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Archive for November 3rd, 2010

There is recent moving and inspiring news coverage in Scotland in “The Herald” relating to the imprisonment of the seven Bahá’í leaders in Iran (for the full article see the link). The article begins:

“It was not long after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power that the real trouble started. My husband was arrested, tortured and killed and then they arrested me too,” Mehrangiz Moayyad says.

The Iranian woman is in her council home in a quiet Aberdeen estate recalling traumatic events in her homeland from nearly 30 years ago and explaining how she and her family were persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Mrs Moayyad is a follower of the Bahá’í faith, a religion dating from 1844 . . . . . The central idea of the faith is one of unity and followers believe people should work together for the common benefit of humanity.

“Its founder, Bahá’u’lláh, was the latest in a line of divinely inspired prophets that included Moses and Jesus. Bahá’u’lláh said he was a prophet of God so in Iran, Bahá’ís are viewed as heretics because Mohammed, who founded Islam, declared himself to be the last and final prophet of God centuries earlier,” Mrs Moayyad explains.

Bahá’ís have always faced discrimination in Iran but the situation deteriorated following the ascension to power in 1979 of Khomeini, the hard-line Shiite Muslim and Iranian political leader.

In 1982, Mrs Moayyad’s husband, Menouchehr, a prominent banker, was arrested by the police and ordered to publicly renounce his faith. Although the alternative was torture and possible death, Menouchehr refused to embrace Islam as instructed.

“He was jailed and I visited him in prison every week. They eventually killed him. I remember a sympathetic guard let me see his body afterwards. It was horrific. His fingers had been removed and there was a hole through his nose and he had been shot in the stomach. His face was contorted with the pain,” she says.

In 1985, Mrs Moayyad herself was detained and tortured in Tehran’s Ghasr Prison for five months, but she too refused to renounce the Bahá’í faith and was then sentenced to death by hanging by a religious court.

“Tradition has it that a woman must put the noose around her own neck but I’d been so maltreated in prison I was seriously ill and unable to stand. They sent me to a hospital for blood transfusions and vitamin treatment so I could be executed. I managed to escape and went into hiding before getting out of the country. I travelled to the UK via Pakistan and claimed political asylum in 1986,” Mrs Moayyad says.

She spoke to The Herald after Iran recently sentenced seven Baha’i leaders to 20 years in prison in a move that provoked outrage around the world.

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