Since 1979, as part of a government plan to eradicate the Baha’i community, the Islamic Republic of Iran has blocked the 300,000-member Baha’i community from higher education, refusing young Baha’is entry into universities and colleges. For more background information about the denial of higher education click here.
Reports from Iran over the past few weeks demonstrate that this school year, the government is continuing to prevent Baha’is from entering or staying enrolled at universities. In some cases, Baha’is are even refused enrollment at secondary and primary schools.
As Baha’i students went to the web site this year to see the results of the national entrance examinations, they were shown an error message stating “Error: Incomplete File”. What is particularly striking is that the URL of this message ends with “msg=error_bah.” When a student who is not a Baha’i fills up the exact same form with a possible mistake, the error message is different, with a different URL ending. The difference is that there is no mistake in the forms filled out by Baha’is, and they appear to have been pre-identified and prompted to take a different course of action than other students.
In March 2006, a secret Iranian government document was made public by the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. This memorandum ordered the Iranian military headquarters to confidentially identify and monitor all the activities of the Baha’is in the country. It is evident, with this year’s university entrance examination web site as just one example, that this is being ruthlessly carried out. Moreover, a number of Baha’is who had enrolled in universities are known to have been expelled.
Read these two personal accounts from Iranian Baha’i students about their experience. One of them received the “Error: Incomplete File” error message when he tried to enroll this year, and the other was expelled three weeks before graduation: Hulaku’s account & Mahsa’s account.
How you can help
Students, faculty and academics around the world are protesting the treatment of Baha’i students in Iran and calling for equitable access to higher education in Iran. Review the sample actions below and consider how you can help.
- Join a social network devoted to defending the rights of Baha’is in Iran
- Organize a public event on campus in collaboration with like-minded organizations on human rights or the specific right to education
- Human Rights Day, December 10, could be commemorated with an examination of the denial of education to the Baha’is and other
- Meet with university faculty and administrators and ask them to write letters of protest
- Re-visit university faculty and administrators who have taken action in the past
- Ask faculty or student associations to pass resolutions on this issue
- Approach campus media or write op-ed pieces
- Blog about the issue and post a button on your blog
- Prepare a 2 minute video about the issue and enter our video contest on YouTube
If you have any other suggestions or ideas, please email them to BahaisUS@usbnc.org or fill out the contact form.