From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Baha'i holy site destroyed in Iran

From "Michael Day" <>
Date Thu, 22 Apr 2004 18:00:20 +0300

Baha'i World News Service
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Baha'i holy site destroyed in Iran
NEW YORK, United States, 22 April 2004 (BWNS) -- Government authorities in
Iran have destroyed a Baha'i holy site, the Baha'i International Community

The gravesite of Quddus, a prominent figure in early Baha'i history, has been
razed to the ground, despite protests from Baha'is at the local, national,
international levels.

"The destruction and desecration of this holy place were carried out with the
knowledge of the national government to which appeals had been made
beforehand," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i
International Community to the United Nations.

"This act represents yet another example of the ongoing persecution against
Iran's 300,000 member Baha'i community, utterly contradicting the
claim that the human rights situation in Iran is improving," said Ms. Dugal.

Destruction of the gravesite began in February but was temporarily halted
after local Baha'is demanded to see a legal permit for the demolition work.

The Baha'is were referred to national authorities and for a time it appeared
that the desecration had been halted. More recently, it was discovered that
the dismantling of the gravesite had continued surreptitiously over a period
of days until the structure was entirely demolished.

The house-like structure marked the resting place of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali
Barfurushi, known as Quddus (The Most Holy). Quddus was the foremost disciple
of the Bab, the Prophet-Herald of the Baha'i Faith.

"It would be the least that the Government could do at this point to return
the Baha'i community his sacred remains," said Ms. Dugal. "We ask for the
international community's support in this goal."

Ms. Dugal added that the destruction of the gravesite came soon after the
international community failed this year to offer a resolution on the human
rights situation in Iran.

Since the Islamic Republic of Iran was founded in 1979, more than 200 Baha'is
have been killed by the Government. Hundreds more have spent time in prison
and thousands have been deprived of education, property, and employment,
solely because of their religious belief.

The killings and imprisonments of Baha'is have abated in recent years in the
face of increasing international outcry, such as a series of resolutions in
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressing concern over
the treatment of Baha'is.

Over the last two years, however, the CHR has failed to pass such resolutions
owing to efforts by Iran to pursue a "dialogue" with Western nations.

"Unfortunately," said Ms. Dugal, "the Baha'is of Iran still face, day after
day, systematic deprivation of their rights as Iranian citizens -- not only
terms of their civil and political rights, but also in terms of their
economic, social and cultural rights."

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