[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:] Iran Wire

[Date:] 10 Tir 1396 [1 July 2017]

 

Haddad Junior and Detesting Baha’is

[By:] Aida Ghajar

Faridodin Haddad-Adel, the oldest son of Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the head of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature of Iran and a member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution of Iran, became a Twitter newsmaker. Two days ago, Faridodin Haddad-Adel, who is the headmaster of Farhang School, asked Twitter users if they knew of ingenious students in human sciences who did not have the appropriate academic means, so that he could enroll them in the Farhang School.

One Twitter user asked him whether this offer included the Baha’is who have been deprived of education. Faridodin Haddad-Adel wrote, “We have a branch in a deprived area like Sistan [province], but never a Baha’i.” He added, “We are not yet so humiliated as to become the servants of the Queen! How dare you ask such a question?”

In another tweet, about the reason for opposing the acceptance of Baha’is, he wrote, “The innocent child grew up, went to school, damaged the religion, the country and the revolution, and my colleagues and I look on with regret and grief.”

The opposition to Baha’i academic enrolment is not just a Twitter issue; it has a history of more than three decades. In the first days after the revolution, Baha’i professors were among the first groups expelled from the universities. Since 1362 [1983/1984], Baha’i students have also been barred from education. This approach became a decree of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution in Bahman 1369 [February 1991]: “In universities, whether on arrival or while studying, as soon as it becomes evident that they are Baha’is, they should be expelled from the university.”

In 1366 [1987/1988], the Baha’is expelled from the universities set up the virtual Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) to educate Baha’i youth, but since 1377 [1998/1999], the government of the Islamic Republic, despite its initial soft approach, adopted a tough policy against this cultural practice. This year, [security] agents raided the homes of hundreds of Baha’is affiliated with this Institution, detained them, and confiscated the virtual university’s educational property and teaching aids. Ever since, the Institute’s activities have been severely restricted, and Baha’i youth who are barred or expelled from national universities for religious reasons are facing an education crisis.

In 1395 [2016/2017], the “Education is Not a Crime” campaign was launched to inform [the public] about the situation of Baha’is in Iran and to combat educational discrimination against them, but the exclusion of Baha’i students from universities under Hassan Rouhani has not changed much. Over the past five years, at least 30 Baha’i students have been expelled and thousands have been barred from entering the university.

Although the possibility of education for Baha’is at lower levels has not been denied, in August 1392 [2013/2014], Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in response to a question about Muslim students’ contact with Baha’i students, such as shaking hands or use of common facilities such as cleaning instruments, drinking taps, soap, etc. issued a fatwa: “All followers of the perverse Baha’i sect, are designated as religious najasat[1], and if they [Baha’is] come in contact with anything, it is obligatory [for Muslims] to observe the rules of taharat[2] in relation to matters that are conditional on taharat.”

The existence of strict religious practices that consider Baha’is najis[3] and “misguided” has led to physical clashes and killings of Baha’is over the past decades. These clashes and killings of Baha’is have been carried out either in an organized and systematic manner by the government or by some extremist citizens who have the support of the government.

Reactions to Faridodin Haddad-Adel were not limited to his opposition to the registration of the Baha’is. Some users have written about their experiences while studying at this school. A user named Sheida Maleki, in response to the invitation of the principal of the Farhang School, has warned, “If you know an ingenious student in the field of humanities, it would be better for them not to approach this high school so that their humanity is not questioned by the school staff.”

Faridodin Haddad-Adel’s recent tweets were in line with Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent decrees. They say that he has carried out the orders of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, and [the tweets] were culturally self-motivated and clean. His work has not been self-motivated, but has been the product of nepotism and closeness to power, but it is probably clean from the leadership’s point of view since it is against the Baha’is.

 

 

[1] [Najasat: Uncleanliness, impurity]

[2] [Taharat:  Cleanliness and purification according to Islamic religious laws]

[3] [Najis:  Ritually impure/unclean]