Baha’i Iranian refugee Sobhan, who spoke to EuroNews about Baha’i persecution.

News

Escape to Turkey: Turkey opens its doors to refugees, but few are allowed to stay (National Geographic – June 7th)

National Geographic published a feature story in its April issue detailing the plight of refugees in Turkey and the conditions of the refugee camps on its borders. In a section on persecuted minorities, the piece dedicates some space to Iran’s Baha’i population, who flee to Kayseri to seek asylum and escape the hostility of Iranian intelligence. Kayseri is often a destination for Baha’i opponents of the Iranian regime. ”It’s like jail,” Feride Sadiqi, a Baha’i who is seeking asylum with her husband and child, told National Geographic. “When we say we are refugees, people look at us with disgust—as if we did something wrong and had to come here.” Backed by an organized worldwide network, however, the Baha’i tend to have expedited placements. Each year around a thousand are settled in new countries.

Overview of Iranian Bahai university students’ attendance and expulsion (HRIRAN – June 12th)

An Iranian student group recently released the Right to Education Report, an assessment of students’ rights violations and education deprivation in Iran. In one portion, the report details the situation of Baha’i students in Iran, where there are laws that ban them from pursuing an education in state universities because of their religion. The law states that only students of Muslim, Jewish or Zoroastrian faiths may register at the country’s schools. According to the Baha’i Internation Community, the report says,

“before 2006 no follower of the Baha’i faith attended university in Iran due to a line in the exam registration form that asked the applicant to state their religion. After 2006 when the question of religion was removed from the forms, 800 followers of the Baha’i faith took part in the national exams; 480 students passed the first application process and 289 were accepted to universities. Since then, over half of the accepted students have been expelled after it was revealed that they were Baha’i.”

Interview: Sobhan, a Baha’i Iranian refugee (EuroNews – June 14th)

Though many Baha’is who flee Iran to escape persecution fear speaking out about the conditions in their home country, EuroNews found Sobhan, an Iranian refugee who was willing to be interviewed about the persecution he and other Baha’is suffered.

“When I was in school, we had religious courses, and our teacher was saying Islam is the best religion in the world. And other religions are completely wrong and you cannot go by their rules. So as a Baha’i child, I was thinking that maybe there was something wrong with me. Maybe my family is saying wrong things to me. Or maybe school teaching something wrong. I had a conflict with myself and after that…playing in the street, the other kids were pointing at me as a Baha’i child; ‘you are not clean, you are dirty..’ As a child I couldn’t imagine what was the problem. Maybe I would just wash my hands and its goes? But it wasn’t like that…I carried this feeling until I went to high school. Again a lot similar stories happened to me: ‘you are Baha’i, you have to change your mind, you have a lot of problems in your mind, you’re wrong’.”

Rozita Vaseghi denied medical treatment (Sen’s Daily – June 17th)

The Ministry of Intelligence has denied Rozita Vaseghi, a Baha’i serving two five-year sentences in Vakil Abad Prison, permission to undergo immediate surgery for her mouth. She suffers from swollen and painful gums and the prison’s doctors have deemed the surgery necessary for her condition. She also has been denied her right to furlough, even though she served almost three years of her sentence.