175 Years of Persecution

Pages: 336
Subject: History, Middle East, Religion: Baha'i
Imprint: Oneworld

175 Years of Persecution

A History of the Babis & Baha'is of Iran

Fereydun Vahman

A searing account of the oppression of a peaceful and progressive community, and how this has affected Iran's national identity
Hardback
9781786075864 (7 Feb 2019)
RRP £20.00 / US$30.00

The Book

For almost two centuries, followers of the Baha'i faith, Iran's largest religious minority, have been persecuted by the state. They have been made scapegoats for the nation's ills, branded enemies of Islam and denounced as foreign agents. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 Baha'is have been barred from entering the nation's universities, more than two hundred have been executed, and hundreds more imprisoned and tortured.

Now, however, Iran is at a turning point. A new generation has begun to question how the Baha'is have been portrayed by the government and the clergy, and called for them to be given equal rights as fellow citizens. In documenting, for the first time, the plight of this religious community in Iran since its inception, Fereydun Vahman also reveals the greater plight of a nation aspiring to develop a modern identity built on respect for diversity rather than hatred and self-deception.

Additional Information

Subject History, Middle East, Religion: Baha'i
Pages 336
Imprint Oneworld

 

About the Author

Fereydun Vahman is professor emeritus at the University of Copenhagen. Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 he has been a leading voice defending the rights of Baha'is. He is the author of several books in Persian, English and Danish, and is editor of the Religion and Society in Iran series.

Reviews

175 Years of Persecution offers a lucid academic account of the lives of the Baha'is under such intolerable conditions… This book is a must-read for all interested in modern Iran.'

- Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Professor of History, University of Toronto

‘Vahman, a very learned specialist in Iranian studies, offers a significant addition to our understanding of modern Iranian history… Important reading.'

- Roy Mottahedeh, Gurney Research Professor, Harvard University, and author of The Mantle of the Prophet

‘Fereydun Vahman's book 175 Years of Persecution provides, in accessible narrative vignettes, a sweeping account of the persecution of Iran's Baha'i community. Many articles and reports have documented the persecutions, but usually focusing on a chronologically and geographically confined space, often with a clinical approach. However, like Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee on the genocidal campaign against Native Americans, or James Allen's Without Sanctuary, a visual history of lynching in the American south, here we have a work that brings the human impact to the fore. Vahman weaves together a larger story from individual, mob, or state-sponsored acts of murder, arson, gravesite desecration, imprisonment, dismissal from jobs, deprivation of pensions and education, etc. In clear and readable prose suitable for students, activists, and the general public, this book memorably describes the beleaguerment of the Baha'i community in Iran since its inception and makes it clear why the situation of Baha'is has been described as a bellwether of the prospects for true political rights and civil society for the entire Iranian polity.'

- Franklin Lewis, Associate Professor of Persian Language & Literature, University of Chicago