Posts Tagged ‘persecution of religious minorities in Iran’

Human Rights,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),persecution of religious minorities in Iran

Trump to make address religious freedoms at the UN General Assembly

Religious Freedom is a Pillar of Trump’s Foreign Policy

Trump to make address religious freedoms at the UN General Assembly

President Trump presiding over the U.N. Security Council session on September 26 expected to make a stand for universal values including religious freedoms and to make a clear case for greater multilateral pressure on Iran

“Trump is expected to advance religious liberty at the UN”, writes Ambassador Kenneth Blackwell in his recent article in The American Thinker. He refers to the widespread human rights abuses in Iran, with religious minorities among the worst affected groups.

Based on Amb. Blackwell’s article, a recent US State Department report estimated that between 2010 and 2017, the Iranian regime sentenced over 600 Christians to prison terms. The same report revealed its findings on anti-Christian messages within the Iranian state-run media. It found a recent uptick in aggressive anti-Christian sentiment, which corresponded with increased raids on places of worship.

Last month, the Iranian regime imprisoned an entire Christian congregation. Each member of the church was sentenced to one year in prison for practicing Christianity.

The Regime Cannot Survive in an Environment of Religious Freedom

The uptick in home-based church raids has coincided with a period of increased uncertainty for the clerical regime. Domestic pressure is mounting as public protests become increasingly common.

So far, the regime’s response has been to lock up protestors and political dissidents. The decision to imprison Christians reveals that the regime sees religious freedom as a direct threat to its authority. The regime does not believe it can maintain its grip on power in an environment of religious freedom writes Blackwell.

Ambassador Ken Blackwell the former U.S. representative to the United Nations emphasized that the Iran nuclear deal sought to usher in a new era of moderation among the Iranian leadership. The Obama administration and its European allies believed that the deal would force the Iranian regime to accept religious tolerance and end its persecution of Christians and other minorities.

Now, more than three years later, rather than promoting religious freedom, Rouhani and Khamenei have only intensified their campaign against minorities.

The US administration should back alternative forms of government in Iran

Blackwell believes that for the Trump administration, violation of religious freedom is far more of a priority. It has made it a pillar of its foreign policy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend the Values Voter Summit this week, an international discussion of religious liberties. It will be the first time a Secretary of State has attended the summit.

Given the central role religious freedom occupies in Trump’s foreign policy, the US administration should back alternative forms of government in Iran that share the same values, writes Amb. Blackwell. He emphasized:

“Although Iran is presently one of the world’s most troubled areas in terms of religious liberty and human rights, it is also home to one of the most active, organized, and well-established movements in favor of Western-style values and democratic governance.  There is no better or more obvious way of promoting those values in Iranian society than by endorsing and supporting the MEK and its allies. ”

The Next Step

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) at its core hold those values. Its President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, has a ten-point plan for bringing democracy to Iran, founded on religious freedom of expression.

The MEK has been behind the expanding protest movement within Iran. It aided the spread of uprisings in December and January and has been behind some of the largest protests within the country since.

In response to the group’s mounting success, the Iranian regime has launched a brutal crackdown on MEK activities. The regime has imprisoned more than 8,000 of its members and killed over 50.

This has not deterred the group or its supporters in Iran. The Iranian public has continued to take to the streets, despite the risk to their lives and their freedom, ignited by Maryam Rajavi’s calls for a “year full of uprisings”. In August alone, protestors took to the streets in more than 24 Iranian cities, with many protesters calling for regime change, writes Amb. Blackwell.

President Trump has the opportunity to make a prominent statement next week at the UN Security Council Session. The Iranian people deserve the right to exercise their essential rights and liberties, including religious liberties. Trump can create his legacy as the President that made that happen. It is time to tighten the pressure on the clerical regime and pledge US support to the Iranian opposition.

Staff Writer


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Dervish Gonabadi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,persecution of religious minorities in Iran

Daravish Gonabadi denied rights to defend themselves, refuse to appear in court.

