This year has seen redoubled efforts in Iran at terrorizing the Baha’i out of existence. In January, a wave of firebombings was accompanied by warnings not to propagate the Baha’i faith (even on the Internet), or hire or make friends with Muslims. The regime could perhaps claim plausible deniability for that campaign, but is now openly rounding up Baha’i educators. “For Baha’i educators, a lesson in power from Iran,” by Mitra Mobasherat and Joe Sterling for CNN, May 31:
(CNN) — The three Iranian security officers rang the doorbell, politely informed the man of his arrest, thoroughly searched the house, confiscated high-tech gear and books, and whisked him away to the nation’s notorious Evin Prison.
The early Sunday morning raid took three hours. Now, every second seems like an eternity for the man’s anguished family members, praying for his physical safety, hoping for his release, and getting their heads around the prospect of a long stint in prison, his relatives told CNN.
His family says the reason for his arrest is his religion.
The man is one of 16 Baha’is swept away in raids on or after May 21 targeting educators dedicated to teaching members of their community who are denied entry to universities in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Of those 16, nine have since been released. But this educator remains in prison, a Baha’i official told CNN.
The crackdown is the latest example of the Shiite Muslim regime’s relentless persecution of those who adhere to a faith deemed heretical by the ruling ayatollahs.
The Baha’i faith, founded during the 19th century in Iran and now with 5 million to 6 million adherents worldwide, is a monotheistic religion that focuses on the spiritual unity of humanity.
The clerics who hold sway in Iran regard the Baha’i faith as blasphemous because its founder, BahÃ¡’u’llÃ¡h, declared himself to be a prophet of God. Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed was the last prophet of God.
Iranian security officials in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan and Shiraz raided as many as 30 homes of Baha’is who were part of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, or BIHE, established in 1987 to help their co-religionists get undergraduate and graduate degrees. More than a dozen people were arrested in the raids, the most sweeping against the education initiative since 1998.
“The BIHE university was a cover for the propagation of the Baha’i faith and was used to trap citizens in the Baha’i spy network and to gather information from within the county,” the Iran Daily, an official government newspaper reported.
The fact that the Baha’i world headquarters is in Haifa, though it had been there decades before the founding of the modern state of Israel, constitutes enough of an excuse for Iran to brand them as spies for Israel and America.
“Authorities have discovered Baha’i propaganda, CDs and books in the possession of those who have been arrested,” according to the newspaper….