The persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

Iran, the birthplace of the Baha'i faith, now seems intent on burying the religion. That is the story Maziar Bahari tells in a new documentary film called To Light a Candle. The Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker is perhaps best-known as the subject of Jon Stewart's film Rosewater, chronicling his wrongful incarceration in Iran's Evin Prison.
Maziar Bahari's documentary "To Light A Candle" shines a light on the persecution of Baha'is in Iran. (Maziar Bahari)

The very place where the Baha'i faith was born has become the country where its people are the most persecuted.  

Founded in 19th century Persia, the Baha'i community promoted equality between men and women, and peaceful resolution to problems with a heavy emphasis on universal education. 

In 1979, the leaders of the Islamic revolution in Iran found these principles to be offensive. They began a systematic campaign against Baha'is living in that country -- a campaign that included imprisonment, torture and execution.  In addition, Iran's extremist leaders, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, ruled that Baha'is could no longer be university students or teachers.

Maziar Bahari, journalist and documentary filmmaker. (Fred Chartrand/Associated Press)
Maziar Bahari is all too familiar with the horror of oppression in Iran. In 2009, the Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker was imprisoned  and tortured in the country's notorious Evin prison…in what might be called a tragedy of errors.

He was accused of being a spy after appearing in a satirical segment on The Daily Show. 

The host, Jon Stewart, wrote and directed Rosewater, a feature film based on Maziar Bahari's memoir.

Bahari has now turned his lens on the plight of the Baha'is in Iran. He has produced a film called To Light a Candle.


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