Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra Statement on Persecution of Bahá'ís in Ivel

I am greatly alarmed to learn about the prejudicial ruling of two courts in the Islamic Republic of Iran confiscating land belonging to the Bahá'ís in the rural village of Ivel. This unjust land seizure intended to punish Bahá'ís for their belief has caused great anguish and left dozens of families displaced and impoverished.

I call upon the Islamic republic's Chief Justice, His Eminence Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi, to address this injustice. I plead with him to please return the lands to their rightful owners who have been farming here for 150 years.

The fundamental objectives of sharī'ah include the preservation of religion, life, intellect, lineage and wealth. Socio-economic welfare is also part of that. All Islamic republics are obliged by sharī'ah to ensure that they uphold these rights for all of their citizens, regardless of faith and ideology. Islam does not permit a government to confiscate land from citizens just because they follow a different religion or ideology.

For many years, this Bahá'í community in the village of Ivel has been persecuted and suffered arson attacks and destruction of their properties. A number of them have even been expelled. The small plots of land that they own are the only means for this low-income farming community to earn a livelihood.

The persecution and displacement of innocent people is of huge concern. The greater concern is that these verdicts could set a precedent for land appropriation from the Bahá'ís and other minorities on a broader scale. For that reason, the verdicts must be confronted and overturned.

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra Chair, Virtue Ethics Foundation

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