Iranian academic shown as discrimination victim

The U.S. State Department has issued its annual report on religious freedom.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that violations of religious freedom embolden extremists, and said that Iran is among the worst offenders.

An example of the abuses can be seen in the case of Mahtab Farid, whose father was arrested after he tried to circumvent a ban on university education for the Baha’i minority.

“This is the picture of my Dad. This is from two years ago when he was visiting the United States,” Mahtab Farid said. She explains her father, Kamran, was arrested in Iran May 22, the day she graduated from college here in the United States.

The crime, according to his daughter: administering a university for young Baha’is who are not allowed to study in Iranian universities.

Ms. Farid took part in a discussion in Washington on the plight of Baha’is in Iran.

She says she doubts her father will get a fair trial. “We’re all really, really, really worried and devastated. I mean all we can really do is pray, she said. “And really try to hold on to our faith.”

People of the Baha’i faith live freely in the United States and elsewhere. But the State Department’s Report on Religious Freedom cites instances of imprisonment, harassment, intimidation and discrimination under Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim theocracy.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Baha’is are among a number of persecuted minorities there. “In Iran, authorities continue to repress Sufi Muslims, evangelical Christians, Jews, Bahais, Sunnis, Ahmadis, and others who do not share the government’s religious views,” Ms. Clinton stated.

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