US Baha'is Decry Persecution in Iran After Death of Jailed Baha'i

January 7, 2006

Source: Chicago Tribune,1,2183325.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

On January 7, 2006 the Chicago Tribune reported, "For more than 10 years, prisoner Dhabihu'llah Mahrami was offered opportunities to live as a free man in Iran. All he had to do was disavow his Baha'i Faith. But every time his jailers asked him to recant, international Baha'i leaders say, the prisoner refused. Mahrami died of unknown causes on Dec. 15, still behind bars in Yazd, Iran. Days later, Baha'i leadership pronounced him a martyr--a hallowed title bestowed by a religious movement that has endured persistent persecution since its birth in Iran 150 years ago. On Saturday, the North American Baha'i Temple will memorialize Mahrami with rituals echoed in as many as 1,100 local Baha'i assemblies across the U.S. and thousands more around the world. At the temple in Wilmette, a prayer for families of martyrs will be chanted in Arabic and recited in English... There are about 150,000 Baha'is in the U.S., including about 3,000 in the Chicago area. More than 10,000 American Baha'is are Iranian refugees who fled after a more systematic persecution began in 1979, according to human rights groups. Mahrami's death--condemned by the U.S. State Department--rekindles concerns that another wave of persecution is on the rise under Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."