05/28/2008, 00.00
IRAN
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An anti- Bahá'í organisation set up in Tehran

The new movement is created following the latest arrest of Bahá'í faithful. It will have a website to gather signatures opposed to the “underground” activities attributed to the group, seen by Shia Muslims as heretical. Their detention follows that of Muslim converts to Christianity.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – The attack against Iran’s Bahá'í community goes on. After the arrest of six of its members in the last few weeks on charges of “subversion”, the Fars news agency reported the creation of a new organisation to fight the supposedly heretical religious group which has been persecuted since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and this despite claims by the Iranian government that all Iranians are free to profess their faith and enjoy equal rights.

The wave of arrests against Bahá'ís comes a few weeks after the authorities searched the homes of Muslim converts to Christianity, arresting some of them. However, whereas in this last case the charges are of leaving Islam, government spokesperson Gholam-Hossein Elham denied that religion had anything to do with the arrest of Bahá'ís.

The case is such that one of the regime’s most influential figures, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, who publicly stated that Bahá'ís are entitled to the same rights as every other Iranian citizen, was indirectly chided by Fars when it quoted an “expert” who said that “truly great ayatollahs never compromised with the Bahá'í sect,” a group the latter claimed had unspecified ties to Israel.

The would-be anti-Bahá'í organisation will be tasked with openly fighting the “underground activities” of this community, which is Iran’s largest religious minority with about 300,000 members.

Its first step will be to set up a website that will gather signatures to condemn Bahá'í scheming.

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