Friday, November 16, 2007

On the Persecution of Baha'is in Iran: A Musician's Story

As Marco has called to my attention, Ruth Glenhill, The Times Online religion correspondent, addresses the worsening conditions for Iranian Baha'is with a story about a Baha'i musician who was denied first being able to study music in Iran and later to perform there. -gw

'Since I was a child I wanted to become a musician. I loved playing the piano. But after my high school graduation I was not accepted to enter the university in Iran.' She was able to go to the unofficial Baha'i higher education institution, but there was no music course on offer. 'I had no other choice and I applied for civil engineering which I did not enjoy, I did not do well and hardly passed the exams. After my BA I decided to go abroad and went to Moscow in order to study music there. It was fantastic, I was able to live my childhood’s dream and I graduated with distinction. I could not wait to return to Iran and start working as a musician.'

But she was held back again. 'In order to perform in public I needed to fill out a form that asked for to the artists’ religion. Like the entrance exam it only had items for Muslim, Jew, Christian and Zoroastrian. When I put Baha’i I was denied. I was not allowed to perform, I was not allowed to play in an orchestra and I was not allowed to give piano lessons."

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