Baháʼís should be harassed in schools and bazaars, excluded from universities, and regarded as “enemies.”
by Daniela Bovolenta
Last week, the International Federation for Human Rights published a leaked document that includes the minutes of a meeting held on 21 September 2020 in the Iranian city of Sari, Mazandaran Province, attended by representatives of the main security agencies in Iran and other governmental bodies.
In addition to Sufi groups, the meeting discussed how “to control the misguided movements of the subversive Baháʼí sect.” Baháʼís are severely persecuted in Iran. They are routinely incarcerated, and some 200 have been killed since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. In January this year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom warned that the situation of the Baháʼís in Iran is getting even worse.
According to the leaked document, “the intelligence, security and law enforcement community should conduct strict controls at the county level by monitoring their [Baháʼí] operations, the type of services provided to the networks and websites of enemies, private and public meetings, and their other activities.”
Departments of Education “shall increase the level of alertness and awareness among school principals and educators on their handling of Baháʼí students to win them to Islam. Furthermore, efforts shall be made to identify Baháʼí students.”
The document also calls to ban Baháʼí s from “education at the university level.” “Universities shall anticipate the opportunities, undertake the necessary surveillance, and take the necessary measures.”
Finally, “the Department of Industry, Mines and Commerce shall take the necessary controls over the activities of the Baháʼís in the Bazaar area in coordination with the intelligence police.”
These measures clearly aim at making life impossible for the Baháʼís in Iran unless they “convert to Islam,” a task coordinated by the State itself.
When we consider violations of religious liberty throughout the world, China, Russia, and North Korea immediately come to mind. The situation of the Baháʼís is a constant reminder that Iran should be included among the worst violators of religious liberty as well.