Persecution of Bahá'ís
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Persecution of Bahá'ís occurs in various countries, especially in
Bahá'í spokespeople, as well as the
The Bahá'í Faith was established in 1863 by Bahá'u'lláh in Iran. Eighty-nine percent of Iranians adhere to the
Concerning the historical context of the persecutions, Friedrich W. Affolter in "War Crimes, Genocide, & Crimes against Humanity" writes:
Bahá'u'lláh's writings deal with a variety of themes that challenge long-cherished doctrines of Shí'i Islam. In addition to making the 'heretic'[sic] claim of being a 'Manifestation of God,' he suggested that school curricula should include '
WesternSciences,' that the nation states (Muslim and non-Muslim) should establish a world federal government, and that men and women were equal. Bahá'u'lláh also wrote that in this time and age, priests were no longer necessary for religious guidance. Humanity, he argued, had reached an age of maturity where it was incumbent upon every individual to search for God and truth independently.
These principles did not only call into question the need for a priesthood, but also the entire Shí'i ecclesiastical structure and the vast system of endowments, benefices and fees that sustained it. No surprise then that in the following decades until the overthrow of the
Qájár dynastyin 1925, it was the mullas who instigated attacks against the Bahá'ís in cities or villages where the clerical establishment was particularly influential.
In addition to this, the
Initially, the mullas hoped to stop the Bábí movement from spreading by denouncing its followers as
apostatesand enemies of God. These denouncements resulted in mob attacks, public executions and torture of early Bábís. When the Bábís (in accordance with Koranic principles) organized to defend themselves, the government sent troops into a series of engagements that resulted in heavy losses on both sides. The Báb himself was imprisoned from 1846 until 1850 and eventually publicly executed. In August 1852, two deranged Bábís attempted to kill the Shah in revenge for the execution of the Báb. This resulted in an extensive pogrom during which more than 20,000 Bábís – among them 400 Shí'i mullas who had embraced the Bábí teachings – lost their lives.
Others have stated that the Bábís originally armed themselves and prepared for a holy war that became defensive when they encountered state troops in several locations and that two to three thousand Bábís were killed.
Bahá'u'lláh took a more conciliatory position, forbidding the use of