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Revolution brings persecution for minority reilgions

Jason Herman
Contributing Writer

Members of the Baha'i faith are usually not involved in politics. Though they are encouraged to vote, affiliation with a political party or ideology is prohibited by their faith.

However, students in the UW Baha'i Association have reason to applaud a recent move by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Recently, the House urged the government of Iran to "emancipate the Baha'i community" and grant religious freedom to people of the Baha'i faith.

The resolution, which passed by a 408-0 vote, "is a signal the U.S. does not approve of Iran's religious persecution," said a representative from U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott's office (D-WA).

The resolution was the seventh Congressional appeal for the Baha'is since 1982.

Since the Islamic Khomeini regime took power in the late 1970s, the Baha'is in Iran have suffered increased persecution because of their religious beliefs.

The central principles of the Baha'i faith, which originated in Iran in 1844, are the oneness of God, the oneness of religion and the oneness of mankind.

Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i faith, taught that divine revelation is a progressive progress. The messengers of God, such as Buddha, Christ and Mohammed, represent different stages of God's progressive revelation and the spiritual evolution of mankind.

Baha'is promote the establishment of world peace, which they believe can be brought about through the unity of mankind.

Hence, they believe in the complete equality of women and men and seek to eradicate prejudices of race, creed, class, nationality and sex.

The Baha'is are Iran's largest minority religious group and account for 200,000 to 300,000 of the country's population. Since the late 1970s more than 200 Baha'is have been executed and thousands more imprisoned on account of their religious beliefs.

Many have been burned to death, killed by mobs, stoned, tortured to death and hanged.

About 15 students make up the UW Baha'i Association.

In the past, the club has sponsored events such as art gallery displays and a World Culture Night. The group also sent members to the Beijing conference for women's rights last summer.

Members are currently planning a World Culture Night for October in which different campus clubs will be able to make presentations including entertainment or food.

The club is also planning a Mother's Day dinner on May 12 to honor the importance of motherhood and the status of women.

©Copyright 1996 The Daily of the University of Washington

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