Bahais Urge Action On Behalf Of Prisoners

July 2, 2009

Author: Stephanie Bertholdo

Source: The Acorn Online

The imprisonment of seven members of the Bahai Faith in Iran has not been forgotten by local Bahais.

Followers of the religion who live in Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks and Calabasas met on June 25 at Westlake Village City Hall to mark the one-year anniversary of the imprisonment of Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm, who were arrested on May 14, 2008, at their homes in Tehran on charges of espionage. Mahvash Sabet had been arrested on March 5, 2008, in Mashad.

Jan Stevens, an anchor at KFWB News 980 and a Bahai member, opened the meeting with a history of the faith and the religious persecution suffered by its members since its inception in Iran, then known as Persia, in the mid1800s.

"Human rights are human rights no matter where we live," Stevens said.

The Bahai Faith is based on a belief in one God, and all of the world's religions are valued.

"The purpose is to establish the peaceful kingdom of God on earth," Stevens said. Bahai teachings are underscored by the belief in a divine creator, the oneness of humanity, the equality of men and women, and the tenet that "science and religion should go hand in hand," Stevens said.

A quote from Bahai teachings that was presented to the crowd encapsulates the philosophy behind the faith—"The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens."