Home | English | Publications | Reports | A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

Employees in the education sector were also significantly affected. In June 1979, Muhammad Ali Raja’i, the Minister of Education, issued a memo referring to decree no. 14974/2 which ordered the expulsion of all Bahá’í teachers from the nation’s schools. The memo explained that “the Ministry of Education... will not allow, like the previous regime, the followers of the Bahá’í sect to stay in its educational unit, and through this channel, defile and lead astray the pure minds and thoughts of the innocent students,” and that “dismissal according to the existing law is a minimum punishment.”308 The ramifications of this memo extended across the Islamic Republic of Iran. For example, in Fars, a local “Purge Committee” under the Department of Education dismissed 44 Bahá’í teachers.309 In June 1980, an order was circulated by the superintendent of Sabzevar requiring the Sabzevar Ministry of Education to halt payment of all Bahá’í employees and send their names and last pay stubs to the Central Employment Office.310

As with the dismissal of Bahá’ís from other sectors, Bahá’í employees under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education were given the option of recanting their faith in order to maintain their position. This was the case for CG who was told that she could either “announce that you do not adhere to this sect in one of the widely published newspapers (Kayhan, Ettela'at, Jomhouri Eslami) and send the clipping to the [Ministry of Culture and Higher Education]” or seek to “obtain a testimony from one of the Marjas of Islam showing you do not adhere to the Bahá’í sect.”311

By 1987, over 11,000 Bahá’í government employees had lost their jobs as a result of the anti-Bahá’í legislation.312

The Denial of Education to Bahá’í Students

Bahá’í students were also targeted in the purge of the education system. In the post-revolutionary period, schools across Iran issued blanket statements prohibiting the enrollment of Bahá’í students, as was the case with Pishahang High School in July 1979; the school authorities distributed instructions to applying students which stated that “students must be followers of one of the official religions of the country (Muslim, Jewish, Christian or Zoroastrian).”313

Many Bahá’í students who wished to enroll for the 1981-1982 school year were required to complete an application form issued by the Ministry of Education which included questions such as whether the applicant or his family were Bahá’í, and if so, if he or she was willing to recant.314 Those who affirmed their Bahá’í faith were prohibited from admission. Bahá’í students already in school were often expelled in this period. Often they would receive individual letters notifying them of their expulsion which cited their faith as the reason for the decision, as was the case with CH who was expelled from his high school in the province of Kerman.315 CI received a similar letter of expulsion from the head of her high school in 1981 because she admitted to being a Bahá’í and had “refused to participate in demonstrations or political debates.”316

[308]Namiyyih Mohammad Ali Raja'i Sarparast-i Vizarat-i Amuzish va Parvarish Darbariyyih Hokm-i 14974/2-1-4-1358 [Letter from Muhammad Ali Raja’i, Guardian of the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran referring to Decree No. 14973/2], dated 1/4/1358 (June 22, 1979) (on file with IHRDC).
[309]Tavasut-i Kumisiun-i 5 nafariyyih Paksazi, 104 Farhangiyyih Fars Ikhraj va Baznishastih Shudand [As Directed by the Fivemember Purging Committee, 104 members of the Education Department of Fars have been Expelled and Put On Pension], KAYHAN, dated 9/4/1359 (June 30, 1980).
[310]Tiligiram bih Amuzish va Parvarish-i Sabzevar az Idarih-yih Amuzish va Parvarish-i Shahristan-i Sabzevar [Telegram regarding expulsion of employees at the Ministry of Education in Sabzevar to Sabzevar's Ministry of Education], dated June 1980 (on file with IHRDC).
[311]Namiyyih Vizarat-i Farhang va Amuzish-i Ali bih Khanum CG [Letter from the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education to CG] (September 20, 1980) (on file with the IHRDC).
[312]Fergus M. Bordewich, Holy terror: Moslem zealots wage a deadly war against Bahá’í heresies, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
Vol. 259, at 26(5), April 1987.

[313]Namih bih Awliyayih Danish Amuzan Az Dabiristan-i Pishahang [Instructions to the Parents from the Pishahang high school] (regarding the qualifications required of students, one of which was belief in one of the state religions, excluding Bahá’ís), dated 15/4/1358 (July 6, 1979) (on file with the IHRDC).
[314]Pursishnamih Idarih Kullih Amuzish va Parvarish bih Danish Amuzan-i Bahá’í [Questionnaire from the Ministry of Education for Bahá’í students] (1981) (on file with IHRDC).
[315]Namih az Sarparast-i Madrisih Rahnama'i bih Aqa-yeh CK Vali Danishamuz CH [Letter of expulsion from high school to CK father of CH], dated 1/9/1360 (November 22, 1981) (on file with IHRDC).
[316]Namih bih CI az Sarparast-i Dabiristan [Letter of expulsion from head of the High School to CI] (1981) (on file with the IHRDC).

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 »
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

Baha'i, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Illegal Search and Seizure, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Conscience