai student at the Sa’adat School in Semnan, has been barred from re-enrolling in the third grade of high school after the summer break because of his Bahai beliefs. According to a Radio Farda report, after this news became public, the newly appointed Minister of Education, Dr. Mohsen Haaji Mirzaa’i (محسن حاجی‌میرزایی) declared that all students belonging to “non-official” religions are barred from secondary schools, because this would constitute “propaganda.” He was speaking at a news conference connected to a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, but the report does not indicate whether Cabinet has approved his policy, which would involve barring all Bahai children from schools.

The Piraasteh family were informed that their son would not be allowed to enroll by the Principal, speaking by telephone. Initially they were told this was because some parents at the school had objected.

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2 Comments »

  1. My dear brother, I just want to thank you again for your loving & steadfast reporting of these heartbreaking truths, even though they make me cry like a baby at times. I have been saying the Prayer of Supplication, usually at midnight, for the beloved ones in the Cradle of the Faith–for the poor children/families at our own Southwestern border– & for all oppressed peoples around the world. It helps so much to know that these sorrows & oppressions will not last forever. Your posts are greatly appreciated, & we keep you in our prayers always. Thank you again, & God bless you. 💙🌹💚 Elizabeth Snyder-Baldonado🐱, & her little d🐶g, too!!!

    Comment by Elizabeth Snyder_baldonado — September 12, 2019 @ 17:00 | Reply

  2. This report (below) suggests that children will only be expelled if they say they are Bahais — but to whom are they not to say it? To the school administration? To their teachers? To the children?
    The report makes it clear that this is not a random mis-speak by the new Minister, but a nation-wide project for which manpower and funds have been allocated. If that does NOT produce any expulsions, questions will be asked about what the resources were spent on.

    Maryam Dehkordi reports:
    https://iranwire.com/en/features/6303
    Iran’s new education minister has used the launch of a new country-wide project as an opportunity to strike out against Iran’s religious minorities, potentially giving schools greater freedom to discriminate against non-Shia Muslim students.

    “If students say that they follow a faith other than the country’s official religions and this is seen as proselytizing, they cannot continue attending school,” Mohsen Haji-Mirzaei said on Wednesday, September 11. He was referring to Project Mehr, which, according to him, his ministry had launched a few months earlier. All of the ministry’s provincial and local offices are taking part in the initiative, he said, adding that the human resources necessary for implementing the project had already been organized.

    Unsurprisingly, the statements prompted unease and commotion among religious minorities in Iran, although most Baha’i citizens are familiar with such measures that deny them their human rights. Many of them have not forgotten that, while they were as school, if they said anything about their faith, they were unceremoniously expelled. Ironically, the project’s name, Mehr, not only marks the calendar month when children go back to school, but the word also means “affection,” “kindness” or “love.”

    Shahin Sadeghzadeh Milani, a lawyer and the Legal Director for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, told IranWire, “There are precedents for this and, at least for the Baha’i community, it is not something new. I have personally experienced this. I was allowed to study at middle school for three years after managers of the school who, as it happens, were not against Baha’is in schools, made me promise that I would not talk about my faith in school. Nobody there knew that I was a Baha’i, or anything about my life, the fact that my father had been executed or the unwritten agreement between me and the school officials.”

    Milani believes, however, that today schools and education ministry officials have a freer hand to expel students from schools. “These statements by the minister give school officials more freedom to act,” Milani said. “Earlier, even though once in while there were reports that a Baha’i student had been expelled from school, it was not as systematically done as in universities. If they were expelled from one school they had the chance of being accepted by another school, but now this ban can be enforced systematically.”

    Following Haji-Mirzaei’s statements, Shadi Beyzaei, an Iranian Baha’i writer, poet and journalist who now lives in Australia, published a facsimile of a letter that expelled her sister from school in the 1980s. “My sister was expelled three times for being a Baha’i or for being born to a Baha’i family: once from primary school, once from middle school and the third time from high school,” she wrote. “This is the letter of expulsion from middle school.”

    Comment by Sen — September 14, 2019 @ 07:34 | Reply


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