It's that time of year again with colleges opening across the country. Millions of students will continue their pursuit of a college degree. Just imagine for a moment though if you were told you were not allowed to go to college, simply because of your faith.
That is exactly what happens to members of the Baha'i Faith in Iran. The Baha'i’s are a religious minority in Iran that advocates unity and peace.
The government of Iran bars members of the Baha'i Faith from going to college or even holding certain employment. That alone tells you the Baha'i’s are a persecuted minority in Iran.
But it gets much worse. Recently, seven leaders of the Baha'i Faith were sentenced to 20 years in prison (according to CNN, the sentences were just reduced to 10 years). The Iranian government accuses them of spying and spreading "corruption on earth."
The British Foreign Secretary William Hague reacted to the initial sentencing, stating:
"This is a shocking example of the Iranian state’s continued discrimination against the Bahá’ís. It is completely unacceptable.The Iranian judiciary has repeatedly failed to allay international and domestic concerns that these seven men and women are guilty of anything other than practising their faith. It is clear that from arrest to sentencing, the Iranian authorities did not follow even their own due process, let alone the international standards to which Iran is committed."
Nava Ghalili is a multimedia journalist who works for Fox 43 News in York, Pennsylvania. She is also a member of the Baha'i Faith. She took the time to answer a few questions about the crisis of the Baha'i’s in Iran. Most importantly, she answers how anyone can take action to help the Baha'i’s.
You have worked as a journalist in the United States and also Australia. But back in Iran would you have had the same opportunities in journalism as a member of the Baha'i Faith?
You know, I think we should first feel so blessed to be living in a place where we have the freedom to express our feelings and thoughts, our beliefs. It’s such a great part of being human, being able to seek the truth for ourselves and share this with others.