Islami Tolerance Alert from Iran.
By Paul Marshall in The Weekly Standard (thanks to all who sent this in):
The Iranian government is currently intensifying its persecution of its largest religious minority, the Baha’is. This reveals something of the government’s nature, and also sheds light on the hotly debated question: Does the regime remain a revolutionary one, or has it become instead a “normal country,” one that, despite its fervent rhetoric, aspires only to international acceptance and regional power?
The regime has always persecuted the Baha’is, of whom 300,000 (out of some 5 million worldwide) still live in Iran. The Baha’i religion was founded in Iran in the mid-1800s, and the regime demonizes its adherents as heretics or apostates from Islam, who therefore should have no legal status or protection and who should be eradicated. However, its program in the 1980s of murder and imprisonment drew too much international attention and condemnation. So the government decided to pursue a strategy of slow strangulation.
The current campaign has its specific roots in a confidential Iranian government document sent in 1991 to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by Muhammad Golpaygani, secretary of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council. Following Khamenei’s “recent directives,” and approved by then-President Rafsanjani, it outlined a plan gradually to choke the Baha’i community. They were not usually to be subject to further arrests or deportations from the country: Henceforth the government was to ensure that “their progress and development are blocked.” They could be enrolled in schools but only if they “have not identified themselves as Baha’is.” They were to be expelled from universities altogether. They could have jobs only on condition that they not “identify themselves as Baha’is,” and, if employed, must have only “a modest livelihood” and be denied “any position of influence.” Khamenei added a handwritten note to the directive expressing his approval, thus conferring on it the status of an official decree. (These and other documents have been made available by the Baha’i community–see news.bahai.org.)
Read it all.