June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
Baha’is around the world have joined the global “Not Another Year” campaign calling for the release of the seven Baha’i leaders imprisoned in Iran for nothing more than being a Baha’i.
We decided to share just a few examples of some of the many actions taken by Baha’is globally in an effort to bring awareness to their wrongful imprisonment.
Who Are the Baha’i Leaders?
The Facebook page for the Ottawa Baha’i Centre (Canada) shared these images to individually introduce the seven Baha’i leaders, or members of the Yaran. The captions asked “Who are the Baha’i leaders?”, included links to find out more about the campaign, the hashtags #ReleaseBahai7Now and #NotAnotherYear and a poignant detail about each person which we’ve included below:
Fariba Kamalabadi was thrown in jail when her daughter was 12 years old. Any law-abiding parent should have the right to be there for every important moment in their child’s life: first day of school, new friendships, graduation, wedding, grandchildren. Today, she is 21. Fariba has missed nine years of her daughter’s life only because of her beliefs. She must be released now.
Jamaloddin Khanjani and his wife, Ashraf, were married for 50 years. They raised four children. In 2008 he was thrown in jail for being a Baha’i. Four years later, Ashraf died without her husband by her side. Jamaloddin wasn’t even allowed to attend her funeral. Is there a more heartless punishment? He must be released now.
Afif Naeimi wanted to become a doctor. Instead, he was jailed for his beliefs, and denied proper medical care when he became seriously ill. Belief is no excuse to incarcerate a person. Being denied healthcare because of your religion is inhumane.
When his niece announced her marriage in Germany, Saeid Rezaie promised to bring her a wedding veil from Iran. Instead, he was arrested for his beliefs just months before. It must have been terrible to celebrate the wedding of a loved one, a friend or family member while suffering such an unjust loss of a family member.
Mahvash Sabet wasn’t allowed to enroll in university because she is a Baha’i. She didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer. Her poetry has been recognized by PEN International. We can only imagine what her full contribution could have been to the world. Instead, because of her beliefs, she’s behind bars.
Behrooz Tavakkoli has never met his grandchildren. For the past nine years, he has only heard about them from prison. He is being kept from his family solely based on his beliefs. This injustice is heartbreaking.
Vahid Tizfahm was not allowed to go to university because he is a Baha’i. After spending 9 years in prison, he’s watching from behind bars as his 18-year-old son prepares to graduate high school. Vahid’s son should be getting ready to go to university. But he, too, has been denied access because of his faith. Now two generations are deprived of education and the opportunity to contribute to their full potential for the betterment of society.
Here Are Some Videos Made for the Campaign:
Not Another Year! – Official Video Baha’i International Community
This video, produced by the Australian Baha’i Community highlights some of the life events that can happen in a year in order to shed light on how many family events the Yaran have missed since their imprisonment.
The Last Time I Saw My Father – #ReleaseBahai7Now
Produced by the Baha’is of Canada, this intimate video is based on a recent interview with Na’eem Tavakkoli, who talks about his father Behrouz Tavakkoli, one of the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders.
Not Another Year! Artistic call for release by Dutch Youth
A group of youth in the Netherlands put together this video in order to call attention to the wrongful incarceration of the seven Baha’i leaders of Iran:
9 Things You May Not Know About The Baha’i Leaders
A compelling, short documentary film by Flavio Rassekh in Brazil about the efforts of an Iranian musician, Saied Shanbezadeh, to create a musical tribute called “Yaran Free” to the seven imprisoned Iranian Baha’i leaders.
Kristina Arriaga wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal titled “Whoever Wins Iran’s Election, Its Religious Minorities Lose” which can be read here.
The US State Department released this statement calling for the immediate release of the seven Baha’is leaders in Iran.
Even though the anniversary of the arrest has passed and the height of this campaign is over, you can always draw attention to the suffering of the Baha’is in Iran and the imprisonment of the Yaran and use the hashtags #ReleaseBahai7now or #NotAnotherYear at any time.
Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.