"Whether you believe in the Baha’i faith or not, you have to respect this faith as a religion"

Selmar Kassir schreibt auf Lebanon NOW über die schwerwiegenden und systematischen Menschenrechtsverletzungen an den Bahá’í im Iran. Lebanon NOW ist die Internetpräsenz des New Opinion Workshop, einer überparteilichen und unabhängigen Organisation, die seit 2005 Demokratie und Menschenrechte im Libanon zu fördern sucht.

According to Professor Touraj Atabaki, head of the Department of the Middle East and Central Asia at the International Institute of Social History in the Netherlands, Iran’s “mass campaign orchestrated against the Baha’is,” while outwardly targeting this specific community, indirectly addresses other religious communities in the country. In Iran’s attempt to promote “homogenous Shiism,” the Baha’is are scapegoats, he said.
“The main problem the Iranian government is facing is to have a clear legal definition of who is Iranian, the definition of citizenship.” As long as religion remains the defining criterion of citizenship, Atabaki said, Baha’is are likely to remain the weakest among the victims of this policy.
Even before issuing a statement of support on Ebadi’s request, Ayatollah Montazeri, in an unprecedented move, issued a fatwa in May 2008 saying that even though Baha’is are “unbelievers,” they are entitled to the right of citizenship.
For Khalaji [Mehdi Khalaji, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy] the question goes beyond citizenship rights. “We need the whole society to take the responsibility for what’s happening to the Baha’is. We need lots of work for introducing the Baha’i faith to Iranians… and make society understand that whether you believe in the Baha’i faith or not, you have to respect this faith as a religion.”

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