Education Is Not a Crime campaign underscores exclusion of Baha’i from Iranian universities
Ottawa – February 27, 2015 – On the eve of today’s first global Education Is Not a Crime Day, MP Irwin Cotler rose in the House yesterday to call for an end to the ban on university education for the Baha’i religious minority in Iran. Cotler, Liberal critic for rights and freedoms and international justice, called the ban “a case study of the persecution and prosecution of the Bahá’i.”
Members of the Baha’i community have been prohibited from teaching or studying in Iran’s universities for over 30 years. Moreover, they are subject to a constant threat of raids, arrests, detention, and imprisonment, as well as state-sanctioned incitement to hatred and unprosecuted violent attacks.
“The Iranian government has made being a Baha’i a crime,” Cotler said, “but we can change that. We can give voice to their rights.”
Education Is Not a Crime Day has been launched by Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Maziar Bahari, along with Nobel laureates including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Iranian lawyer and activist Shirin Ebadi. Bahari’s film To Light a Candle, which was screened in Ottawa this week, examines the repression of the Baha’i and the community’s response to it, including the establishment of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education.