As You Read This Letter, I Am Behind Bars: Baha’i Persecution in Iran

“I see the good in the world because I choose to. I don’t imagine that it’s there; it’s there waiting to be noticed.”

I seem to be on a bit of a “peace and equality” theme here, both because what I have personally seen and because of the wars currently being waged in our world today in the name of religion (seriously, my ultimate pet peeve). There is a quieter war being waged in Iran today as well. It’s not in the mainstream media so most of you probably haven’t heard about it, but it’s there. The Iranian government has been persecuting the Baha’is for decades now, and recently, there has been an increase in imprisonment and inequalities towards this group of people just because of their beliefs.

So who are the Baha’is anyways?

Baha’is follow Bahá’u’lláh, the messenger of God for this day and age who arrived in Persia in the early eighteen hundreds. Baha’is believe that God has sent down different Messengers (Mohammad, Krishna, Zoroaster, Jesus Christ…) to help mankind, and that Bahá’u’lláh (the founder of the Baha’i faith) is the prophet for this day and age. He is a son of God, the one foretold about in the Bible (the “second coming” of Christ), who has brought teachings to help our world through this violent and turbulent time. Because Baha’is believe in all of the prophets of the past (they believe each one is a chapter in the one religion sent by the one and only God), they therefore accept all religions. The Baha’is believe in world peace and universal justice. They believe that every human is created equal, and therefore deserves to be treated as such (hence my issues with inequality!). They believe that by living their own lives with truthfulness, forgiveness, compassion, and equality, that they will begin to shape our world into a place without religious wars, or wars of any kind for that matter. And they are right. (Check out this link for more information about the Baha’i faith.)

Now for the letter that spurred me to write this. Entitled “When You Read This I am Behind Bars,” it is written by a man who has recently been imprisoned simply because he is a Baha’i. He could have lied, he could have told the authorities he didn’t truly believe in Bahá’u’lláh as he knew full well that he would be prosecuted as many others before him, but he didn’t. He didn’t renounce his faith, instead, him and his wife are currently serving their year long prison sentence. It’s because of people like him that our world will slowly become a better place. It’s because of his sacrifices that peace will someday seem more attainable. It is because he has chosen to focus on the light instead of the dark that someday our world will see this light as well. It is because he focuses on love instead of hate that he is leading the way for the rest of us. Someday, because of his example, our world will turn into a place where senseless persecutions like this cease to exist. His hope, even through this injustice, is what gives our world hope for a brighter future.

Here it is, When You Read This I am Behind Bars.

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