A powerful article was published on the Bahá’í News website earlier this week. Below is a short extract: for the full post see link.
SANA’A, Yemen — An extraordinary wave of support by organizations and individuals has kindled hope in the hearts of the Baha’is of Yemen in the wake of recent arrests there. It has also revealed the degree to which the motivation of Baha’is to build unity has resonated with so many in that country and across the region. One statement of support opened with this dramatic assertion of solidarity: “We are all Baha’is”.
On 10 August, armed, masked soldiers raided an educational gathering organized jointly by the Nida Foundation for Development as well as the Baha’i community of Yemen on the theme of moral empowerment and service. More than sixty participants were arrested, among them youth and children. Half were Baha’is and, currently, it is believed some fourteen remain in prison, including young mothers.
Yet the raid has provoked an unprecedented response from citizens and civil society. Widespread coverage in the region’s media—on television, on the Internet, and in print—has also highlighted the constructive endeavors of the Baha’i community and the baselessness and illogicality of the arrests.
Two of the leading daily pan-Arab newspapers—Al-Arab and Al Quds Al-Arabi—covered the story extensively. Among the countless other news sources that have published related stories have been Al Morasel, Al Modon, Akhbar Al Khaleej, Gulf Eyes, Al Masdar, Mosnad News, Sadaa Adan, and Yemen Shabab.
“Why arrest a group of peaceful Baha’is when the country is full of arms dealers, gangs, instigators of sedition, saboteurs, spies, and lurking terrorists? What courage is there in the arrest of a group of defenseless children and youth, when Yemen is full of thousands of murderers, thieves, criminals, gangs, and armed religious militias?” asks writer Sadiq Al-Qadi in an article on Al-Morasel News titled “For the Sake of Faith, Nation, and Humanity: Release the Baha’is”.
“How does the country benefit from persecuting a group that believes in obedience to one’s country? What benefit in arresting people who regard work as worship and strive to serve the community?” continues the article.
The Nida Foundation and the Baha’i community in Yemen have been involved in programs for the empowerment of youth so that they become oriented towards the social, moral, and intellectual development of society in practical ways. Both have also been concerned with raising the status of women and promoting the concept of equality and, in particular, the education of the girl child. Furthermore, the Nida Foundation has held discussions with tribal leaders on the profound implications of peace, reconciliation, and co-existence in that war-torn society.