Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Ominous Threat to the Baha'is of Iran

Here is a brilliantly written analysis on CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) about the ominous current threat to the Baha'is of Iran. Its Canadian author is Brian Stewart, whose biography describes him as:
One of this country's most experienced journalists and foreign correspondents, Brian Stewart was, until his retirement in the summer of 2009, a Senior Correspondent with CBC's flagship news program, The National, and the host of Newsworld's international affairs program.

He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto.

In almost four decades of reporting, he has covered many of the world's conflicts and reported from 10 war zones, from El Salvador to Beirut and Afghanistan. Though retired, he continues to write a regular column for CBCNews.ca on international affairs and will be contributing to CBC documentary reports from time to time.

In its introduction, the report prepares the reader to understand the depth and the seriousness of the motives and strategy undertaken by Iran's regime in its grand scheme to isolate and destroy the Iranian Baha'i community. The analysis, published on the CBC website on 13 January 2010, and titled "The scapegoating of Iran's Baha'is", begins by stating:
Oppressive regimes attack human rights on two levels. The most obvious assault, as we have seen in Iran in recent months, aims at suppressing political opponents and protest.

But history teaches us that we need to worry about a secondary level of attack as well, the kind that takes place in the shadows.

That's the persecution directed at weak segments of the population targeted for special repression, the old and sickening story in which minority religious or ethnic groups are singled out as scapegoats of the state, blamed for all its troubles.

This is why we need to be very concerned now for the safety of Iran's approximately 300,000 Baha'is, followers of the gentle, internationalist Baha'i faith, the country's largest minority religion.

The Baha'i religion has been officially banned in Iran since 1979. But now, in a textbook case of scapegoating, Iran's theocratic leaders are blaming the Baha'is for stirring up all the unrest sweeping the country today.

They are even accusing them of stockpiling firearms, which seems ludicrous given the peaceful nature of the religion.

But in an ominous nod to even more persecution ahead, Tehran argues that the Baha'is are doing this in conjunction with Israel, which is really directing the whole conspiracy.

Read the rest of the report here....

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