[Adapted from website:] The Guardian

[Date:] Friday, 10 June 2011


Stand up for Iranian Baha'is' right to a higher education

Exams are here for students across the country. In Iran, too, students are busy at university – but not if they are Baha'is. The youth of Iran's largest religious minority were banned from university after the 1979 revolution. On 21 May, Iranian authorities raided 30 homes and arrested 16 Baha'is for being part of an initiative to provide higher education to their community.

In 1987, the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education was established to give Iranian Baha'is a chance to study. It has hundreds of students and many come to the UK for postgraduate degrees. The New York Times calls it an "elaborate act of communal self-preservation" – without it, Baha'is would have nowhere to learn.

The authorities have struck the institute before and dozens were arrested. It is official policy to block the development of the Baha'is. Young Baha'is who cannot study are denied a basic human right. Their desire to contribute to society is being strangled at the start of their adult lives.

Academics, students and politicians should join common cause for Baha'i students in Iran. The authorities must be taught that human rights are universal. Barring Baha'is from university exposes the government's own ignorance.


Professor Stephen Chan  School of Oriental and African Studies

Professor Sadie Creese  Warwick University

Professor Erol Gelenbe  Imperial College London

Professor Jonathan Michie  Oxford University

Professor Rachel Murray  Bristol University

Professor Karalyn Patterson  Cambridge University

Dr Andrew Shacknove  Oxford University

Professor Patrick Thornberry  Keele University

Professor Barbara Wilson  Cambridge University




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