The Political Fray - Political Forum
Go Back   Political Fray > The Political Fray > Religion

Religion For discussion about different religions and belief structures - Please be respectful of other's beliefs


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old September 1st, 2010, 05:10 AM   #1
Intern
 
RonPrice's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2009
From: George Town Tasmania Australia
Posts: 16

The Washington Post 28/8/'10: On The 20 Year Jail Sentence of Baha'is

The following article appeared in The Washington Post under the headline below in last Saturday's edition, 28 August 2010.

In Iran: Shackling The Bahai Torchbearers by Roxana Saberi
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For several weeks last year, I shared a cell in Tehran's notorious Evin prison with Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi, two leaders of Iran's minority Bahai faith. I came to see them as my sisters, women whose only crimes were to peacefully practice their religion and resist pressure from their captors to compromise their principles. For this, apparently, they and five male colleagues were sentenced this month to 20 years in prison.

I had heard about Mahvash and Fariba before I met them. Other prisoners spoke of the two middle-aged mothers whose high spirits lifted the morale of fellow inmates. The Bahai faith, thought to be the largest non-Muslim minority religion in Iran, originated in 19th-century Persia. It is based on the belief that the world will one day attain peace and unity. Iranian authorities consider it a heretical offshoot of Islam.

After I was transferred to their cell, I learned that Mahvash had been incarcerated for one year and Fariba for eight months. Each had spent half her detention in solitary confinement, during which time they were allowed almost no contact with their families and only the Koran to read. Recently the two had been permitted to have a pen. Oh, how they cherished it! But they were allowed to use it only to do Sudoku and crossword puzzles in the conservative newspapers the prison guards occasionally gave them.

Mahvash, Fariba and their five colleagues faced accusations that included spying for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and, later, "spreading corruption on earth." All three could have resulted in the death penalty. The Bahais denied these charges. Far from posing a threat to the Islamic regime, Mahvash and Fariba told me, Iran's estimated 300,000 Bahais are non-violent and politically impartial.

Despite the gravity of the accusations against them, Mahvash and Fariba had not once been allowed to see attorneys. Yet my cellmates' spirits would not be broken, and they boosted mine. They taught me to, as they put it, turn challenges into opportunities -- to make the most of difficult situations and to grow from adversity. We kept a daily routine, reading the books we were eventually allowed and discussing them; exercising in our small cell; and praying -- they in their way, I in mine. They asked me to teach them English and were eager to learn vocabulary for shopping, cooking and travelling. They would use the new words one day, they told me, when they journeyed abroad. But the two women also said they never wanted to live overseas. They felt it their duty to serve not only Bahais but all Iranians.

Later, when I went on a hunger strike, Mahvash and Fariba washed my clothes by hand after I lost my energy and told me stories to keep my mind off my stomach. Their kindness and love gave me sustenance. It pained me to leave them behind when I was freed in May 2009. I later heard that Mahvash, Fariba and their colleagues refused to make false confessions, as many political prisoners in Iran are pressured to do.

It was January when the Bahais' trial began. This month, the same Iranian judge who had sentenced me to eight years in prison on a false charge of spying for the United States sentenced the Bahais to 20 years. The charges they were convicted of have not yet been reported.

Human rights advocates have said the trial was riddled with irregularities. The defendants were eventually allowed to see attorneys but only briefly. The lawyers were given only a few hours to examine the thousands of pages in the prosecution's files. Early in the trial, state-run TV crews were present at what were supposed to be closed hearings. After the Bahais' attorneys objected, family members were allowed to attend the hearings, but foreign diplomats were barred, and the only journalists permitted were with state-run media. It appears that no evidence was presented against the defendants.

As their lawyers appeal, Mahvash and Fariba sit in Rajai Shahr prison outside Tehran. Even Evin prison, cellmates told me last year, is preferable to Rajai Shahr. The facility is known for torture, unsanitary conditions and inadequate medical care for inmates, who include murderers, drug addicts and thieves.

