A Letter Written by a Student Deprived of the Right to Education

HRANA – Nura Sabet, a Bahá’í Student deprived of the right to education, has sent a letter to HRANA, delineating the educational system’s discriminatory approach to her case on the basis of her belief in the Bahá’í Faith.

 

Here is the letter in its entirety:

My name is Nura Sabet, a Bahá’í student in 8th grade.  I learned of a recent news report that in order to participate in the entry exam for the magnet high school in the area, I need a sealed letter from my current school attesting that I was an enrolled student in good standing.

Accordingly, I contacted my current school and asked for the letter.  Initially, the school issued the letter.  However, after a few minutes, they called me into the office and demanded that I return the letter and explained that the school must get permission from the regional security authorities before handing me the letter.  The next day, my parents went to the school and after much insistence, obtained the letter attesting that I was a student there.  After obtaining the letter, I proceeded to the venue for registration for the magnet school’s entry examination, submitted the letter and the fee, and received the confirmation and a pass-code.  Subsequently, I went on the Ministry of Education’s website to complete the registration with the pass-code and completion of personal data.   Among the personal data on the website, I had to choose among one of four recognized religions on the form.  However, since my religion was not among them, I was unable to complete the online registration.  My parents contacted the Department of Education and exerted all efforts to complete the registration to no avail.  They were told that the only way to complete the form was to choose one of the four religions.

It is worth noting that three years ago, when I was in fifth grade, I registered and passed the first round of the same magnet examination.  However, even though I was confident of my performance in the second round, I was told I did not pass.  This is while during the interview, at the age of 11, I was asked of my religious beliefs.  Subsequently, they presented to me a different set of answers key than what was used for grading others and used it to convince me that my score was not sufficient to pass.

It is very unfortunate that such discriminatory behavior is practiced in our country in the name of law.  I made several attempts to register both this year and three years ago in non-profit schools in the area.  None of the schools accepted my excellent academic record and noted that according to the policies and by-laws of the founders of the institutions, they are unable to register non-Muslim or Bahá’í students.  Accordingly, the only option for Bahá’í students is to attend the public schools closest to their residence, assuming that the principal or the school board does not harbor prejudice against the Bahá’ís.  Otherwise, the public schools will also be mired in difficulties for the Bahá’ís.

I long for the day when the hearts of all men will be illumined with the light of peace, unity, and justice.

 

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