Iran will be the focus of the North Central College event, “Education Under Fire,” on Jan. 31 as part of the College’s emphasis on global human rights.
At the request of North Central senior psychology major Mozhdeh Khodarahmi, the Office of International Programs is presenting the film “Education Under Fire” and panel discussion from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, in Smith Hall at Old Main.
The new 30-minute documentary focuses on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s three decade-long policy of denying members of its Bahá’í community the right to attend any institution of higher education. In May 2011 the Iranian government launched an attack against the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) raiding dozens of homes, confiscating computers and materials and detaining a number of that institution’s professors and administrators, some of whom are in prison without formal charges against them. The BIHE was founded in 1987 and offers at present the only access to higher education available to Iranian Bahá’ís.
Education Under Fire also is the title of a campaign to address the Iranian government’s denial of the right to education for ideological and religious reasons. The campaign hopes to begin conversations on campuses around the country in order to raise awareness of and shine a light on the importance of defending Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees education as an inalienable right of every human being.
Mozhdeh was born and raised in Iran and is a permanent resident of the United States. She and her sister Mehry, a North Central junior majoring in management, will share their experiences as former students of the BIHE institute before moving to the United State four years ago. The Iran specialist with Amnesty International will also join them as part of the panel. They will discuss action steps that can make a difference on this issue.
“This matter is very close to my heart and now that there is an opportunity in this country to raise the awareness on this human rights issue I feel it is my responsibility to bring this issue into everybody’s attention,” says Mozhdeh. “I believe we are members of a human family who should support our brothers and sisters who are in need and in danger all around the world.”
The Bahá'í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions. Its founder, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá'ís as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. The central theme of Bahá'u'lláh's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society.