By Marcus Dysch , August 17, 2011
Iran's detention of 11 Baha'i academics has been condemned by the Board of Deputies and Union of Jewish Students. British Jews have repeatedly raised concerns about the treatment of Iran's Baha'i community. More than 100 are being held in Iranian prisons, including seven of the community's most senior leaders, some having been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Those detained worked for the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), which had been established to meet the educational needs of young Baha'is denied access to Iran's higher education system.
In a joint statement calling for the academics' immediate release, the Board and UJS said the detention was "totally unacceptable and a violation of Article 27 of the UDHR, which guarantees all citizens the right to freely 'participate in the cultural life of the community'.”Only through fostering a culture of mutual respect can Iran progress to a legal and political situation worthy of all its citizens. We believe that all people, and all Iranians, should be given equal access to higher education on the basis of merit, and not de-barred because of their religious beliefs." Iran has repeatedly repressed its Baha'i community and has for more than 30 years barred Baha'i academics from working in universities.
Dear Jewish Brothers and Sisters (Board of Deputies and Union of Jewish Students),
We are indeed very thankful to you for taking up our cause and calling for the immediate release of the Academics in Iran. We acknowledge that this is not just your first support but since the emergence of the Baha’i Faith our Jew brothers and sisters are on forefront for help and support. Since the Establishment of our beloved holy Land the State of Israel. The government has left no stone unturned to help and support us.
We also take this opportunity to convey to you that please bring your generous pressure on the Israeli Government, because we Baha’is are not permitted to Propagate Baha’i Faith in Israel. This prevention of Teaching and propagation of Baha’i Faith in Israel is totally unaccepted and it is clear violation of Religious Freedom. We also believe that the State of Israel should give same opportunity of teaching and propagation of Baha’i beliefs as it has been granted to the followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Since the Establishment of State of Israel in 1948 the prevention and prohibition is only for the Baha’is. Although we are very sure that the State of Israel takes all the care for the Baha’is, not only in Israel but through out the world. In fact the Israeli ambassadors in every country takes a deep interest in well being of Baha’is of that country taking utmost care to see that no law is made to prevent the Baha’is from teaching the Baha’i Faith in that country. So then the natural question arises is why the Baha’is are not allowed to teach in Israel?
In 2009 the beloved Universal House of Justice gave a Message in which they exhorted the Baha’is to “Go and teach the Iranians, and face whatever consequences are there”. Although the law of obeying the government is still not abrogated in Baha’i Faith.
There is a very strange contradiction here! The Iranian Government is deadliest Enemy of Baha’i Faith, yet the House says go and teach the Iranians and become Martyrs, whereas The State of Israel is so friendly with Baha’is - extending all the facilities and hospitality to Baha’is - yet we are not supposed to teach the Israelis.
Please campaign for removal of this discrimination. We would be greatly obliged and forever pray for your well-being.