[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:] Taghato

[Date:] 2 Mehr 1393 [24 September 2014]

 

Reformist Representative Insults Baha’i Candidates Deprived of Education in This Year’s National University Entrance Exam

Taghato: Alireza Mahjoub, a reformist member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, during a visit to his office by a number of Baha’i citizens deprived of education after this year’s National University Entrance Examination, insulted their beliefs, describing Baha’is as “terrorists” and “gunmen” and expelled these citizens from his office.

Ruhiyyeh Safajou, an 18-year-old Baha’i girl who attended the meeting on Tuesday (1 Mehr – 23 September), had written in her Facebook page, “From the very beginning, Mr. Mahjoub, without saying ‘Hello’ in response to the ‘Hello’ of one of the eight Baha’i citizens who had gone to his office, said, “Do you consider Baha’ism a religion?”

Miss Safajou wrote, “Mr. Sabet, representative of these eight Baha’is, replied to Mahjoub, ‘We are not here to talk about religion, we say we are Iranians, and we have the right to education. I was fired myself and now my daughter has not even gone to university.’”

At this time, Mahjoub, who had “closed his eyes” and was not looking at the Baha’is, said angrily, “Do not change the subject. Answer me, is Baha’ism a religion?”

This Baha’i, deprived of education, added that when the Baha'i representative replied, “Yes, Baha’i is a religion”, Mr. Mahjoub was only “shouting and insulting the sacredness and religion of the Baha’is” and did not allow any of these people to speak.

Ruhiyyih Safajou, who had been silent until then, raised her voice and asked Mahjoub to [allow her to] speak for a few moments. She was faced with the angry reaction of this reformist and several times member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, who shouted louder than before: “Your forefathers and ancestors were terrorists, you all held guns and...”

He was shouting at this girl deprived of education saying, “Get out, get out, go…” to which he heard the answer, “I will not go. After eighteen years my father has never yelled at me. What right do you have to yell at me?”

Miss Safajou continues writing, “Mr. Mahjoub’s voice rose again even louder; he said, ‘Do I owe you anything? Do you owe me anything?’

“But I quickly said, ‘Yes, you owe me, you fired my father, my mother did not even take the National University Entrance Examination, and now I am here myself.’”

According to her, Mahjoub shouted again and said, “Is it my fault? Get out, go.”

The screams finally persuaded this young girl to leave the room of this reformist member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly trembling and with tears in her eyes.

In addition to Ruhiyyeh Safajou, several other Baha’i girls and boys―Shadan Shirazi, ranked 113th in the math and technical entrance exams; Tara Houshmand; Noura Sabet and Sarmad Shadabi, have also reported to the media that they have remained behind [after] this year’s National Universities Entrance Exam. These young Baha’is either have not been issued a ranking from the beginning, or, after choosing their line of study, they have been [referred] to the Sanjish organization, which has been ineffective so far. Their complaints have not even been registered anywhere.

These Baha’i citizens have stressed in their writings and interviews that they have not declared themselves as being Baha’is anywhere, and that they have also answered the questions on Islamic culture in the National University Entrance Examination.

Deprivation of education of Baha’is in Iranian universities is based on the decision of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution on 25 February 1991, which, in addition to depriving Baha’is of employment in government offices, also deprives them of university education.

According to the third paragraph of this decree, not only should Baha’is not be enrolled in universities, but they should also be barred from studying if their Baha’i identity is established after enrolment and while studying.

About two weeks ago, in response to the fact that Baha’is continue to be denied entry to university this year, 360 Baha’is deprived of education in previous years, in an open letter to the president of the Islamic Republic Hassan Rouhani, reminded him of his election promises to respect citizenship rights. They wrote, “The failure to announce the preliminary and final results of a large number of Baha’i candidates in the 2014 National University Entrance Examination in the past month shows your reluctance for the Baha’i youth to enter the university.”