Sunday, August 28, 2016

News / From Our Bureaus

Baha'i Houses Demolished In Iran

WATCH: YouTube video of the Baha'i homes being attacked in Ivel.

Some 50 houses owned by members of Iran's Baha'i religious minority have been demolished in a village northeast of Tehran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The incident took place on June 26 in Ivel, not far from the city of Sari in Mazandaran Province.

Radio Farda spoke on June 27 to Baha'i Natoly Derakhshan, who witnessed the destruction of the homes. He told the station that the houses were first set on fire and later demolished by four bulldozers.

"We informed the governor's office that they were destroying our houses, but they did nothing to prevent it," Derakhshan said.

The incident is not the first time that homes of Baha'is have been demolished in Iran. Baha'i cemeteries have also been razed, most recently in a May 29 incident in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

Derakhshan said Baha'is had not been living full-time in the homes that were destroyed. They were forced out of the houses in Ivel in 1983.

"The Baha'is were then told that they had to convert to Islam," Derakhshan told Radio Farda. "They were beaten with spades and pick axes and kicked out of their homes."

Since then, according to Derakhshan, Baha'is have had to obtain annual authorization from the Justice Department to go to their houses in the village during harvest time.

"The [provincial] governor's deputy told us 'a governor is like a doctor to a society.' If he thinks there is a tumor harmful to society, he should remove it," Derakhshan said. "Are Baha'i farmers the harmful tumors to Iranian society?"

The Baha'i faith began in Iran in the 19th century, and currently has an estimated 5 million followers worldwide.

While Baha'is regard their faith as within the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, Iran's Shi'ite government regards Baha'ism as Islamic heresy.

There are some 300,000 Baha'is living in Iran, a community that human rights groups say has faced serious repression under the Islamic republic.
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Comment Sorting
by: Ryan from: USA
June 29, 2010 23:29
As an American Baha'i this makes me very sad. I hope that people around the world are willing to speak out against such acts. I know that there are Baha'i represenatives that have spoke up but we need all people to help us. The Baha'is of Iran are not harming the society but actually would be helping it if that could be seen by the government. Please Pray for us no matter your religious backward and if you are not religious please think hopefull thoughts for all of us Baha'i and nonBaha'i alike.

by: I am a Bahai too from: Canada
July 01, 2010 16:27
Islamic Regime must stop persecuting innocent people and Haifan Bahais must stop persecuting bahais of other denomination otherwise there will be no difference between the Iranian Islamic Regime and Haifan version of Bahai Faith. Please stop persecution.

by: Kate from: Ohio, USA
July 01, 2010 18:52
My mother was Baha'i and knowing Baha'i men and women is a huge part of the reason I have a positive impression of Islam overall. Baha'i is a beautiful, loving faith (as is "mainstream" Islam based on what I've read of the Koran) and it saddens me to think of them being persecuted based on misguided fanaticism. I believe it was Napoleon Bonaparte who said "Religious fanaticism is the most dangerous form of insanity."

The Baha'i of Iran are in my prayers along with all the other men and women there suffering under a theocracy that twists Islam almost beyond recognition.

by: I am a Baha'i too from: Canada
July 02, 2010 13:28
Recent court victory by the Orthodox Baha'is, and the suit brought by the Haifan Baha'i organization against them:

Please stop persecution.

by: chatoree from: USA
July 04, 2010 15:46
While no country or religion is guilt free, in this day and age, the razing of homes of those whose beliefs are simply different from your own..people who are absolutely no threat to intolerable. Hitler had the same idea some time ago.
But, of course, that is not the true Islam. They are all about peace right? Beating people with shovels till they become Muslim...not the best recruiting method.