[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:] Radio Farda
[Date:] 11 Mordad 1392 [2 August 2013]
The Commission of Freedom of Religions Strongly Criticized Ayatollah Khamenei’s Fatwas Against Baha’is
On Thursday, 10 Mordad [1 August], the World Religious Freedom Commission strongly criticized the fatwas against the Baha’is issued by Ayatollah Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and called on the leaders of the world to support the Baha’i community in Iran against these fatwas.
In a statement by Robert P. George, the head of this independent American organization that operates under the auspices of the U.S. government, it is said that the Baha’i community in Iran should expect more persecution from the Iranian government following these fatwas.
In a recent fatwa issued by the Tasnim News Agency, Ayatollah Khamenei called Baha’ism “the perverse and misguided sect”, which the majority of Shi’ites in society should “avoid.”
These fatwas call the Baha’is “condemned to impurity” and warn the Iranian people that they should be “purified” if they come in contact with them.
But the World Religious Freedom Commission says Baha’ism is a “peaceful and independent world religion” that has been under the “slanders of the clergy and the government of Iran” since its inception about 170 years ago.
In the statement from the head of the Commission, it was stated that the fatwas issued by the leader of the Islamic Republic, which were published only a few days before the inauguration of the new president of Iran, remind the world community what the agenda of the Iranian government is and who has the last word in it.
Robert P. George has finally called on the leaders of the world and all the benevolent men and women of the world to take a stand in support of the Baha’i community in Iran.
Dozens of members of the Baha'i community in Iran are currently in prison. The Freedom of Religion Commission says Iranian authorities have unilaterally detained more than 650 Baha’is since 2005, and at least 110 of them have been in prison since mid-Bahman [February] last year.
The Commission’s report also says that the Baha’i community in Iran has been increasingly threatened and harassed in recent years, with many of their homes and properties being violently attacked. At the same time, the number of their arrests has almost doubled compared to the year 2011.
The situation of the Baha’is in Iran has also provoked protests from the United Nations. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of this international body has recently condemned what it calls “widespread discrimination against Baha’is” in Iran and called on the Iranian government to respect the rights of the followers of this religion.