Australian Parliament: Baha’i motion passes

Following the recent alarming arrest of dozens of Baha’i youth in Iran, the world Baha’i and wider community has been mobilised to raise awareness of the plight of that community. Here’s a piece I wrote for the Australian Baha’i youth website:

CANBERRA, MAY 29: The House of Representatives passed a motion expressing grave concern for the plight of the Bahá’ís of Iran. The motion, moved by the Hon Jennie George MP, member for Throsby, received wide bipartisan support.

The motion notes a statement of concern made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion earlier this year, expressing grave concern that the Iranian authorities have issued secret instructions for all Bahá’ís in that country to be identified and monitored, and urges the Australian government to pursue these concerns with the Iranian authorities.

Six Members of Parliament spoke in support of the motion before time allotted to the debate was completed.

The Hon Mr Keenan MP stated:

“I investigated the claims that they made to me… In fact, on investigation, what I found exceeded the horror of the stories they had told me. The steps being taken currently by the Iranian government are truly frightening… Specifically, steps being taken to monitor and identify people of the Bahá’í Faith, combined with an increase in the ferocity of media propaganda vilifying them, are grave cause for concern.”

The Hon Mr Edwards MP, in summarising what Bahá’ís believe in, quoted from the Bahá’í Writings:

“Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart.”

“…religious, racial, national and political prejudices, all are subverseive of the foundation of human society, all lead to bloodshed, all heap ruin upon mankind. So long as these remain, the dread of war will continue.”

steps being taken to monitor and identify people of the Baha’i Faith, combined with an increase in the ferocity of media propaganda vilifying them, are grave cause for concern.

“All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation… To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.”

Referring to the recent arrests of Bahá’í youth in Shiraz, he stated “I would simply hope that the beliefs and principles of the Baha’i, which call for mercy, compassion and loving-kindness, might be visited upon those people who were recently arrested.”

Full transcripts of the debate on this motion in the House of Representatives can be read on the Hansard record, starting on page 25(43): Download Hansard report here (pdf).

Following this motion, ABC Radio National’s The Religion Report with Stephen Crittenden discussed the situation of the Bahá’ís in Iran and featured an interview with the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia, Mr John Walker.

On air, Mr. Walker discussed the recent increase in persecution against the Bahá’ís in Iran.

Mr Walker stated that “…the Bahá’ís of Australia are very grateful to the government of Australia for the efforts that it has made. It co-sponsored the recent resolution in the General Assembly of the United Nations condemning the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran. So the government of Australia has really been in the forefront along with some other governments in bringing to international attention the plight of the Bahá’ís in Iran and the Bahá’í community in Australia is very, very grateful for that.”

A full transcript of the interview can be read at the Radio National website. The actual” target=”_blank”>broadcast is also available for listening.

Related News:

According to the New York Times, the United States Congress is considering a resolution that would condemn the Iranian government for repressing Bahá’ís and also to make abuse of Bahá’ís a significant factor in United States foreign policy.

Click here to view the article.

Links for information on the persecution of the Bahá’ís of Iran:

Bahá’í World News article 20 March 2006, quoting the announcement at the United Nations and in its wake, a statement from the Principal Representative of the Bahá’í International Community to the United Nations


Summary and Analysis of Recent Media Attacks against the Bahá’ís in Iran

Information about the Hojjatieh Society, a specifically anti-Bahá’í organized by a charismatic Shiite Muslim cleric.

The Bahá’í Question: Cultural cleansing in Iran (official Bahá’í website)

Closed Doors: Iran’s campaign to deny higher education to Bahá’ís (official Bahá’í website)

1 Response to “Australian Parliament: Baha’i motion passes”

  1. 1 Anonymous November 15, 2008 at 10:28 am

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