Here is the latest out of Iran , we were able to confirm it this week. This is the latest attempt to destroy the Iranian Baha'i Community. Please share with your congregations, religious communities, elected officials, and press.

-Sean Rayshel

GENEVA — Homes belonging to some 50 Baha’i families in a remote village in northern Iran have been demolished as part of a long-running campaign to expel them from the region.

The action occurred in Ivel, Mazandaran, when inhabitants – incited by elements inimical to the Baha’i community – blocked normal access to the village, while allowing trucks and at least four front-end loaders to begin leveling the houses.

Amateur video, shot on mobile telephones and posted by Iranian human rights activists on the Internet, showed what appeared to be several buildings reduced to rubble as well as fiercely burning fires.

The demolitions are the latest development in an ongoing, officially-sanctioned program in the area which has targeted every activity of the Baha’is.

“They’re being forbidden to associate with Muslims, or even offer service to their friends and neighbours,” said Diane Ala’i, representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.

“Even the smallest acts of good will – such as taking flowers to someone who’s sick in hospital or donating gifts to an orphanage – these are being seen as actions against the regime.”

Most of the Baha’i homes in Ivel have been unoccupied since their residents fled after previous incidents of violence or as a result of official displacement. In 2007, for example, six of their houses were torched.

Ivel, Mazandaran, Iran

“Baha’is have lived in this area for more than 100 years and it once had a large community,” said Ms. Ala’i. “But in 1983, a few years after the Iranian revolution, at least 30 families from this and neighboring villages were put on buses and expelled.

“Since then, they have tried to seek legal redress to no avail, while returning in the summer to harvest their crops,” she said.

The day after the demolitions took place, a Baha’i man who visited the site with his family to harvest his produce was beaten and insulted by other residents. In the past, those who are trying to drive the Baha’is out have set upon them when they tried to enter the neighborhood to rebuild or renovate their properties.

Persistent government attacks on Baha’is in all the mass media – along with inaction by local officials to protect them – have continued to incite hatred against the Baha’is in the region and throughout Iran, said Ms. Alai.

“This latest action shows the degree to which the authorities have completely failed to live up to their responsibilities to protect the Baha’is and their religious freedom,” she said.

Members of the Baha’i community have made repeated complaints both before and after the latest incident to local government officials, including to the provincial governor in Sari. In every case, knowledge of the demolitions or the motive behind them was denied.

While reports about the latest action began appearing on various Persian-language websites last Friday, the Baha’i International Community was only able to confirm details of the incident today. Latest reports indicate that 90 percent of the Baha’i homes have now been demolished.

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Tags: Baha'i, Iran

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Comment by Sean Rayshel on June 29, 2010 at 6:54pm
My Baha'i Brother Farhan,

Thanks for your post. Also I thank you for the quote from the Holy Quran, what is happening in Iran is not of the Muslim Faith , but the evil of man when he holds onto his lower nature. Let us pray Baha'i and people of Faith that the people of Iran will stand up against these injustices.

peace,

Sean Rayshel
Comment by Farhan Yazdani on June 29, 2010 at 5:05pm
How so sad for Ivel! If our ove and sympathy go to the victims, shame and deep concern for the population of this village who are depriving themselves of God's life-giving teachings by alienating those promoting them.
History will reveal the outcome of such behaviour which is clearly a violation of all moral principles as the Holy Quran (2: 84) testifies:
“And when We made a covenant with you: You shall not shed your blood and you shall not turn your people out of your cities; then you gave a promise while you witnessed. Yet you it is who slay your people and turn a party from among you out of their homes, backing each other up against them unlawfully and exceeding the limits; and if they should come to you, as captives you would ransom them-- while their very turning out was unlawful for you. Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in the other? What then is the reward of such among you as do this but disgrace in the life of this world, and on the day of resurrection they shall be sent back to the most grievous chastisement..."

The Baha’i institutions having been dissolved since some 25 years, these innocent families that have been expelled from their homes held the mission of promoting religious unity announced by Baha’u’llah some 150 years ago. In His “Epistle to the on of the Wolf” Baha’u’llah declared:

“That the divers communions of the earth, and the manifold systems of religious belief, should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion. These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, and are rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated.

Gird up the loins of your endeavor, O people of Baha, that haply the tumult of religious dissension and strife that agitateth the peoples of the earth may be stilled, that every trace of it may be completely obliterated. For the love of God, and them that serve Him, arise to aid this sublime and momentous Revelation. Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction. Consider the war that hath involved the two Nations, how both sides have renounced their possessions and their lives. How many the villages that were completely wiped out!

The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light is these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Daystar of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. The One true God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of these words.

Exert yourselves that ye may attain this transcendent and most sublime station, the station that can insure the protection and security of all mankind. This goal excelleth every other goal, and this aspiration is the monarch of all aspirations. So long, however, as the thick clouds of oppression, which obscure the daystar of justice, remain undispelled, it would be difficult for the glory of this station to be unveiled to men's eyes. …

Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and goodwill. If it be accepted, if it fulfill its purpose, your object is attained. If anyone should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding.”
(Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the son of the Wolf)

Let history establish if the village of Ivel has gained or lost by eliminating from their midst these innocent victims, messengers of peace and love.
Comment by The Parliament of Religions on June 29, 2010 at 1:25pm
Dear Sean,

Thank you for the link. We've posted the story on our Facebook fan page. You can find it here. Thanks again for this news!

CPWR
Comment by Sean Rayshel on June 29, 2010 at 11:49am
http://news.bahai.org/story/780

I tried to cut and paste the story so many times from this source , but the pictures kept it from posting. Thanks for your interest.

peace,

Sean
Comment by The Parliament of Religions on June 29, 2010 at 8:37am
Dear Sean,

Can you please post the source link for this article? We might try and feature the article on either the Council's blog or Facebook fan page. Thank you for keeping us all abreast of the situation!

CPWR