Baha’is in Iran

Persecution is the wrong word

The situation of Baha’is in Iran is sad, but in this article I want to explain why persecution is the wrong word intentionally used because of political motivation.

In no way I intend to deny that in Iran human rights violations are all over the place.
Persecution however happens in Iran for individuals, this is no matter which religion the individual has, it is actually about if the person is acting against the government. Even publicly criticizing the government, or massing up people who in some way publicly show that they are against the government can lead to the persecution of a single person or that group, regardless what religion these people have.

In the case of Iran there is often talk about Baha’is being persecuted in Iran, but persecution is a word that is used when a person is hunted down, jailed, killed … None of these happens to the group of Baha’is in Iran. The more correct terms are that they are disadvantaged or even second class citizens.
This is still very bad but it is a huge difference to persecution.
Now what happens actually to Baha’is in Iran? They are barred from higher (University) education, and they are not allowed to seek every kind of work. They cannot enter politics, the military and other positions that give you power above others. This is clearly restricting their rights, but is far from persecution.
Comparing Baha’is to other second class citizens in the middle east, it might make you wondering why those groups are not called out as persecuted.

Think about Kurds in Turkey:
The Turkish government and military has actively attacked Kurdish villages. They have killed hundreds of Kurds in a few months, flattend complete villages. Why again is this not called out as persecution? Hint: Turkey is a NATO member.

Think about Bedoon in Kuwait:
They are one third of the Kuwaiti population, and have no citizenship, no rights: long version here at Human Rights Watch: Hint: Kuwait is a partner and big arms importer

Think about Shia in Bahrain:
They are 70% of the population, are not allowed to enter parts of the country. Their religious sites get bulldozed away because they were not built with the right permissions, even if they were built 900 years before there was a state called Bahrain. Hint: Bahrain is a partner and the host of the United States Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf

Think about Palestinians in Israel: They do not have a state. Their own territory (West Bank) nerved by routes and streets that only Israelis are allowed to use. The palestinians and Israelis have different plates on their cars so if they drive on Israeli streets, they get pulled over by the Israeli military, interrogated fined and even jailed. Even inside the West Bank they cannot move from one Palestinian village to the next where they need to reach a hospital, school, university without every day going two times through Israeli checkpoints, where it can take 30 minutes or 3 hours or you are even sent back without a reason. All this not at the border to Israel but in their own territory.
You don’t believe me watch this presentation by a Jewish American lady who describes in clear words how life looks for Palestinians.
The video is just factual and explanatory, Just watch the first 10 minutes:

Now, compare the state of the Bahai’s in Iran with that of all the groups mentioned, and think about who’s state is worse.
Labeling the state of the Bahai’s as persecuted minority in Iran while not doing the same with all the groups mentioned above is just applying double standards because of political reasons or preferences.

Not looking at the Middle East, even an almost perfect state like Germany has problems:
In this case the problems are not rooted in the state or in the law, but rather in the society. Comparing now the society, the society in Iran in its generallity has no problems with Baha’is, hence even Amnesty or HRW cannot list attacks as they can list for a perfect state like Germany, and for example as they list for Christians that are attacked in Egypt, or Rohingya in Myanmar (reigned by Nobel Peace Prize winner: Aung San Suu Kyi but scene of killings, rape and torture of minority Rohingya. Here is the Human Rights Watch report: .

If you read in contrast the reports of Amnesty and HRW on Iran you will find, that there is a lot about Human Rights violations, injustice, … but it is not about a single minority but against anyone who opposes the Regime.

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