Iran’s blatant propaganda to frame Bahá’ís through fake videos and hate speech

Iran’s blatant propaganda to frame Bahá’ís through fake videos and hate speech

Geneva, August 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Bahá’í International Community has received news of a shocking new propaganda ploy to incriminate Bahá’ís in Iran through a staged video production filmed in a garden of childhood.

On 31 July, the same day that intelligence agents were raiding Bahá’í homes and arresting preschool teachers, agents also entered a kindergarten in a major city in Iran and distributed Bahá’í books and pamphlets. to their teachers, none of whom are Bahá’ís. The agents then instructed and forced the kindergarten staff to say, on camera, that the Bahá’ís had brought these materials and distributed them to the teachers.

“This shameful act of fraud and pretense, carried out in a kindergarten, once again reveals the Iranian government’s true motives in persecuting Bahá’ís for their faith alone,” said Simin Fahandej, BIC Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. . “As the Iranian government found no trace of evidence for their ridiculous accusations against the Bahá’ís, they have now resorted to fabrication of evidence, using Bahá’í materials to accuse the Bahá’ís of trying to influence and convert Muslim children to the Bahá’í Faith. ‘í”.

Although the Iranian government tries to frame Bahá’ís as converting Muslim children, several official government documents testify to Iran’s plans to, in effect, convert Bahá’í children to Islam.

In 1991, a confidential government memorandum, brought to light at the time by a United Nations Special Rapporteur, prepared by the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council of Iran and signed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself, instructed that Bahá’í children be enrolled in schools that have “a strong and imposing religious ideology” and that Bahá’ís are treated in such a way that “their progress and development are blocked”.

“The Iranian government does not just try to distort history in school textbooks to remove the Bahá’í faith from Iranian history and force Bahá’í children to change their faith,” continued Ms. Fahandej. “But now it is producing false materials to advance its already baseless allegations against the Bahá’ís.”

This incident took place within a broader context of increasing attacks on Bahá’ís in Iran in recent weeks. As of 31 July, the BIC has received reports of more than 196 separate incidents of persecution against Bahá’ís in Iran, including arrests, detentions, confiscation of homes and property, closure of businesses and exclusions from the university.

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence released a rare statement on July 31, in which it alleged that members of the Bahá’í community were “propagating the teachings of fabricated Bahá’í colonialism and infiltrating educational settings,” including kindergartens. Several Bahá’í teachers of kindergarten and preschool were arrested that day on the pretext offered by the Ministry statement. Filming the staged readings now also demonstrates that authorities potentially want to use video footage to substantiate their false claims and seek to incite the general public against them.

Efforts to spread hateful propaganda against Bahá’ís are government policy. The 1991 memorandum of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council of Iran also said that “Iran’s propaganda institutions… must establish an independent section to combat… the Bahá’ís.”

And in March 2021, two human rights groups, the League for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran and the International Federation for Human Rights, published an official Iranian directive instructing local authorities in the city of Sari, in Mazandaran province, to to the north, to “conduct strict controls” over the Bahá’ís in the city, “monitoring their operations” and introduce measures to “identify Bahá’í students” in order to “bring them to Islam”.

“Iranian authorities have spread hate propaganda against Bahá’ís for 43 years,” said Ms. Fahandej. “But Iranians of good will, who number in the millions, realize these lies. The kindergarten incident is the latest in a shameful litany of blatant deception, propaganda and hate speech, but these efforts do not go unnoticed by the international community and only work against Iran’s interests, showing its true motives in persecuting innocent people. just for your beliefs.”

CONTACT: James Samimi Farr U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs 202.833.8990

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