Published On: Thu, Sep 19th, 2019

Iran moves to ban education for non-Muslims as ‘propaganda act’

Iran’s new education minister Mohsen Haji Mirzaei has used the launch of a new country-wide project as an opportunity to strike out against Iran’s religious minorities, saying Wednesday that students of “other religious faiths” is “a propaganda act, they are forbidden to go to school.”

Mohsen Haji Mirzaei

Mirzaei said “If students declare that they are followers of other religious faiths” and “And this is a propaganda act, they are forbidden to go to school.”

Iran’s domestic media has not elaborated, but the allegations are a clear violation of the constitution and a violation of the rights of religious minorities.

He was referring to Project Mehr, which, according to him, his ministry had launched a few months earlier.

All of the ministry’s provincial and local offices are taking part in the initiative, he said, adding that the human resources necessary for implementing the project had already been organized.

Shahin Sadeghzadeh Milani, a lawyer and the Legal Director for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, told IranWire, “There are precedents for this and, at least for the Baha’i community, it is not something new. I have personally experienced this. I was allowed to study at middle school for three years after managers of the school who, as it happens, were not against Baha’is in schools, made me promise that I would not talk about my faith in school. Nobody there knew that I was a Baha’i, or anything about my life, the fact that my father had been executed or the unwritten agreement between me and the school officials.”

Milani believes, however, that today schools and education ministry officials have a freer hand to expel students from schools. “These statements by the minister give school officials more freedom to act,” Milani said. “Earlier, even though once in while there were reports that a Baha’i student had been expelled from school, it was not as systematically done as in universities. If they were expelled from one school they had the chance of being accepted by another school, but now this ban can be enforced systematically.”

Shadi Beyzaei, an Iranian Baha’i writer, poet and journalist who now lives in Australia, published a facsimile of a letter that expelled her sister from school in the 1980s. “My sister was expelled three times for being a Baha’i or for being born to a Baha’i family: once from primary school, once from middle school and the third time from high school,” she wrote. “This is the letter of expulsion from middle school.”

IranWire published that image HERE.

“Since this morning when I heard this news I have been in unbelievable agony,” Shadi Beyzaei told IranWire. “All the events of those years reappeared before my eyes. I know that many of my friends have had similar experiences aplenty.”


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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