Bahá’í owned shops in parts of Iran sealed off for observing Holy Day

Posted: 2014/11/13
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A banner placed on the front of one of the Baha’i owned businesses which were closed on the morning of 25 October in a systematic state-sponsored attack on the Baha’i community in one of the regions of Iran. It reads: “This commercial unit has been sealed owing to violation of trading laws/rules. The owner of this commercial unit should report to the police.”

The Bahá’í World News Service has reported that authorities in one region of Iran have launched a widespread, preplanned, systematic attack against Bahá’í business owners.

On the morning of Saturday 25 October, the authorities descended on about 79 Bahá’í owned shops in Kerman, Rafsanjan and Jiroft, summarily sealing the premises which were closed to allow the proprietors to observe a Bahá’í Holy Day.

Authorities displayed banners at the shops asserting that the owners had violated the rules of governing business and trade practices.

The attack has brought further pain and hardship to countless families who are already suffering from the consequences of government policies aimed at nothing less than the economic strangulation of the Bahá’í community in Iran.

Members of the Bahá’í community are calling upon authorities to provide evidence for the unfounded accusations leveled against so many Bahá’í shop-owners, including specific laws and standards that have purportedly been breached.

“Representatives of a state that claims its Constitution and laws are based upon Islamic teachings and principles would do well to consider the impact of their duplicities on the younger generation and the future of their country,” said Ms. Bani Dugal, Representative of the Baha’i International community.

In a recent review of its human rights record, Iran failed to adequately address repeated calls by other governments for greater respect for religious freedom and an end to discrimination against religious minorities, including Bahá’ís.

“Sadly, what we saw at today’s Human Rights Council session was an attempt to gloss over the issue of religious discrimination, repeatedly cited as a concern by other governments,” said Diane Ala’i, the Bahá’í International Community’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

“And in response to questions posed by member states about Bahá’ís, Iran’s representative once again completely distorted the facts and hypocritically stated that Bahá’ís enjoy all citizenship rights. If there were the least thread of truth in what he said, why then on Saturday were at least 79 Bahá’í-owned shops in Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft, summarily closed by officials because proprietors has stopped doing business to observe a recent Bahá’í holy day. Those closures obviously violate the freedom of these Iranian citizens to practice their religion,” said Ms. Ala’i.

“Sadly, the comments made by Iran’s representatives once again were clearly nothing less than prevarication, whether it be on the issue of religious freedom, freedom of the press or assembly, or due process in legal proceedings.”