The city’s Baha’i community has condemned the arrest of seven Baha’i leaders and 11 others in Iran.
As the February 7 date for the Iran trial draws closer, the Baha’i community of around 400 members in the city has organised a devotional gathering at the Baha’i Centre at Churchgate on Sunday.
The community hasbeen organising regular prayer chains since their leaders were arrested in May 2008, with each family choosing a 30-minute time slot to pray for the victims.
The seven leaders have allegedly been arrested on charges of espionage, propaganda against Islam, and complicity with Israel, among others, and the 11 Baha’is arrested this month were accused of participating in Ashura demonstrations on December 27.
“These accusations are surprising and false, because Baha’is are not allowed to participate in politics,” said Tahiri Gaur, the spokesperson for the community in Mumbai. “The Iranian government has no proof to validate its accusations, and our leaders are imprisoned in unknown locations, without any scope of justice.”
Gaur added that the Iranian government has consistently been targeting the Baha’i community with a specific purpose of exterminating them. “In Iran, the Baha’is are the largest minority, but they are not recognised. They are not even given educational rights.”
Baha’is from around the world have been approaching human rights groups to build pressure on the Iranian government. The Baha’i faith was founded in 19th century Persia by their prophet Bahaullah, who propagated the spiritual unity of religions.