Human Rights and Education: Iran and her Baha’is……….

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“People apply for university and their applications are turned down, even though they have strong results from secondary school,” said Elise Auerbach, Iran specialist for Amnesty International USA. “They can’t get credentials, so they’re barred from pursuing all sorts of professions. They can’t be doctors, lawyers, university professors or scientists.” In response, Baha’is have improvised a decentralized, semi-underground college known as the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). Since 1987, BIHE has run classes in the living rooms and kitchens of Baha’i homes, on the sweat of volunteer Baha’i professors, many of whom lost their jobs in Iranian universities over their religious beliefs……….. According to David Hoffman, founder of a campaign to support Iran’s Baha’is in their quest for higher education, the college has produced about 2,000 graduates, one-in-ten of whom have gone on to postgraduate study abroad at one of 60 universities outside Iran recognizing BIHE coursework………… In May, more than 30 Baha’i homes across Iran were raided as part of a crackdown on BIHE. The institution was subsequently declared illegal, according to human rights groups, and seven professors and administrators were last month sentenced to four and five years each, for being involved in an illegal group intending to commit crimes against national security…………..

Bahai’s are the most officially discriminated against religious minority in Iran. Christians and Jews predate Islam and they are recognized as such. Zoroastrianism is the original religion of ancient Persia and it also predates Islam and Christianity and is recognized as such. Zoroastrianism is sort of like the “Red Indians” of Middle East religions, mostly displaced by Islam and Christianity. Bahai’s seem to receive most of the ‘religious’ wrath of the regime because they were Muslims until the new faith was create in the 19th century. The mullahs consider them apostates, and Muslim clergy, be they Shi’a or Sunni or Salafi or Tea Party, hate apostates. Come to think of it, all clergy from all faiths dislike apostates, or at least frown upon them.