Government Requires Baha'is to Identify as "Muslim" to Apply to University

August 11, 2004

Source: Baha'i World News Service

On August 11, 2004 the Baha'i World News Service reported, "In yet another clear violation of the human rights of the Baha'is of Iran, nearly 1,000 Baha'i university-age students in Iran have been told they must accept identification as Muslims in order to enter university this year, the Baha'i International Community has learned. Representatives of the Baha'i International Community heard yesterday about the action, which involves pre-printing the word 'Islam' in a slot listing a prospective student's religious affiliation on national college entrance examination results, which were distributed to students recently. The move comes after Baha'i students were led to believe, through Government pronouncements in the news media and private assurances, that their religion would not be an issue on university entrance forms this year in Iran. 'The Iranian Government is, in effect, attempting to force Baha'i youth to recant their faith if they want to go to university,' said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations... For more than 20 years, Baha'is have been banned from institutions of higher education solely because of their religious beliefs -- a violation that has been condemned in numerous international human rights forums. The Government's move effectively extends this ban, inasmuch as Baha'is, as a matter of principle, do not deny their faith. In the past, entrance forms required that applicants list themselves as followers of one of the only four religions that enjoy official recognition in Iran -- Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or Zoroastrianism. These being the only choices given them, Baha'is, who refused to lie about their affiliation, were excluded from university."