Podcast 39: “Education Under Fire”
In this podcast we examine the persecution of the Baha’i community and talk to David Hoffman and Jeff Kaufman, the executive producer and director of the film “Education Under Fire,” a new documentary that profiles an unofficial school that called the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). BIHE is a type of underground university. In Iran, members of the Baha’i faith are not allowed allowed to attend official universities. Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, also provides some background on the situation.
To learn more about the Institute and the campaign behind it visit the documentary’s website here.
Related Links: The Campaign’s Report on Iran’s Systematic Discrimination and Exclusion in Iranian Higher Education
The Bahá’í Faith was founded in the mid-1800s in what is now known as Iran. There are more than five million followers. In Iran, Baha’is are the largest non-Muslim minority religion, so they are perceived as a threat to the country’s religious establishment. Because of that, Baha’is face systematic persecution in nearly every facet of life – from employment to education.
After the 1979 Revolution, Iranian authorities renewed a historic campaign to eradicate members of the Baha;i community. Since then, over 200 Iranian Baha’i ’s have been executed, disappeared, or killed for their beliefs. Thousands more have been imprisoned and have had personal property confiscated or destroyed. And all members of the community are barred from obtaining higher education.
Many Baha’is are currently behind bars, even those who are not politically active and simply support Baha’i institutions.The BIHE was founded in the mid-1980s, and has never been legally recognized by the government. Earlier this year, seven people associated with the Institute were sentenced to 4 and 5 year prison terms.