Archive for July, 2008

Fashion as latest tool of suppression

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Fashion says a lot about an individual, whether they are dedicated followers or not. Most of us take that choice for granted. In Iran Fashion provides the state for another excuse to control basic rights for women. On the streets the fashion police are never far away and arrests are common place for women who have not adhered to the goverments strict dress code.

So what would a (government approved) fashion show in Iran look like. Is it a well of creativity and inspiration? Is it a platform for expression and individuality? Well the ministry for culture and Islamic orientation seem to believe so: stating that it “frees Iranian women of the shackles of western fashion industry”, reflecting what women “actually want to wear”. Have they missed the irony?

See for yourself…



Family Home burnt to the ground in Kerman.

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

In the early hours of Friday July 18th the home of the Shakir Family, who are members of the Bahai’ community in Kerman, was burnt down in a suspected arson attack. Fortunately the family were away during the attack. Everything from furniture to possessions perished in the fire.

This family, like many in the Bahai community, are no strangers to harassment. In a recent event prior to that, whilst at a Bahai gathering, their friends noticed that the Shakirs car was set alight and tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher. They had also been on the receiving end of many threatening phone calls quite a while.

Read the article in full.

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Comedy for Human Rights

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

The Muslim network of Bahai Rights have created a comic strip to raise awareness
of the shocking plight facing the Baha’i youth of Iran (and Egypt). At present these youth face a very powerful form of persecution, where their fundamental right to an education is denied.

This is no less than suffocation, to cut off such a lifeline is to deny these individuals the right to knowledge and growth, the right to fulfil their potential as individuals, and in turn contribute to the world they live in. The Muslim network of Baha’i rights were so outraged by this latest addition in a long line of persecutions heaped upon this peace-loving community, that they were inspired to create this comic. It is simple, witty and poignant.

Read the article in full.

Imprisoned for being a Baha’i, Kamran Aghdasi, begins his sentence.

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

On the 31 January the home of Kamran Aqdasi and his mother was raided by the security
authorities in the city of Hamadan, Iran. All their Baha’i literature was confiscated and Kamran himself was arrested. Why? Was he a criminal? Well actually he was just a Baha’i and in Iran that is considered criminal. He was detained for eight days and then released pending his trial. Unfortunately on the 3rd of April he was sentenced to a year in prison. After losing an appeal to the higher court, he persevered, and, appealed again, this time to Irans supreme court. Strangely his files were put on a back-log for a minimum of six months. He began serving his sentence on the 19 June 2008.

Although this is one of countless stories of human rights abuses towards minorities in Iran, each one is the violation of a unique individuals life and the numbers can in no part, dilute the pain and suffering endured by them and their families.

Read the article in full

Six Nobel Peace Laureates issue statement for the unconditional release of Baha’i prisoners in Iran.

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Mounting concern over the arrests of seven prominent members of the
Iranian Baha’i community has inspired six Nobel Laureates to issue a statement
of concern to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Amongst the six
courageous voices, were Betty Williams and Maired Corrigan Maguire, founders
of the Peace People in Northern Ireland and winners of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.
Their statement was issued under the banner of the Nobel Women’s Initiative,
which was established by the six women in 2006.

Read the article in full.

Iran’s continues its relentless witch-hunt against its largest non-muslim religious minority.

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Bahar Tahzib writes a moving and thought provoking article for The Guardian on the continued violation of the human rights of the Bahai community in her native Iran. This is one of many passionate responses to the recent arrests of seven members of its informal leadership committee in May this year. There has been no news of them since.

Bahar whose own father, Yusuf Subhani, was executed in June 1980, highlights the unshakable integrity of the Baha’i community as they persevere, through decades of violent and unyielding persecution, to use peaceful and diplomatic means to call attention to their plight. “ Their steadfastness in the face of oppression, and the evidence of their goodwill towards their countrymen is gaining increasing recognition amongst ever greater numbers of Iranians at home and abroad. Muslim campaigners are openly calling for the Iranian government to respect the human rights of its Baha’i population.”

Read the article in full.

Human Rights activist Roya Kashefi addresses the Twelth Annual Womens conference for Peace in the Middle East.

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

On Wednesday the 18th June Roya Kashefi shared her vision of change for the future of women in Iran. Dedicating her presentation to Hana Abdi and Ronak Safarzadeh, who were arrested and detained for their meritorious efforts in educating Kurdish women, Kashefi shed light on the impact of present laws, within the Constitution of The Islamic Republic of Iran, upon the freedom and equality of the women living there.

Iran is increasingly standing out in its determination to hinder the progress of equal opportunities for women not least demonstrated in its continuous rejection of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women)
Roya Kashefi gives some very powerful examples of discriminatory law, from education and employment,to compensation and marriage, practiced in Iran with some shocking statistics. For example, even though efforts of activists brought about an increase in the legal age of marriage for girls up to 13 years, statistics for 2006 state that 4,741 widowed and divorced girls were between the ages of 10-14. Despite the new law, a judges permission can make it possible for a girl to be married at nine.
As well as highlighting the present set backs she presents her dream of equality through
intelligent offerings of how this change can effectively be realised.

Read the article in full