Bahais Find Safe Place to Practice Faith

September 27, 2008

Author: Tasha Kates

Source: Charlottesville Daily Progress

For 70 years, Kamal has practiced a religion that has put him in the shadows of Iranian society.

The practicing Bahai converted when he was just 12 years old. While his siblings were Muslims, his grandfather was a Bahai who ultimately became a martyr for his beliefs.

As he got older, Kamal’s brothers and sisters offered him money to convert back to Islam. Ultimately, his family took his 11-year-old son from Kamal and his wife, Setareh, because of their shared Bahai beliefs.

“He is alive and has a family,” Kamal said through a translator. “I did not see him for 15 years since he was taken. I only saw him at the time of his brother’s funeral.”

Despite the great losses and prejudice against Kamal and Setareh, they resisted converting to another religion. Instead, they left Iran about eight years ago for Charlottesville, where they are free to practice and discuss their religion with a Bahai community of about 35 people.