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The seven day global campaign (14–21 May, 2015) called #7Bahais7years which set out to create awareness and a show of solidarity for the Baha’is being persecuted in Iran, has witnessed a wonderful show of support from the around the world.
The campaign focused on the seven former Baha’i leaders (also known collectively as ‘the Yaran’ which means ‘friends’ in Persian) who, because of their belief in the Baha’i Faith, were arrested and have now been in prison for seven years. The global campaign was based on the theme “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years for the Seven Baha’i Leaders”, and each of the seven days focused on a different member of the seven arrested Baha’i leaders, who’s names are: Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm.
During the campaign there were numerous news articles, TV reports, and most moving of all, was to see the large numbers of Baha’is and their friends from across the globe showing their support by holding prayer meetings and gatherings, and posting photos, videos and artwork on social media.
We thought it would be great to share some examples of this wonderful show of support below:
Supporters for the Freedom for Yaran and prisoners of Conscience gather in Zaragoza, Spain.
Baha’is and their friends gathered in prayer for the release of the Yaran in the Baha’i Centre of Portimão, Portugal.
Baha’is in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic remember the 7 Baha’i leaders in Iran.
Baha’i friends of cluster 1 in Mauritius gathered to remember the Yaran.
A devotional meeting in Reinach, Switzerland honouring the 7 Yaran.
Remembering the Yaran in Heelsum, The Netherlands.
An article about the Yaran and a plea for their release appeared in the Local Newspaper of Satara, (Aiyka) in India.
The Baha’i Society at the University of Pretoria in South Africa hosted a screening of ‘To Light A Candle’.
Showing support for the Yaran at a Baha’i 19 Day Feast in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Showing support for the Yaran in Auckland, New Zealand.
At the start of this campaign, religious leaders of Scotland express their joint concern and support for the Baha’i leaders and used this campaign to highlight the growing persecution of religious people of all faiths across the world.
Showing support for the Yaran in Aberdeen, Scottland.
A contribution from a Baha’i Youth Conference that was held in Vienna, Austria.
Showing support for the Yaran in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Showing support for the Yaran in Cartagena, Colombia.
A heart-shaped installation at the Baha’i Temple in Sydney is part of a nationwide and global campaign to express loving support to seven wrongly imprisoned Baha’i leaders in Iran, and to call for their release. Read more about this here.
Mehrzad Mumtahan, the artist behind the installation in front of the Baha’i Temple in Sydney holds up a picture of his uncle Saeid Rezaie, one of the seven Yaran.
All 21,000+ daily visitors at the Baha’i Temple in India were asked to pray for the release of the seven members of the Yaran. Approximately 850 guests also attended a special prayer programme as well.
A few friends gathered in Gorenjska, Slovenia to honour the Yaran.
Thanks to Nanette Graves Missaghi for creating this beautiful art for the dear Yaran.
A special prayer meeting for the Yaran was held in an orphanage in Barama, Assam, India.
A devotional held in Trafford, United Kingdom for the remembrance of Yaran.
A 15×5 meter banner containing messages of support from over one hundred individuals from throughout Brazil, was displayed in front of the Brazilian National Congress in remembrance of the 7 Baha’i leaders imprisoned in Iran.
Austrian artist Katharina Ghawami illumined a poem by Mahvash Sabet. You can also read about the collection of poems from Mahvash Sabet called Prison Poems in this Baha’i Blog article.
As a gift from the New Zealand Baha’i community to the Yaran, New Zealand singers Grant Hindin Miller and Sonbol Taefi sing this dedicated song to the seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran. You can watch the music video here.
To mark the seventh anniversary of the ongoing imprisonment of the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran, Laura Mostmand dedicates this video the Baha’is in Iran.
Iranian lawyer and human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh, talks about the seven imprisoned Iranian Baha’i leaders on the seventh anniversary of their arrest and imprisonment. [In Persian with English sub-titles].
A song by Bella M. in support of the Yaran.
On day 7 of the #7Bahais7years campaign, actor and comedian Omid Djalili sends a message of support to prisoner of conscience Vahid Tizfahm. Mr Tizfahm is one of seven Baha’i leaders in Iran who have been imprisoned for 7 years for being members of the Baha’i Faith.
Michael Ryan shares a song about unity in support of the seven imprisoned Yaran.
On day 7 of the #7Bahais7years campaign, Sini Maria Heikkila of Christian Solidarity Worldwide delivers a statement remembering imprisoned Baha’i leader Vahid Tizfahm and calling for an end to the persecution of religious minorities in Iran. Mr Tizfahm is one of seven Baha’i leaders in Iran who have been imprisoned for 7 years for being members of the Baha’i Faith.
As part of the #7bahais7years campaign, a heart-shaped installation was placed at the Baha’i Temple in Sydney to express loving support to seven wrongly imprisoned Baha’i leaders in Iran, and to call for their release. Inspiration for the giant heart comprised of 1000 individual images of the seven came from a line in a poem by one of them, Mahvash Sabet, who wrote:
“If I’m in this prison now, it’s only because
I’ve committed the crime of love again.”*
Hundreds of people from across New South Wales and beyond visited the installation, including a local, Jim Hare, who filmed and produced this video in collaboration with the Australian Baha’i Community.
This song “Oh Yaran (7 Years)” was inspired by the #7Bahais7years campaign. The song was written by Phoenix Hip-Hop artist Colby Jeffers, and features Russian singer Emphavoice.
On the last day of the #7Bahais7Years global campaign, Laura Mostmand dedicates this video to the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders in Iran. The video includes parts of a letter by Vahid Tizfahm, who wrote from prison explaining why he has held to his beliefs in the face of persecution, especially the relentless questions of his interrogators.
If you have a photo or a video relating to the seven day campaign which has not been featured here and you’d like to share it, then please add it to the ‘comments’ section below.
The seven day campaign is over but the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran continues. We encourage everyone to keep the friends in Iran in your prayers.
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