Archive for September, 2008

Anti-Baha’i petition initiated at Friday prayers.

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

A new wave of persecutions against the Baha’I community is sweepig across Iran. The petition which started on the 19th September at a Friday prayer gathering in Tehran, invites people to sign up in support of the dissolution or Ban of the Baha’I administration in Iran.

This is translation from the text of the petition:

Baha’ism is an organized sect, with its leadership residing under the protective shade of the militantly aggressive occupier of Jerusalem [i.e. Israel], and has established its foundation by spreading lies against Islam and Iran, and by openly and fearlessly advancing the political, cultural and economic aims of global Zionism. This Zionist-Baha’i organization not only has targeted Islam for its cowardly attacks, but is negligent of humanity and its principle needs.

We, the undersigned, in carrying out our Islamic and human duty, request the country’s esteemed Attorney General to confront all elements of this organization and dissolve its administration.

Ironically there hasn’t been a functioning Baha’i administration in Iran since 1983 when the government banned all of its institutions. This latest ploy, however, is ever more alarming as it attempts to create the illusion that this petition is a reflection of the will of the people, and the government is simply acting upon that.
Propaganda is a powerful tool which unfortunately many fall under the spell of. Lets hope that for every person who falls under its spell there are countless others who can intelligently and courageously rise above it.

Signing anti-Baha\'i petition
anti-Baha\'i petition

Nine Azerbaijani Activists held in solitary confinement.

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Amnesty International has sent out an urgent appeal for the release of Nine Azerbaijani activists that have been held incommunicado since the 10th September.
Intelligence officials broke in to the house of Sayyad Mohammadian during a gathering to break the Ramadan Fast, and arrested 18 people among them women and children. Nine were later released and those remaining have been placed in solitary confinement. Amnesty believes that they have been arrested without a warrant and solely on the grounds of  peaceful efforts to preserve the traditions of a rich heritage and culture. They have been named prisoners of conscience in their struggle to maintain their rightful freedom of expression.
Please click on this link for Amnestie’s RECOMMENDED ACTION.

Freedom for all

Friday, September 12th, 2008

The Bahais and higher education in Iran
by Ahmad Batebi

Ahmad Batebi (b. 1977) came to international notice through his appearance on the 17 July, 1999, cover of The Economist magazine, holding up a shirt splattered with the blood of a fellow protester. This photo, which has been called “an icon for Iran’s student reform movement”, was taken during the Iranian student protests of July 1999 in Tehran. Following its publication, Batebi was arrested, tried in closed-door proceedings, found guilty of “creating street unrest”, and sentenced to death. After seven years of torture and imprisonment, he managed to escape, and it is believed that he now lives in the United States. Mr. Batebi is not associated with the Bahai community.(1) The following essay was first published on Tuesday, 2 September 2008, in Persian in RoozOnline. All footnotes were contributed by the translator. — Ahang Rabbani.

From the first hours of 27 July 2008, the results of the nationwide university entrance examination(2) were available on the official website of the National Organization for Educational Assessment.(3)

However, after entering their personal data on the registration website, most of the Bahai applicants were confronted with the strange system response, “incomplete file”. At present there are no exact statistics on how many Bahai applicants have been rejected on the base of “incomplete file”; in light of the imprisonment of the leaders of the Bahai community in Iran, perhaps such statistics will never become available through official means.
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Women: the new enemy in Ahmadinejads triangle of threats.

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Jews, the US, and now women. The new enemy completes the trio, which according to the late Ayatolla Khomeini, are the three major threats to his vision of Islam. A vision Ahmadinejad and his regime seem determined to fulfill. As he regards to have the Jews and the US under his belt, his mission to subdue and obstruct the  advancement of women has been building momentum and culminating in his latest attempts to “re-Islamicize” women with a new law which would not only encourage polygamy, but  would “restore men’s Islamic right to divorce their wives without even informing them”.

Many activist fighting against this law have been arrested, amongst them Pari Ardalan, Nahid Keshavarz, Maryam Hussein Khah and Zhaleh Javaheri, who recently received six month prison sentences, others have gone missing. As this new wave of persecutions against women takes on a fresh intensity, so must our efforts in raising awareness and speaking up in support of all these women be stepped up.

Haydeh Karimi, a feminist from Tehran predicted the depressing outcome for women across Iran if Ahmadinejad gets his way; “The proposed law is the thin end of a wedge. Ahmadinejad wants women out of universities and public life. He thinks he can curb mass unemployment by forcing women out of work, giving their jobs to men.”.

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Six month sentences for Cyber Activists

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Four women activists, including award winning Parvin Ardalan, have been given six month sentences by a court in Tehran. Their crime was publishing articles online, directly challenging the discriminatory laws against women across Iran.

After their magazines were censored the four women were forced to publish their articles online, only to face further recriminations. They found themselves charged with “publishing information against the Government”, under article 500 of the Islamic criminal code.

This situation reflects an ever worsening human rights crisis in Iran. Nobel Laureate Lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, who is representing the women, voiced her concerns over the recent arrests stating “If parliament ratifies the new law increasing sentences for crimes against society’s moral security, bloggers could get prison sentences.”

Once again Iran is extending its suffocating arm, threatening to strangle any freedom of thought, even in cyberspace.

Parvin Ardalan
Parvin Ardalan

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Activists jailed for their fight against polygamy

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Four womens rights activists have been arrested and jailed in Iran after a successful pressure campaign to deter a bill in favour of polygamy being passed in parliament. The bill which was put forward by president Ahmadinejad’s government would have allowed women to marry more than one wife without the consent of the first. Among those arrested was Parvin Ardalan, an activist who had been denied the right to travel to Sweden earlier this year to receive the prestigious Olof Palme prize for her efforts. The campaign was a rare success story led by these courageous women, who were also amongst the leading lights in the One Million Signature Campaign which appeals to Iranians to sign pledges in support of equal rights for women.

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