[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Roozonline

[Date:] 20 Bahman 1388 [9 February 2010]

 

Letter From a Group of University Lecturers in Le Monde

Stop Persecution of the Baha’is

Threat of the execution of seven Baha’is imprisoned in Iran – The seven individuals, five men and two women, aged 37 to 76, who have been detained for 20 months, have been charged by the Iranian judiciary with “espionage for Israel” and “spreading corruption on earth”. The accused, whom members of the Baha’i community in Iran call “Yaran” (companions), by acting as intermediaries between members of its society and government institutions, sought to reduce the severity of pressure on Iranian Baha’is, who have been subjected to persecution by the Islamic Republic for thirty years.

Baha’is, despite being the country’s most important religious minority, are not considered citizens and have no protection or refuge; they are labelled “infidels.” The 300,000 members of this community who have peace-seeking ideology, are the most easily accessible victims against whom the most severe accusations can be levelled whenever the country experiences political or social tensions. Today, the state newspapers have accused them of organizing riots that have shaken the country, but these allegations, like all the accusations levelled against Baha’is over a century, are not true.

As the trial of the seven Yaran approaches, the arrest of Baha’is, the destruction of cemeteries, and the burning of their properties have increased, and no one handles their complaints. Forty-eight Baha’is are currently being held in prison, and 75 others have been released pending trial, often with staggering bail, causing them to have to mortgage their properties or business licences. For thirty years now, Baha’is have been barred from entering universities and receiving a pension. Deprived of employment in government offices, there is pressure on the private sector employers to fire them, and the people who are against Baha’is attack them without concern for the consequences of their actions. Even Baha’i children are not immune to violence and are insulted in schools during morning ceremonies.

Your Excellency, you once said that the Baha’is should be reduced to the rank of “tributaries” of the government.

Baha’is have been working for one hundred and fifty years, both in Iran and in other countries, to promote equality between men and women and to enjoy universal access to education and other matters, such as balancing science and religion, and this has led to more and more support by the Iranian people.

We call for an end to the systematic violence against Baha’is organized by the extremist faction of the clergy and the government, for the recognition of freedom of belief and religion in Iran, and for the release of Baha’i women and men prisoners in Iran.

Source: Le Monde 5 February