Bahá’u’lláh’s Bicentenary - Stimulus For Fresh Persecutions In Yemen & Iran
As Irish Bahá’ís and their hundreds of friends gathered to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, a similar gathering in Yemen was raided by security forces there who fired on a small group of people peacefully gathered to commemorate the bicentenary.
This is the latest in a series of attacks on the Bahá’í community in Yemen. Bahá’ís there have been arrested, imprisoned and harassed in a way that is strongly reminiscent of the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran. One prominent tribal leader, Walid Ayyash, was abducted last April and his whereabouts are currently unknown. In fact eight Baha’is currently remain detained, and it is unclear where a number of them are being kept.
The baseless and nonsensical accusations levelled against the Yemeni Bahá’ís include showing kindness and displaying rectitude of conduct in order to attract people to their Faith. These accusations bear a striking resemblance to those encountered by the Baha’is in Iran, and in fact, reports indicate the influence of Iranian authorities behind incidents transpiring in Yemen.
The pattern of persecution Baha’is face in Yemen eerily mirrors the pattern of persecution in Iran
“There is now unequivocal consensus about Iran’s role in the persecution of the Baha’is in Yemen, especially in Sana’a, which is currently under the control of Iranian-backed militias,” said Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Baha’i International Community at the United Nations. Earlier this year, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, said that the pattern of persecution Baha’is face in Yemen eerily mirrors the pattern of persecution in Iran.
The Iranian Baha’i community was also targeted during the bicentenary period, with 19 arrests and raids on the homes of 25 Baha’is. Twenty-six Baha’i-owned shops around the country were sealed off by authorities because the owners observed the Holy Day on 21 October.
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