Iran Intensifies Disinformation and Attacks on Bahá’ís

August 12, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: A Statement of the Bahá’í International Community

The fears of Bahá’ís worldwide over the intended fate of their coreligionists in Iran have heightened in the light of occurrences since the arrests, three months ago, of the “Friends in Iran,” the seven Bahá’ís who coordinate the affairs of the 300,000 Bahá’ís across Iran. Reports published in government-run news outlets point to an effort on the part of the authorities to use the mass media to spread accusations that the seven prisoners have engaged in subversive activities, and to continue to deprive these Bahá’ís from any access to legal counsel by maligning Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the well-known Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner who, together with her colleagues, has stated her readiness to defend the Bahá’ís.

Meanwhile, Bahá’ís throughout Iran are being terrorized in acts of ever-intensifying violence that have in recent weeks extended to a string of arson attacks on their homes and properties. They also continue to be demonized in an unrelenting campaign of propaganda that has been ongoing in the mass media for the past three years; subjected to summary arrests, detentions, interrogations, and searches of their homes; denied the means of livelihood; barred from the nation’s institutions of higher learning; vilified from pulpits; and insulted in their schoolrooms. Their cemeteries are being systematically destroyed and the graves of their loved ones desecrated.

These latest developments are especially disturbing when viewed in the light of an established pattern whereby the authorities make or purvey false statements about the Bahá’ís, then deliberately repeat and widely disseminate these falsehoods and misrepresentations to give them credence. The intention, of course, is to foment hatred and mistrust of the Bahá’ís so that there exists within the general population an atmosphere wherein egregious violations of the Bahá’ís’ human rights are either condoned or not questioned. Moreover, having themselves done everything possible to rouse the population, the authorities have been disingenuously telling the Bahá’ís that they will be incapable of protecting them when mob violence erupts.