“…If you’re a Baha’i I’m sorry, get out of Iran…” –Rick Steves
Steves’ statement resurfaced when I saw the 20-year sentence verdict for seven Iranian Baha’i individuals. The Baha’i religion is forbidden in Iran—an Islamic theocracy. (For more on the state of this religion see this site.)
For some years now, these Seven were imprisoned, first for about a year with no charges and then later with: with spying for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Tough to swallow when there is credible evidence that this is mostly due to their religious affiliation. These individuals are older, so there is reason to believe they may not live through a twenty-year sentence.
The whole situation is very difficult. Iran has its own rules and there is the ethical question of how to thread without imposing on its sovereignty. Steves suggests Baha’is should just evacuate the country, but I suspect this may be perceived as callous and insensitive, especially with those who have deep roots in Iran. The concern is that there is nothing in the Iranian Constitution providing their safety, so they are definitely at-risk no matter how you look at it. The Azerbaijanis have the Iranian Constitution on their side and they are still being persecuted and marginalized, how much more when your religious freedom is unrecognized?
ADAPP is committed to equal rights in Iran for all. Their team understands that as they advocate freedom for their community they must also support and advocate any other community that experiences hardship. In preparing this post, I went digging for some Azerbaijani Baha’is—a definite double whammy, non?—to profile, but realized that it would jeopardize their security as well. As horrible as this may read, a reality is these leaders have media on their side, Shirin Ebadi is their lawyer and many sites and countries, including the one below—have been covering their story. One hopes that some good will be realized soon—after all hope is all we have.
So, I implore you to take action with me and do the following:
*****Sign the petition to Release Baha’i Prisoners in Iran*******
****Support Facebook Page Free Azerbaijanis Prisoners in Iran******
****Support Facebook Page Free Said Matinpour****
Posted By Adepeju Solarin
Posted Aug 12th, 2010