Category: Baha’i

Egypt suppresses Bahai faith

2,000 member sect in Egypt is denied recognition as citizens CAIRO, Egypt – Tucked away in Labib Iskandar’s pocket is a neatly folded slip of paper with fraying edges that tells the story of a community fighting for recognition. It’s a receipt Iskandar got when he applied for the computer-based identification card Egypt had just then begun issuing, more than five years ago. Iskandar is a Bahai, a member of a religious community that regards a 19th-century Persian nobleman, Baha’u’llah, as a prophet, a challenge to the Muslim belief that Mohammed is the last prophet. Given the pivotal role of

Iran’s Bahai Religious Minority Says It Faces Raids and Arrests

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN Published: June 1, 2006 Members of the Bahai religious minority in Iran said this week that the government had recently intensified a campaign of arrests, raids and propaganda that was aimed at eradicating their religion in Iran, the country of its birth. On May 19, Iranian security officials arrested 54 Bahais in the city of Shiraz who were involved in a community service project, many of them in their teens and early 20’s, said diplomatic officials and Bahai officials outside of Iran. They were not charged and all but three were released within six days, these officials

Egypt: Rights activists welcome ruling recognising Bahai rights

CAIRO, 6 April (IRIN) – Human rights activists have welcomed a landmark ruling by the Administrative Court recognising the right of Egyptian Bahais to have their religion acknowledged on official documents. The decision, announced on 4 April, “sent a strong message that it is the right of every Egyptian citizen to adopt the religion of their choice”, said Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Private Rights (EIPR). The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by a married Bahai couple against Interior Minister Habib al-Adly in June 2004. According to an EIPR statement, officials from the Civil

U.S. reopens door to Iran’s Bahai refugees

Unofficial curbs in place since 9/11 have eased for worshipers fleeing persecution The drive from his Tehran home to the airport and on to America was a journey that Khosrow, a member of the Bahai faith, was never willing to take. When Iran’s Shiite Muslim clerics fired him from his job at a state oil company, declaring him fer’qeh zalleh, a follower of a “misguided sect,” Khosrow took odd jobs to make a living. When his two daughters passed tough university entrance exams only to be banned when they revealed their religion on application forms, he sent them to study

Iran making room for its spiritual minorities

But one religion still faces unapologetic persecution Yazd, Iran — Shahram Goharian could be called a typical Iranian, except for the poster of the Hebrew prophet Moses that he hangs above his shop counter. He owns a small clothing store in the city of Yazd, a historic caravan stop amid the vast emptiness of the country’s central desert. On a recent day, his store was filled with neighboring shopkeepers whiling away a slow afternoon in front of a soccer match on his television. Hands waved, and shouts erupted. No one paid any notice to the Moses poster. Goharian is Jewish,

Shiite regime’s persecution keeps Baha’i faith in shadows of Iran

Imprisonments and alleged torture incurred since fall of shah Tehran — Reza speaks perfect English, is cosmopolitan and tech-savvy, but his future is at least as bleak as his past. The 36-year-old Tehran resident has no university education, is banned from holding a fixed job, cannot own property, cannot practice his religion and must constantly hide his identity for fear of arrest. For Reza and the 300,000 other members of the Baha’i sect, there is no respite from unending persecution at the hands of the Shiite religious regime. The sect, which was founded in 19th-century northern Iran as a breakaway

Portrait of a peaceful religion

The leader of the Bahai faith in Britain has given the Hutton Inquiry greater insight into the character of Dr David Kelly, with a description of the religious beliefs that helped shape his life. Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom, said Dr Kelly had enjoyed praying with fellow Bahai believers at his home in Oxfordshire, and had even sent an e-mail to some of them on the day he took his “fateful” walk. Dr Kelly seems to have been well suited to Bahai, which emphasises the unity of science and religion,

The leader of Dr Kelly’s religion explains its attraction

The leader of Dr Kelly’s religion, Barney Leith, explains its attraction Any Edinburgh citizens who passed through Charlotte Square in the city’s West End during January 1913 might well have been surprised to see a bearded man dressed in Eastern robes and a turban. He was Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son of the prophet Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith. His visit introduced Scotland to what is now a global faith with five million adherents worldwide and 6,000 in Britain. The speeches Abdu’l-Baha gave in public meetings during his visit stirred up vigorous controversy – which soon filled the correspondence