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Free the Innocent Baha’is

Yasmin Ballew | Feb 10, 2015

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Yasmin Ballew | Feb 10, 2015

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

…throughout all ages and centuries the righteous have been made a target to the darts of adversity and have fallen victim to the swords of oppression…Not for a moment did they enjoy rest and comfort… Rather did they endure agonizing torment and patiently carry the burden of hardship that every oppressor was wont to impose upon them… – Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World, Volume 18, p. 25.

Many innocent people suffer in this world, and the worst form of suffering happens when you’re a blameless victim.

Imagine actually trying to do something good and wholesome, but being made to suffer as a result. Now imagine having your home and everything in it confiscated, then being taken away as a prisoner. If your own government carried out that action, how would you react?

That is exactly what has happened, and continues to happen, to a group of innocent people in Iran. The Iranian government persecutes Baha’is for their religious beliefs, despite the fact that this is a huge injustice—the Baha’is have not done anything to warrant the unbelievably cruel treatment they receive.

I feel that everyone should be allowed to voice their opinions no matter what they are. Baha’is obey the peaceful teachings of their founder Baha’u’llah, who taught principles such as the equality of men and women, the oneness of religion and the oneness of humanity; because Baha’is obey these teachings they are being persecuted. This is disgraceful; every government in the world should allow all religions to co-exist. How can government expect its people to respect it, if it doesn’t care about what is important and sacred to its citizens?

Mona Mahmudnizhad

Mona Mahmudnizhad

Any government’s job is to do what is right and keep order–yet Iran is imprisoning people who have done nothing to harm anyone. These prisoners’ only sin: they are Baha’is, and as such the government prohibits them from making a reasonable income, stops their children from receiving an education and forbids them from even gathering with other Baha’is. There are many such cases that make me sick to my stomach–especially the story of Mona, a seventeen year old Baha’i who the Iranian government hanged along with nine other women, simply for teaching children virtues like kindness to all in Sunday school. This is hostile and heartbreaking; how can a government be so despicable?

All people deserve humane treatment, and yet the Baha’is are brutally tortured and harassed. In many cases, imprisoned Baha’is in Iran get much worse treatment than imprisoned murderers here in America. I know of at least seven Baha’is who are in prison right now, although more than a hundred have been jailed for their beliefs. The story of how one of these prisoners, a woman who saved a shred of carrot from her meal to grow a small plant as a gift for her daughter’s birthday, made me cry. These prisoners are confined, beaten, starved; they are treated with unspeakable evil; and yet they stay steadfast and loving.

The Baha’i Faith, a relatively new religion, began in the 19th century. From its beginning the founder, Baha’u’llah and his followers suffered brutal torture and imprisonment. Nevertheless, Baha’is have remained devoted to the progressive ideals of unity. Their courage in the face of persecution has been an inspiration to millions of people outside of Iran.

I know in my heart that these persecutions are wrong and must end. No one should be treated with such evil. By spreading this information, I hope to make a change for the imprisoned Baha’is–and for everyone suffering injustice around the world.

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Comments

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  • Feb 11, 2015
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    Wow!!! Beautifully written!!! Absolutely heartbreaking!!!! Thank you Yasmin for sharing this with the world! !!
  • Feb 10, 2015
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    Let's all do what we can to help bring justice to the world. We are proud of you, Yasmin, for doing your part so beautifully!
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