While Iranian authorities deny that the regime discriminates against citizens for religious beliefs, the Bahai faith is not recognized under the Iranian constitution. The known persecution of many Bahais includes being fired from jobs and denied access to higher education, as well as cemetery desecration. The Bahais created their own unofficial university, which Mahvash used to direct; Fariba earned a degree in psychology there. In addition to the seven leaders, 44 other Bahais are in prisons in Iran, the Baha'i International Community reports.

People of many nations and faiths have called for the release of the Bahai leaders. But many more must speak out -- such as by signing letters of support through Web sites such as United4Iran.com. Protests of these harsh sentences can make clear to authorities in Iran and elsewhere that they will be held accountable when they trample on human rights. Mahvash and Fariba occasionally hear news of this support, and it gives them strength to carry on, just as the international outcry against my imprisonment empowered me.

I know that despite what they have been through and what lies ahead, these women feel no hatred in their hearts. When I struggled not to despise my interrogators and the judge, Mahvash and Fariba told me they do not hate anyone, not even their captors. We believe in love and compassion for humanity, they said, even for those who wrong us.
----------------------------------
Roxana Saberi, a journalist detained in Iran last year, is the author of "Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran."
-----------------------------------------
The fundamental principle enunciated by Baha?u?llah ? is that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the nonessential aspects of their doctrines, and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society?--Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. (1100 words)
--Posted by Ron Price of George Town Tasmania Australia. Mr Price is a writer and editor, poet and publisher, journalist and independent scholar.
RonPrice is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 10:01 AM   #2
Senator
 
obtuseobserver's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 862

that font makes your post unreadable
obtuseobserver is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 01:13 PM   #3
Vice President
 
David's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
From: Opa Locka
Posts: 5,844

Quote:
Originally Posted by obtuseobserver View Post
that font makes your post unreadable
It's the same front your using...
David is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 01:38 PM   #4
Senator
 
obtuseobserver's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 862

don't be a pain

you know I meant the size of the font
obtuseobserver is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 01:44 PM   #5
Vice President
 
David's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
From: Opa Locka
Posts: 5,844

Quote:
Originally Posted by obtuseobserver View Post
don't be a pain

you know I meant the size of the font
The size is the same too... At least for me. Maybe something's wrong on your end?
David is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 02:05 PM   #6
Senator
 
obtuseobserver's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 862

huh...

the size of your font is the same as mine... both of which are larger than the tiny fnt size in OP

go figure...
obtuseobserver is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 02:29 PM   #7
Vice President
 
David's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
From: Opa Locka
Posts: 5,844

Quote:
Originally Posted by obtuseobserver View Post
huh...

the size of your font is the same as mine... both of which are larger than the tiny fnt size in OP

go figure...
Weird... Did you mess with your settings?
David is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 03:29 PM   #8
Senator
 
obtuseobserver's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 862

no

nobody else's posts look goofy - excepting ignoramus - his show up with variable fonts and variable sizea

not something I'm gonna waste any time on - still - goofy
obtuseobserver is offline  
Old September 1st, 2010, 03:35 PM   #9
Vice President
 
David's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
From: Opa Locka
Posts: 5,844

Quote:
Originally Posted by obtuseobserver View Post
no

nobody else's posts look goofy - excepting ignoramus - his show up with variable fonts and variable sizea

not something I'm gonna waste any time on - still - goofy
Ya, his posts are like that. The OP is fine for me, however.
David is offline  
Reply

  Political Fray > The Political Fray > Religion

Tags
28 or 8 or 10 , bahais , human , jail , post , rights , sentence , washington , washington-post baha'i , year



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
US sentence for arms dealer Bout 'political' - Russia DodgeFB Current Events 2 April 6th, 2012 01:28 PM
Even the Washington Post says Obama fibbed during his Kansas speech CatholicCrusader Government and Politics 3 December 8th, 2011 12:33 AM
Australian Baha?i Family Members Anxiously Waiting RonPrice Current Events 5 June 15th, 2010 10:59 PM


Facebook Twitter RSS Feed



Copyright © 2009-2013 Political Fray. All rights reserved.