March 11, 2009
Q&A: Ask your questions on Baha’i faith and Iran

Iran arrested seven leaders of the religious Baha’i community last year, charging them with espionage and alleging that the five men and two women are spies for Israel. Baha’i headquarters are located in Israel.

Iranian leaders view the religion as heresy and it has been banned since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Many followers of the Baha’i faith in Iran have been arrested, imprisoned or executed.

The Baha’i faith is a monotheistic religion with origins in 19th-century Iran. Baha’is are considered Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, with about 300,000 members.

The U.S. has condemned Iran for its persecution of the Baha’is, calling the detainment of religious leaders “baseless.”

Thank you for your questions.’s weekly radio show explored the background and history of the Baha’i faith, religious persecution in Iran and the arrest and forthcoming trial of the seven Baha’i leaders.

Martin Savidge hosted a panel of guests:

Dwight Bashir is a senior advisor for the Middle East at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Mr. Bashir is a specialist in ethnic and religious conflict and preventive diplomacy. He has traveled widely in Europe, the Middle East and West Africa and has lectured and published on a wide array of topics in international affairs, including human rights, religious extremism and U.S. foreign policy.

Kit Bigelow is the director of external affairs for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the U.S. Since 1985, she has represented the National Spiritual Assembly in the promotion and protection of human rights, including religious freedom, the rights of women, U.S. ratification of United Nations human rights treaties and the elimination of racism. She advocates on these issues at the White House, the State Department, the Congress and the U.N. She has testified before Congress on the oppression of the Bahá’ís in Iran and of Egypt. 

Trita Parsi is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on U.S.-Iranian relations, Iranian politics and the balance of power in the Middle East. He is the author of “Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States” and an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute. He was born in Iran and has followed Middle East politics through work in the field and experience on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations.




i am bahai religon girl and want to marry muslim boy is it possible? how?


Hi,  I hope you can find someone who can clarify the Book of Daniel Chapter 12, Verse 6  i have read the internet material and spoken to a religious scholar to get a clarification.  But it is still not clear to me. This is when Daniel is on the river and asks “how long will it be to the end of these wonders”. And I heard the man clotheth in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and left hand unto heaven and sware by Him that liveth forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half….”

Abdul Baha says in his book “Some Answered Questions” (pg 43) that the fingers held up by the man equal 3.5 years or 42 months or 1260 days.  Since 1260 days is equal to1260 years in the Bible, Abdul Baha ties this prophecy to the coming of the BAB.   

According to the Hejira of Muhammad, the year 1260 is equal to the calendar year of 1844, which is the year that the Bab hearled that he was the new manifestation of God.

So how do you interpret this and what are your thoughts?  Is there something written that talks about the interpretation of time?  Is Abdul Baha getting his interpretation from other writings? How does he arrive at 3.5 years? 

Please let me know your thoughts.  Thank you in advance for your assistance. Kind Regards , Peter  


I want to ask some questions directly to the NSA. How do I do this?


Thanks, WORLDFOCUS! I’ve been a fan of your stories and have RSS feeds for this one. A good update – a good follow! Keep it up!


As far as I know you are the first news agency that has dedicated a complete program to the situation of the Baha’is in Iran. I greatly admire and appreciate your work.


To answer my own question I think Article 18 says:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

…in community with others…

It does NOT sound like administration is itself protected by the Declaration, but rather communal forms of worship. Does that sound like a correct interpretation to folks?


If I were to read about these horrific happenings in Iran and see that these people were experiencing persecution, I might wonder who was being truthful. If you feel that way, you might want to go to the National Baha’i website to see if you think that people who live lives as it shows would be capable of the alleged crimes for which they are being held. \Thank you, World Focus.


Thank you so much for your coverage of the Baha’i situation in Iran this evening. I appreciate hearing all the panelists, and learning more about Iran itself.


[…] addthis_url = ‘’; addthis_title = ‘On+World+Focus+Radio+Today%2C+Baha%26%238217%3Bis+in+Iran%3A+Questions+and+answers’; addthis_pub = ”; […]


There are allot of details specified with references at Wikipedia – see then go under “Current situation” to “Arrest of Bahá’í leaders” in the outline.


I understand the Baha’is have voluntarily and preemptively dismantled their national and local organizations (again) and have asked for the trial to be set aside. I also see that Governments and NGOs and open letters have generally called for achieving the rights outlined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

How do these two things compare – does the Rights standard allow for organizations to be allowed?

I also see that the trial has been postponed a couple times since it was announced. What is the latest?


