Baha’is in Kurdistan Region fear false allegations against their religion

By Lana Khalid:

Baha'i Temple in Australia

Baha’i Temple in Australia

Baha’is living in Sulaimani, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, fear a tarnished reputation following the arrest of Hamed Kamal Muhammad bin Haydara in Yemen since December 2013.Hamid Kamal Bin Hadara, 50, was detained by the National Army and taken to Sanaa for imprisonment. He has been accused of spying for Israel, attempting to convert Muslims, and affecting the country’s instability. He was subjected to various tortures, including electric shocks. Mrs. Kamali was permitted to visit him after 9 months, “I didn’t recognize him for he had lost 30 kilos because of the tortures he received,” she wrote in a letter to the House of Justice, pleading for help.

Rend Sabour, 22, representative of the Baha’i community in Sulaimani, believes it misleading especially for people ignorant of the Baha’i religion. “If someone hears on TV or reads an article about the accusations, they might believe that’s how the religion is,” she said. The accusations imply that Baha’is pretend good intentions to convert people to their religion. “We don’t intervene in other people’s beliefs,” she explained, “Our purpose is to serve the society we live in.” According to her, such claims can ruin their credibility in the eyes of people in Kurdish society. If people cannot trust her, they will not assist her in serving the society, nor will they accept her help, in her opinion.

There isn’t fundamental evidence for the accusations. On the Baha’i official website, in the article “Baseless indicment of Yemeni Baha’i after Four Months of Harsh Treatment,” Bani Dugal, the representative of the Baha’is art the UN is quoted saying the accusations are baseless. She also mentions that the Yemeni authorities “have repeatedly admitted their religious motives for the imprisonment.”

In the Human Rights Watch article “Yemen Drop Charges Against Baha’i Adherent,” it is mentioned Hamid wasn’t permitted a lawyer. Baha’is have always faced such accusations. The Baha’i main governing council, the House of Justice, is based in Akka, Israel, exposing them to the pointing fingers of Muslim countries accusing them of espionage.

Baha’ism is a religion that first appeared in Iran in the 18th century. Baha’is believe that their religion is the fourth religion, following the 3 holy religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. To Muslims, Islam is the last religion sent by Allah and any other religion after it is believed to be heretic. Since Baha’ism is considered heretic, they have a history of persecution in some Muslim countries, like Iran and Iraq.

Basman Najdat, a Baha’i living Sulaimani, expressed his frustration at the injustice of the situation. “This is unjust (accusation against Hadara),” he said, “and people should learn about it.” Najdat said people should not treat others based on their beliefs or views. “Prophet Baha’u’llah once said we are all children of this world and created from its soil,” he said.

In the 1940s, Mr. Hadara’s father left Iran to reside in Yemen and he obtained citizenship for his great service to the country. Mr. Hadara was born in 1964 in Socotara Island in Yemen. The religion does not allow an individual to interfere in politics nor convert anyone from their religion.

Mr. Haydara is awaiting his fate while his wife is awaiting rescue after she pleaded for help from everyone through her letter. As for the Baha’is in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, they are trying to clarify the unfair allegations.

Lana Khalid is a journalist in Sulaimani


There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL