PERSECUTION OF THE BAHA'I; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 200
(Extensions of Remarks - December 19, 2018)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1687]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                       PERSECUTION OF THE BAHA'I


                          HON. ELIOT L. ENGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, December 19, 2018

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to condemn Iran's state-sponsored 
persecution of its Baha'i minority.
  While the global community is rightfully concerned about Iran's ties 
to international terrorism and its destabilizing activities in the 
region, we must not forget those who struggle for religious freedom and 
basic civil liberties in Iran.
  As the largest non-Muslim religious minority community in Iran, the 
Baha'i people have long been subjected to severe religious persecution 
by the Iranian regime. Several of its leaders have been arrested, and 
members have been executed. According to the 2018 International 
Religious Freedom Report, Iranian authorities have arbitrarily detained 
over 1,000 Baha'is over the past decade.
  The Baha'i people are routinely and systematically discriminated 
against on the basis of religion. Since 2014, officials have infringed 
on the economic pursuits of the Baha'i by closing over 600 of their 
  In addition, Baha'i children are regularly denied access to schools 
and higher education. Even if they are permitted to attend school, they 
are not free to learn about their religion or participate in religious 
practice. If they do, they face harassment and potentially expulsion.
  The discrimination and persecution of this community is shameful and 
inexcusable. The social teachings of the Baha'i Faith--including the 
equality of all humans, regardless of gender, race, or class, and the 
principle of each individual's responsibility to investigate the 
truth--are universal values that should be guaranteed. These are human 
rights we must protect.
  The United States and the international community must not ignore 
this egregious abuse and blatant discrimination against the Iranian 
Baha'i community. We must stand up to the Iranian regime and hold it 
accountable for its actions.
  By passing H. Res. 274, we shine a light on the persecution of the 
Baha'i, and hopefully move us one step closer to true religious freedom 
in Iran.