Sufis Denied Legal Rights, Refuse to Appear Before Court

Daravish Gonabadi denied rights to defend themselves, refuse to appear in court.

The persecution of religious minorities in Iran- The Dervishes Gonabadi arrested

On Monday, September 16th, Sepideh Moradi, and Shokufeh Yadollahi, two Iranian Sufi women, both refused to appear in court to respond to charges resulting from protests on February 19th by Iran’s Gonabadi Sufi in northern Tehran. Their refusal was in protest of the denial of defense counsel for Sufi prisoners and the failure on the part of prison authorities to observe due process of law.

Sepideh Moradi was summoned to the 15th Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran by Judge Salavati on July 14, 2018. Declaring that Sufi prisoners have been denied their legal right to attorneys, she refused to appear in court.

Sepideh Moradi and Shokoufeh Yadollahi are two of a total of eleven Sufi, or Dervish, women who have been detained in Qarchak (Shahr-e Ray) Prison since February of this year. The women were participants in an anti-government protest by the country’s Gonabadi Dervishes in Tehran.

When suppressive forces arrived, the protest grew into a violent confrontation between the demonstrators and security forces, and a number of Sufi protesters were arrested. The women were beaten severely when they were arrested and were interrogated late into the night, verbally abused, and threatened.

Sepideh Moradi and Shokoufeh Yadollahi went on a hunger strike beginning on Monday, June 11th, to protest their treatment by guards at the prison.

Two other members of the Sufi Gonabadi Order who were arrested, Mohammad Karimaei and Sekhavat Salimi, also refused to appear in court in protest.

Mohammad Karimaei, who is currently being held at the Great Tehran Penitentiary, cited the questions submitted by the Revolutionary Court as examples of inquisition. In refusing to appear in court, he declared that he is protesting his denial to legal representation and the court’s failure to comply with its own legal procedures in the handling of his case.

Sekhavat Salimi refused to appear before the court, saying that, “[s]ince no questions are asked except for ideological questions at the revolutionary court and there is not a lawyer advocating our legal rights, so I do not attend court.”

The February 19th protest was sparked by the arrest of Nematollah Riahi, a member of the Gonabadi Dervish community, the day before. Protesters gathered in front of Police Station 102 on Pasdaran Avenue in northern Tehran to demonstrate. Clashes occurred after security forces arrived to suppress the protesters. The Dervishes said that the police provoked the violence and posted photos from the night of men with bandaged and bloodied faces from security forces. At least 300 Sufis were arrested.

Another Sufi arrested during the February 19th protests, 51-year-old bus driver Mohammad Salas, was executed by the regime on June 18th after a sham trial, despite international pleas from human rights groups, including Amnesty International. Salas was tortured and coerced into a confession that he later retracted, denied a lawyer, and convicted despite evidence that he was arrested before the crime he was convicted for occurred.

The persecution of religious minorities in Iran is part of the regime’s repressive measures to intimidate the public and has nothing to do with Islam.  That’s why from the outset, one of the major areas, where the main opposition to the regime – the MEK– has been focusing on, has been to expose the anti-Islamic treatment of the religious minorities under the guize of Islam.

The political platform of the MEK includes several key values that are diametrically opposed to the situation currently unfolding for the Sufi community in Iran. Some of these values are:

Religion and State: The Iranian regime has a long history of oppressing Sufis and other religious minorities. The MEK condemns discrimination against the followers of any religion or denomination.

Judicial System: The MEK believes in the rule of law and justice. A modern judicial system will be based on the principles of presumption of innocence, the right to defense, effective judicial protection and the right to be tried in a public court. Judges will have total independence. The mullahs’ Sharia law will be abolished.

Human Rights: The MEK is committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international covenant and conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Death Penalty: The MEK is committed to the abolition of the death penalty.

Staff Writer

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