Bahai Prosecution in Iran
A recent article from the Huffington Post (http://huff.to/1FgczLE) describes some of the persecution that members of the Baha’i Faith are faced with in Iran. In this particular instance, the persecution takes the form of the Baha’is’ dead relatives having their graves desecrated by those wishing to hurt the Baha’is.
The Baha’i Faith is a new religious movement based out of Iran. The religion has close ties to Islam, and this is the primary cause for the persecution. As described in this article and in many others (some of which can be accessed through links in the aforementioned article), the Muslim population in Iran – the clear majority – label Baha’is as heretics and blasphemers. This is despite the fact that the Baha’i Faith is an altogether peaceful and virtuous religious tradition that condemns violence and every other sort of evil.
So, then, why is it that Baha’is are so grotesquely persecuted? The issue is one that afflicts all new religious movements, I think. Older, more established and more traditional religious groups seem to act hostile towards new religious movements. In this case, the Islamic tradition, which the Baha’i Faith has very strong ties to, has become extremely hostile in response to the new and different views that the Baha’is endorse. And it does not appear to matter whether the methods and ideas of new religious movements are positive or not. In the case of the Baha’is, the charges placed upon them by the Muslim authorities in Iran are completely ludicrous as the very teachings of the Baha’i Faith contradict those charges entirely – and yet the hostility is there nonetheless.
By and large, the process of overcoming hostility and opposition is one that seems standard for nearly all new religious movements to go through. For instance, both Jesus Christ and Muhammad – the founders of Christianity and Islam – faced severe hostility, in large part due to religious conflict. It seems that overcoming this initial opposition is something that all new religious movements simply must go through, and the unfortunate Baha’is of Iran are no exception. Of course, it would be ideal if different traditions could merely respect one another, such that new traditions did not need to overcome such hostility, but currently, for such a thing to happen seems quite unlikely.