Gohmert to sponsor Baha'i bill

Published on Friday, 26 July 2013 20:11 - Written by By Rebecca Hoeffner rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

Six representatives of the Baha’i community in Tyler approached U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, this week to ask him to cosponsor a resolution condemning Iran’s persecution of Baha’is in the country.

“Rep. Gohmert sympathizes with the human rights violations against the Baha'is in Iran,” said James Motlagh, member of the governing council of the Baha’is in Tyler.

For the past 20 years, the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed resolutions almost annually condemning the government of Iran for its systematic persecution of members if the Baha'i Faith.

“The suffering and losses of the Baha'i community at the bloody hands of the Iranian government are truly tragic,” Rep. Gohmert said in an email. “This type of maltreatment has led to false imprisonment and unwarranted deaths. House Resolution 109 condemns the government of Iran for its unjust treatment of the Baha’i Faith and also condemns their on-going persecution. As people found in Nazi Germany, when persecution of any religious group begins, all people of faith must realize they may be next.”

This resolution was introduced by Republican Michael Grimm of New York, “Condemning the government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the international covenant on human rights.”

The Baha'i faith began in Iran in 1844. Since then, Baha'is in that country have been persecuted with arrests, imprisonment, denial of access to higher education, being fired from employment, marriages not being recognized by the government, desecration of holy places and cemeteries. More than 200 have been executed since the Iranian revolution of 1979, according to the written release.

Currently there are more than 100 Baha'is in prison in Iran under false charges of espionage, threatening national security and blasphemy against Islam.

There are more than 6 million Baha’is worldwide. The Baha'i community has been active in Tyler since the early 1990s.

“All Bahai's throughout the U.S. are meeting with their local U.S. representatives to ask them to cosponsor the resolution, which will help dissuade the Iranian government from persecuting the Iranian Baha'is,” Motlagh said.

Baha'is view the world's major religions as part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Major Baha'i tenets include the oneness of humanity, equality of men and women, eradication of prejudice, harmony of science and religion, universal education and world peace.

To learn more about the Baha'i Faith in America, visit www.bahai.us .