A letter from a young Baha’i resident of Tabriz
HARANA News Agency – I am a Baha’i citizen of Iran; I live in Tabriz and love to serve my country. Like all other citizens, I have done my military service and paid taxes for the development and prosperity of my country. But, unfortunately I am not entitled to any right as a citizen of Iran.
The reason for writing this letter in the form of anonymous is potential future problems and consequences for me and my family.
After the completion of high school education, I took the national exam to enter the university. However, I was deprived of attending the university with the excuse of “incomplete” documents, but in reality because of my Baha’i faith.
This injustice has not only happened to me in the recent decade, but my father and parents of many young Baha’is have been also deprived of their rights to pursue higher education since the early years after the revolution.
The problems of Baha’is in Iran and Tabriz are continuation of a long and never ending story. However, since about three years ago the situation has been dramatically worsened and the violation of our civil rights has reached a new level. This situation started when the chair of Tabriz cemetery office Mr. “Farrokh Jalali” violated the standard regulations and unexpectedly denied the rights of Baha’is to prepare funeral service and bury their dead people. Soon after these incidents, he was appointed as the special advisor to the mayor and the director of Tabriz municipality area.
Nowadays, in order to bury their loved ones, Baha’is should face the following procedure: following transfer of the corpse to the main cemetery in Tabriz, the corpse is stored in the cold room for a couple of days. Then, the families are asked to bury the body without any ceremony (based on their faith). If they insist on burial in Tabriz, they should bury the body without coffins and according to Islamic tradition.
This clearly contradicts our religious beliefs. In some cases, the officials transfer the body to the city of Miandoab and bury without family’s knowledge. Despite the complaints and writing letters to various organizations and the president, this problem remains unresolved.
The other reason to write this letter is a recent incident occurred in my family. When my grandmother died, the authorities prohibited a ceremony according to Baha’i tradition. They finally transferred her body to Miandoab and buried without proper funeral service. After the death of my grandmother, a young soldier who has recently died in military uniform is also expecting the same treatment as my grandmother. As I am writing this letter, his body is in the storage area. With respect to Baha’is death and burial ceremony, we hear nothing but threat from the officials in Tabriz.
As we all know, our problem are not just limited to burying the dead. As a youngster, after military service I rented a shop to start working. I provided all documents and gained license from the union of eyeglass Makers in Tabriz. Now, after one year and despite paying the taxes, officials have announced that a work license will not be issued for me because of my Baha’i faith. The result of my efforts and complaints to various organizations including “Industry and Mine” organization and “Union Council” was a warning to shut down my shop, which was finally executed despite twenty days of suffering and efforts to stop.
Finally, as a conclusion, I would like to just refer to one of the officials who recently told me that he would not let me open my shop and work and that I can even complain to the supreme leader.
Use your own Judgment.