Religious minorities in Iran face cultural violence

This article was first published on the website Global Voices, and is republished here with kind permission.   Over the last 45 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has weaponised textbooks, religious debates, films and television series, city walls, and even cemeteries to impose cultural violence and institutionalise its dominance, particularly over religious minorities. The government has employed physical, structural, and cultural violence against religious minorities. While physical violence (prison, destruction of worship places, execution, confiscation of properties), and structural or legal violence (discrimination in the labour market and education, testimony in court) are often tangible, cultural violence (art, religious debates, education) is more nuanced. But cultural violence not only facilitates direct (physical) and structural violence but also legitimises violence, making it […]

The impact of the water shortage crisis on Mandaeans Living in Khuzestan province

Behnaz Hosseini*–Acute water shortage in Khuzestan has affected the lives of all residents living in this southern province of Iran; however, it has made things even more complicated for a religious minority, whose rituals are heavily dependent on water. Mandaeans living in Ahvaz perform baptisms in the Karun River, where the water is neither suitable for drinking nor for agriculture due to pollution. A sharp decline in the flow of water in the Karun River and its pollution has made things very difficult for the Sabean-Mandaeans to conduct their religious ceremonies. Mandaeans in Iran, like other ethnic groups and minorities, are facing many challenges and hardships. They are followers of […]

 “Koolbars”, new “slaves” in Kurdistan    

Mvoices invites a variety of people, including equal rights activists, researchers, and journalists, to share their experiences and their views on the challenges, achievements and rights of the religious minorities and civil society in Iran at the Mvoices’ “Carte Blanche”.  In this issue, Awin Mostafa Zadeh / Kurdpa Human Rights Organization writes the story of “new slaves” in Iran, “Koolbars”.The Kurds suffer from discrimination for being both Sunni Muslims as well as an ethnic group in Iran.     The people living in Iranian Kurdistan have been systematically targeted by economic deprivation, such that on the one hand Koolbari is imposed on them but on the other hand they are killed […]

Iran’s Religious Minorities: the Forgotten People at the Berlin Gathering

Fred Petrossian–80,000 people in Germany’s capital have been marching in solidarity with protesters in Iran. On 22nd October, demonstrators came to Berlin from all over Europe. A statement was read at the end of this historic gathering which talked about periods of repression and state violence from the beginning of the Islamic Republic to the present. The statement also mentioned the repression and discrimination of ethnic and sexual minorities. However, incredibly, no mention was made in the statement about the persecution and suffering of religious minorities during the last 43 years. For more than four decades, the “Islamic Republic” has deprived millions of people of their basic rights as citizens. […]

Iranian Christian Converts in Sweden: Birth of a social movement*

Fred Petrossian–The “I am A Christian too” campaign was launched by a group of Iranian Christian converts living in Stockholm, Sweden, in October 2020 in order to pursue policy change in Sweden and Iran. “I Am A Christian Too” is a loosely organized but sustained campaign among a group of Iranians who share Christianity as their core belief and set their main goal of being recognized as refugees by the Swedish government.   As of July 2022, this campaign has held almost 50 gatherings in Stockholm, making it the most persistent street movement among Iranian religious minorities and even Iranian asylum seekers in the diaspora. At each meeting, between 20 […]