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Archive for December 31st, 2014

Sadly, as this year, so difficult for so many across the world, comes to a close, I find news of continuing assaults by the authorities on the Bahá’í community in Iran. They continue to torment grief stricken families by denying them their right to bury their relatives according to the laws of their religion. Below is a short extract: for the full post see link.

GENEVA — The body of a Baha’i has been held in the morgue for nearly two months in the large, southern Iranian city of Ahvaz because local officials have refused to allow the man’s burial.

Shamel Bina passed away on 28 October but remains unburied, despite numerous appeals from his family and others, who have appealed to numerous officials from the governor general to the city’s Friday prayer leader, to no avail.

The family’s agony is compounded by the fact that, earlier this year, the Baha’i cemetery here was closed by authorities in a cruel fashion: its entry door to the walled compound was welded shut and bricked up.

The episode is the latest in a series of incidents in recent months where Iranian officials have blocked or interfered with the burial of Baha’is – or sanctioned the destruction of their cemeteries – apparently as part of a campaign to force Baha’is to deny their own religious identity.

In another city, Semnan, the Baha’is were told that in order to be issued a permit to bury their deceased relatives, they must sign an undertaking. In this form, they are asked to have no marking on the graves except the names and dates of birth and death and not to create green space in the cemetery since that is considered a promotion of their faith. Similar orders were issued earlier this year for the Baha’i cemetery of Sangsar.

“In recent years, more than 40 Baha’i cemeteries have been attacked, vandalized or closed, and in numerous cases the burial of Baha’is has been blocked or interfered with by authorities,” said Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.

“The overall pattern that emerges is of a government-coordinated effort to make Baha’is invisible in Iran by eliminating one of the few remaining public signs of their existence – their own distinctive cemeteries – and to force them to abide by Muslim rites as yet another means to force Baha’is to deny their faith,” said Ms. Ala’i.

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