What to say when words are no longer sufficient?
When many words, informing various languages themselves, are no longer the efficient ignitions by which enlightened meanings may come to be understood? For though much be said and thought, understandings are never entirely the same with which, like sticks of wood rubbed quickly together or rocks struck hard side by side: opinions, often, only clash producing sparks and flames of endless differences even by labyrinthine ways of etymologies and meanings with counterpoints of various emotions and perceptions which seemed, formerly, to be mutually understood…


Thank you so much for bringing this matter to the world attention.


What is happening to the Baha’is in Iran is chillingly reminiscent of the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany. The world has said “Never Again”. Let us, people everywhere who cherish the freedom to worship, raise an outcry that cannot be ignored by our governments nor that of Iran.


[…] March 17th on World Focus, PBS’s nightly international news program. According to the World Focus website this program will “will explore the background and history of the Baha’i faith, religious […]


Thank you Mr.Savidge and the team for bringing this matter to the world attention


Thank you so much for bringing these circumstances to the world’s attention!!!!


[…] Martin Savidge and will feature a panel of guests. Questions can be submitted in advance at: Q&A: Ask your questions on Baha’i faith and Iran | Worldfocus You can tune into the live online show on Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. EST at: News internet […]


Baha’i marriage is not recognised, Baha’is can’t get a birth certificate, are denied school, university, work, pension, proper burial or even a grave, unwelcome in their own country they cannot secure passports to leave and their properties, businesses, savings and possessions have been confiscated all in an attempt to irradicate them despite Koranic instructions on tolerance and freedom of religious choice. In this we witness both the worst and the best of human behaviour and this will undoubtedly be one of Iran’s most enduring legacies.


Thank you for shining a light on yet another attempt to limit personal freedoms. These people are no different than others that have pledged their love and faith. Let us not forget–we all owe them many prayers and support.


Thank you so much for this forum. I am praying for the Bahai Seven, as I pray for peace in the world everyday. I have all ready asked a question and left a comment.


Martin Flick, I think you may find the following site to be interesting:


It’s good to see such media attention being focused on this issue. But, religious persecution is going on all over the world – witness the Falun Gong in China, the Tibet problem, and others. Houses of worship of other faiths in Iran are also being raided, some of their followers are harassed. Let’s deal with all of those issues, through our good offices in this country. The Baha’i Seven can be utilized as a focal point, but let’s not forget other countries, other persecutions going on.


Thanks so much for bringing this very important matter to the forefront so that the world will be aware of what is going on.


Thank you Mr. Savidge!


Thank you so much for expanding your coverage. Let’s hope other media outlets follow suit, realizing that they are overlooking the persecution of 300,000+ in Iran.


The savagery against the innocent Baha’is of Iran by the Islamic Republic of Iran has in an unprecedented fashion put the spot light on such heinous and barbaric acts. For the first time, even the Iranian free-thinkers and promoters of the human rights have come to complain about such senseless crimes. The world is awakening and the criminals cannot continue the atrocities without some kind of accountability for much longer.


It is very heartwarming to me as well as my other fellow Baha’i brothers and sisters, especially the ones in Iran coping with the daily hardships, that the world has taken the plight of the Baha’is seriously. We are hoping that with effective dialogue and negotiations at the highest levels of government, the Baha’is be recognized for the values they stand for, and not be considered as a threat, allowed to live with dignity amongst their compatriots, and be assured that their human rights are being upheld. Thank you for your efforts.


The Bahai community is extremely concerned with the plight of our fellow relionist in Iran. These
7 jailed ( and there might be more) are denied prayer books….what danger does a people who’s faith teaches to support their government, who pose no threat to anyone,have? A PRAYER BOOK…
Many of our Bahais have myterously disappeared when taken by the police….PLEASE help us put the eyes of the world on this injustice! We pray for an end to this genocide.


Dear World Focus:
Thank you so much for bringing this situation to the world’s attention, on behalf of the Baha’i community in Iran. I am most appreciative.


Thanks for the article, I also found this:


I am very thankful to Worldfocus team for hosting this Q & A and raising the public’s awareness of this religious genocide. Hopefully, fifty years from now, our children would not ask “how was it possible that the civilized world could have watched such a crime against a group of people because of their beliefs but remained silent?” Let’s support this type of activities that helps to raise awareness, so the history would not repeat itself.


I wish to personally thank Mr. Savidge and the Worldfocus team for putting this together. This is a case that affects freedom of conscience and the future of all Iranians, of all and no particular faith. It is also a case of cultural genocide or genocide by attrition as has been termed by some experts. Here we have a chance to save lives before the worst happens. We must keep this issue in the public light, until all Baha’i prisoners are freed, and Baha’is are free to practice and hold their religious faith.

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