Persecution of Baha'is in Iran

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The Baha'i Faith is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion founded in Persia in the 19th century which claims to share the same values and origins of it's predecessors. Its founder, Baha'u'llah, is regarded by Baha'is as "the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Mohammed." The current estimates for the total number of Baha'is around the world ranges from 5 million[1][2] to 7.9 million.[3]

From its inception to this day, the Bahá'ís of Iran have been persecuted. While the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian minorities are also persecuted, they have certain limited rights, but the Baha'is have none.[4] With the triumph of the Islamic revolution in 1979, this persecution of minorities has become systematized. Unofficial figures have put the number of Baha'i deaths into the thousands, but officially more than two-hundred have been executed or killed, hundreds more have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have been deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities. All national and local Bahá'í administrative institutions have been banned by the Government, and Bahá'í holy places, cemeteries and community properties have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed.[5]

This treatment of Baha'is is justified by Shari'ah through apostasy laws, because apostasy mandates that anyone who leaves Islam should be killed. According to many scholars, since the Baha'i faith is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, they are apostates and can therefore be justifiably murdered. Many Baha'is continue to conceal their religion and often call themselves Muslims.

The international community is becoming more aware of the Baha'is plight as campaigns have risen, bringing the United Nations, Amnesty International, the European Union, and the United States into discussions.

Islamic authorities across the world have always had great difficulty in accommodating post-Islamic monotheistic religions such as the Ahmadiyya and Bahá'í Faiths, since the followers of such religions cannot be dismissed as "benighted heathens", like the polytheists of Asia and the animists of Africa, nor can they be dismissed as "outdated precursors", like the Jews and Christians. Moreover, their very existence presents a challenge to the Islamic doctrine of the perfection and finality of Muhammad's revelation.

Here is a directive from the Iranian Interior Ministry sent to all provincial governments to collect detailed information about Baha’i activities and individuals:

Emblem of the IRI

Islamic Republic of Iran Ministry of Interior

Date: August 19th 2006
Number: 43.70878

In His Lofty Name

(To) Honorable Political-Security Deputies of Provincial Governments of the Entire Country

Salaam Aleikom, Respectfully, according to the information sent (to us), certain elements of the perverting Baha’i cult are attempting to advocate and propagate the ideology of Baha’ism under the cover of business and social activities. Since this cult is illegal and is being used by international organizations (human rights etc…) and Zionist circles against the Islamic Republic regime, it is (hereby) reques ted that you order the relevant institutions (intelligence departments) to manage and monitor their social behavior, delicately and seriously. In the meantime, complete the requested information according to the attached form and send it to this Vice Ministry for processing by the sixth of September (2006). CODE

Seyyed (Title of Decendants of Prophet Mohammad) Mohammad-Reza Mavali-Zadeh

Director General of the Political Bureau



The Attached Form is entitled: “The Situation of the Perverting Baha’i Cult in Each Province”

The requested information categories are:

Economic Situation: Income, Occupation
Social Interaction
Social Information
Political and Social Activities
Principal Elements (leaders)
Contacts with Foreign Circles
Stop the Persecution of non-Muslim Iranians
Human Rights Council of the Marze Por Gohar Party

The Iranian president Ahmedinijad has bluntly refused to acknowledge the existence of the Baha'is with the rhetorical question, "what is the name of this religion?" and asserted the finality of Islam after Judaism and Christianity.

A top Baha'i official has also criticized Iran's claim that the seven leaders of the religious minority who were imprisoned in Iran, were held for security reasons and not because of their faith. Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations, called Iran's assertion "utterly baseless." saying that Iran's practice of connecting the group to Zionism, the underlying political philosophy of the Jewish state, was a "distortion" and an attempt to "stir animosity" among the Iranian public.[6] All this hostility despite the fact that Baha'is respect Islam as a valid religion, revere Prophet Muhammad, and even defend him against critics of Islam.

External links


  1. Statistics - Bahá'í World News Service
  2. Hutter, Manfred (2005). "Bahā'īs". in Jones, Lindsay. Encyclopedia of Religion. 2 (2nd ed.). Detroit: Macmillan Reference US. pp. 737–740. ISBN 0028657330.
  3. World: People: Religions - CIA World Factbook
  4. Stop the Persecution of non-Muslim Iranians - Human Rights Council of the Marze Por Gohar Party
  5. Friedrich W. Affolter - The Specter of Ideological Genocide: The Bahá’ís of Iran - War Crimes, Genocide, & Crimes against Humanity, Volume 1, January, 2005
  6. Christopher Buck. Islam and Minorities: The Case of the Bahá'ís. Studies in Contemporary Islam, 5(1):83–106, 2003.