Baha’is in Iran denied higher education

In Iran, since the early 1980s, members of the Baha’i Faith in Iran have been denied the right to higher education.

Dear Editor:

Living in Canada we have a tendency to take for granted the universal human right to education.  Article 26 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human rights states “Everyone shall have the right to education” and “that higher education shall be equally accessible to all based on merit” and “individuals shall not be discriminated against on the basis of religious, political or ideological affiliations.” However, in today’s shrinking world, not everyone is afforded that luxury.

In Iran, since the early 1980s, members of the Baha’i Faith have been denied the right to higher education based solely on ideological and religious beliefs.

To overcome an unacceptable oppressive government policy, the Baha’i community in Iran devised a peaceful solution by forming the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education which provided university level courses to Baha’i youth in the kitchens and living rooms of Baha’i families throughout the country.

In June, 2011, Iranian government agents conducted raids on these homes, seized the computers and confiscated educational materials.

They also arrested 19 BIHE professors and administrators.  Six of them are imprisoned and serving four- to five-year sentences at this time.

Mishkin Tavakoli feels truly blessed to be living in Canada and able to experience the freedom of access to educational opportunities.

After an urgent need to leave Iran prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Tavakoli family eventually settled in Summerland in 1989. Mishkin attended primary school in Summerland and later went on to study at Okanagan College.

When I asked him how he would feel being denied access to higher education based on the requirement of renouncing his Baha’i religion he answered “I could never imagine what that would be like.  I guess I would feel terribly disillusioned and trapped, unable to pursue my life goals, and it would greatly limit my choices in a career path.  I wouldn’t be able to compete on a level playing field in seeking employment.  It’s a hard question to answer not having walked in their shoes (referring to Baha’i youth in Iran); however, I do communicate with cousins in Iran from time to time who share their guarded concerns with the situation.”

When you prohibit an entire generation access to higher education it’s like cultural genocide.

It’s very difficult to succeed in today’s world with a limited education.

We would do well to remember the significance of our universal human right to education, free of harassment and discrimination.

Richard Davies

Summerland

 

Just Posted

Ready for the festive season

In 1955, Summerland had a dazzling display of holiday lights

South Okanagan Métis step up involvement with school district

The association wants to have more of a role in the inclusion of Métis culture, history in schools

Open houses regarding transit between Penticton and Kelowna

The meetings will be held in Summerland, Princeton, Penticton, Peachland and Osoyoos on Dec. 4 and 5

Third fatality in 24 hours on South Okanagan roads

A vehicle incident closed Highway 3 for five hours Monday night

CONTEST: New year, new you

KimXO has partnered with Black Press Media and Third Space for a brand new contest

Your morning news in 90: Nov. 21, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

Friendly falcon now in residence at Okanagan raptor rehab centre

A rare prairie falcon caught in Trail will spend the winter at the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Watchdog calls for probe into police board spending on former Victoria police chief

Police Complaint Commissioner says accountable and transparent review is in public interest

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

Most Read