Yesterday the Bahá’í World News Service published the views of a UN expert. Below is an extract from the post: for the full text see link.
UNITED NATIONS — Iran’s persecution of Baha’is is among the most “extreme manifestations of religious intolerance and persecution” in the world today, according to a UN expert.
The remarks of Heiner Bielefeldt – Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief – came during a press conference here in response to a question about a new report that documents the Iranian government’s media campaign to demonize Baha’is.
“The Iranian government has a policy of systematic persecution…” said Dr. Bielefeldt, “with the view of even destroying that religion worldwide…It’s a very clear, clearly articulated policy of extreme hostility.”
Asked whether he had received any response from Iran to his statements on the issue, Dr. Bielefeldt replied, “The typical response is the following: Bahaism is not a religion, it’s a cult, it’s an evil cult.”
“They distinguish…between genuine religions – in their understanding the divinely revealed religions Judaism, Christianity and, of course, Islam – and the rest,” he said. “So this is a problem.
“I mean they really excommunicate, systematically, the Baha’is from the application of freedom of religion or belief by simply denying their faith to have the status of a religion. And this is something states cannot do.”
Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right, he said at the press conference on Thursday.
“The starting point must be the self-understanding of human beings. Their deep convictions…That is what counts,” he said.
One aspect of the Iranian government’s campaign against Baha’is is documented in the report, Inciting Hatred: Iran’s media campaign to demonize Baha’is, which provides evidence of a state-sponsored strategy to vilify the Baha’i community.
The report, launched on 21 October, highlights false accusations of Baha’is being involved in a variety of subversive practices including being anti-Islamic, morally corrupt, and agents for foreign powers. . . .
A Special Section of the Baha’i International Community United Nations Office website presents the full report, Inciting Hatred: Iran’s media campaign to demonize Bahá’ís in English and Persian, as well as an online only 197-page appendix that summarizes each of the 400-plus documents or articles that were collected during the period of this survey, from 17 December 2009 to 16 May 2011.