|By GeHrge Gedda|
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, January 24, 1998; 1:46 a.m. EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Severe discriminatory practices have had a
devastating impact on the Bahá'í faith in Iran,
according to a report by an official commission.
Iran was one of the countries that, according to the report,
discriminate against followers of the major religions. In
addition to Bahá'ís, the report said Christians,
Hindus, Musli ms, Jews and Buddhists all suffer detention,
torture and death.
Iran has taken steps to eliminate Bahá'í adherents
by denying them the right to assemble and confiscating their
property, said the report, released Friday. It said more than
200 Bahá'ís have been killed since the 1979 revolution
The climate of intimidation in Iran has also severely and
comparably affected certain Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian
communities, whose members have been victims of harassment,
persecution and extrajudicial killing, the study said.
The report was prepared for President Clinton and Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright by the Advisory Committee on Religious
Freedom Abroad, established a year ago and composed of leading
scholars on religion.
The report cited a Russian law passed last year as an example
of how government actions can threaten members of a faith group.
The law denies legal rights depending on how long a religion has
had a presence in Russia.
Since its adoption, there have been increasing reports of efforts
by local officials to restrict activities of religious minorities,
the report said.
It also noted that several European countries, including Belgium,
France and Germany, recently have established commissions of
inquiry on sects, partly in response to fears of violent cults.
Unless these commissions focus their work on investigating illegal
acts, they run the risk of denying individuals the right to freedom
of religion or belief, the study said.
It said that in societies where the government imposes
strict political ideology and control over the populace, including on
matters, many individuals and communities of faith operate underground
harassment, detention and imprisonment.''
In communist countries such as China, Laos, North
Korea and Vietnam, the governments permit limited freedom to worship,''
report said. In Vietnam, Buddhists and Christians who act independently
It said that in societies where the government imposes strict
political ideology and control over the populace, including on
religious matters, many individuals and communities of faith
operate underground and risk harassment, detention and
In communist countries such as China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam,
the governments permit limited freedom to worship, the report said.
In Vietnam, Buddhists and Christians who act independently of the
officially approved temple and church are subject to arrest and
In China, members of the government-registered religious institutions
practice their faith within the strictures of the government.
Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Uighurs, unregistered Protestants and
Roman Catholics are subjected to widespread harassment, detentions,
incarceration and persecution.