Beaverton Baha'i Center
Reply to: Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education
December 9, 2014
To the American Bahá'í community
Dearly loved Friends,
We are pleased to announce the launching of Education Is Not a Crime, an innovative new campaign designed to show support for all those denied access to higher education in Iran—including Bahá’ís—and to remind the world of the unjust imprisonment of the courageous educators and administrators who, through the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), attempted to provide a workable alternative. The campaign will revolve around two elements: an interactive, multimedia website (at educationisnotacrime.me) and a powerful new film, To Light a Candle, both produced by Off Centre Productions, a company owned by the noted Iranian-Canadian journalist, filmmaker, and human rights activist Maziar Bahari, who currently resides in the United Kingdom and has recently been the subject of a feature film, Rosewater.
The campaign will culminate in “Education Is Not a Crime Day” on February 27, 2015. On that date (or in its close vicinity), we are asking Bahá’í communities across the United States to host screenings of To Light a Candle, a 55-minute documentary that presents a compelling case for the Bahá'ís of Iran and their resilient response—in the creation of the BIHE—to the cruel deprivations they continue to endure at the hands of the Iranian regime. While universities with Bahá’í campus associations may be the most appropriate venues for such screenings, educational institutions without a Bahá’í club are still quite accessible, and movie theaters, community centers, and public libraries would also be suitable locations. Wherever possible, each screening should be followed immediately by a discussion featuring a panel consisting of a well-known moderator, a former student of the BIHE, and a professor, journalist, or human rights activist familiar with the situation of Iran’s Bahá'ís. A flyer that can be customized for local advertising is attached.
To increase public awareness of the gross injustice of this case, it is vital that the campaign reach beyond the venues where screenings will be offered. For this reason, the interactive website (educationisnotacrime.me) has been created. Not only does the site provide a rich background of information about the persecution of Iran’s Bahá'ís, it provides creative ways for supporters to make their views known. One such assists individuals to upload their own videos making it known to the Iranian government how the denial of education to Bahá’í youth and others hurts the country. (No equipment more elaborate than a smart phone is needed, and the mobile version of the website makes uploading easy.) Note that it is not necessary to mention your membership in the Bahá'í community in your statement of support. Your statement will be equally as valid without mention of personal religious affiliation and should not be supplemented with that information unless there is a compelling reason to do so. (An example would be a family connection with the BIHE prisoners.) Needless to say, the tone of your statement should be respectful, and it should state facts, express your opinion on the impact of those facts, and avoid pejoratives. A sampling of videos capturing the reactions of individuals to a few screenings of To Light a Candle that have already taken place is available on the website.
Please visit the website soon to explore ways you and your community can participate. You will find other forms of support, including use of social media, are suggested on the website and are an integral part of the campaign; indeed, the campaign is already active on Twitter and Facebook. (To join the conversation, please follow and “like” the campaign’s pages, and use its official hashtag, #educationisnotacrime.) As soon as a community, college club, or an individual (with the approval of her or his Local Spiritual Assembly) organizes a screening, we ask you to contact the campaign at its email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you will be provided with online access to the film.
Many of you who are connected to universities will receive emails from the campaign’s mailbox. These will provide you with suggestions for support you may be able to carry out on your campus. You may also pose questions about how the resources of the campaign can help with an initiative that you are planning. In addition, you are warmly invited to sign up for the campaign newsletter for updates.
We are confident that To Light a Candle and the Education Is Not a Crime campaign will be embraced enthusiastically by the American Bahá’í community. The film is yet another powerful addition to the extraordinary set of films, statements, and gestures that have recently been made by influential Iranians—none of them Bahá'ís—to bring attention to the indignities and injustices that have year after year been heaped upon our sisters and brothers in Faith. We have every reason to feel encouraged that this remarkable development is part of a larger process that will inevitably result in their full emancipation and recognition as a legitimate religious community in the land of their Faith’s birth.
With loving Bahá'í greetings,
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF
THE BAHÁ'ÍS OF THE UNITED STATES
Reply to: Social Activitism
His purpose is to bring about a spiritually based global civilization. Each of the previous religions (we know of Hinduism, Buddhism, Abraham's religion, Judaism, Zoarasterism, Christianity, and Islam from historical records, little is known about the details of native American religions) going back 10,000 years or so promised or predicted a return or rebirth of the religion that would bring about a time of unity and peace. Baha'u'llah fullfills these promises - here is a link on that http://bci.org/prophecy-fulfilled/ In the mid-nineteenth century, humanity began to develop the technological means to build a global civilization (rapid travel and instantaneous communication - the first telegraph message was sent the day that the Bab announced His mission). The Baha'i revelation has unleashed a spiritual energy in the world to allow the social and economic changes to begin to establish this civilization over the next few centuries. The Baha'i Faith is to provide a nucleus for that civilization as humanity becomes aware that it is needed - so we are tasked with building a world-wide spiritual/social/economic community while the current civilization is going through a series of increasingly severe crises. Here is a link to a series of 114 youth conferences that the Baha'is organized last year http://news.bahai.org/community-news/youth-conferences/ - we have had neighborhood programs going on in the Portland area and all over the world - these conferences were to promote a significant increase in the tempo of those programs.
Reply to: Independent Investigation
An essay on the nature of evil by Dr. Susan Maneck.http://pharisaic.susanmaneck.com/People often ask how can God allow evil if God is pure goodness.This essay focuses on how religious leaders can reject the new religion time and time again.
Reply to: Guidelines for Stuff to BuySellTradeGive
I have an album of Baha'i music. The title is "Baha'i Victory Chorus" and is directed by Russ Garcia. It was given to me as a birthday gift - but I don't have a way of playing it. So, if interested, come and get it. 503-318-9343 or email@example.com. If you wish to grease my palm with some change - yup! thanks. Judith
Reply to: Guidelines for Stuff to BuySellTradeGive
If you would like to take home a (I think) 6 foot long, 1 year old, heavy duty garden house, come and get it. If you want to donate something for it - even better. 503-318-9343 or firstname.lastname@example.org