Iran -- The Giant Step Waiting to Be Made

One of the more challenging issues in this world is the unwillingness and intolerance to accept differences. This is a world full of diverse cultures, religions and beliefs: some harmful, some harmless, some beneficial and some neutral. Yet, all are welcome and have the right to be.

However, what has historically been detrimental is when treasure, military might or sheer numbers provide an unearned throne. There they sit while the giant steps on the ant.

There are numerous examples; the Romans with Jesus, Hitler with the Jews, Americans, Spanish and others with the natives, Peoples and New America with slaves. Yet these abuses continue today.

Now the table has changed. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media, the ant has a Strong and Powerful pulpit on which to stand. It's imperative that our voices are heard and that we use social media as the powerful tool it is and call to action.

Even 35 years after the Iranian regime assumed power, we see this same scenario: the giant suppressing the ant, select minority religions in Iran. This discrimination must come to an end.

This can also be seen when the Islamic Revolution has systematically persecuted Baha'is in Iran since 1979. Currently there are 116 Bahá'ís in prison solely for their religious beliefs. The Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize the Bahá'í Faith as a religion. It does, however, recognize other minority religions such as Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Judaism.

Iran has strict laws against converts of minority religions. In the summer of 2012, the Iranian government arrested Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian minister, because he was developing Christian home-churches when permits were denied to build new churches. Five years ago, in the spring of 2008, seven members of an informal Bahá'í leadership were imprisoned for "spying for the state of Israel" and "spreading corruption" and are still in prison!

Several organizations and leaders are addressing these blatant forms of discrimination/suppression. A collection of interfaith representatives for The Initiative for Religious Freedom in Iran organized the 'Human Rights Event & Public Demonstration' that was held at the Museum of Tolerance on December 18, 2013.

During this event many speakers were present and Congressman Ed Royce was one of them. He introduced Resolution 109, which condemns the government of Iran due to the regime's state-sponsored persecution of its Bahá'í minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.

On Dec. 20, 2013, Resolution 75, introduced by Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin of Illinois, was passed, which means that the U.S. Senate now formally condemns the persecution faced by the Bahá'ís in Iran.

With these injustices and violations of human rights, the welfare and safety of Iran's peoples and neighbors are at stake. Instead, Iran could make another choice and use their power and their throne to take a leadership role and generate love and peace and bring all peoples together. This is possible when you look at mankind as one kind.

We the People, also must take a leadership role based on love, justice and oneness because the ant is each of us. We have a voice that needs to be heard. Like the Arab Spring but driven by love and tolerance, we are the waterfall. We must rise and see the oceans of love that surround us to quench mankind's thirst for love.

What is the Bahá'í Faith?

Bahá'ís believe that all humanity is one family; that men and women are equal; all prejudices must be extinguished; individuals must investigate truth independently; science and religion are in harmony; economic problems are linked to spiritual problems the family and its unity are crucial; there is one God and all major religions are sent from God and World peace is vital!

For more information about the persecution of Bahá'ís, please visit this site.

For more information on Resolution 75, please visit this site.

The Initiative for Religious Freedom in Iran that was held on December 18, 2013 included the following groups: the Bahá'í International Community, the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a representative of King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California, the Sikh Council of Southern California, the Vedanta Society of California, and Christian ministers from the Universalist Church and other Iranian-Christian church groups in Southern California.