Members of the North Okanagan Baha’i community are taking part in a worldwide campaign, Education Is Not a Crime, to draw attention to how members of the Baha’i faith in Iran are being denied basic and advanced education.
The documentary, To Light a Candle, shows the circumstances contributing to the persecutions shown in the Jon Stewart directed film Rosewater (formerly titled And Then They Came for Me), based on the experiences of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned in Iran after the 2009 Iranian presidential election.
The local Baha’i community is showing the documentary, which will be shown around the world the same day, to draw attention to conditions for Baha’is in Iran.
“While Bahari, who is not Baha’i, was in prison he met Baha’is who were in prison for made-up charges, or no charges at all. Bahai’s were being made to leave school at earlier and earlier ages, even in elementary school, limiting their chances to have good jobs. Those who tried to teach were imprisoned,” said Margaret Sanford, a member of the North Okanagan Baha’i community.
“The more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran are a fairly large minority group. They were also arrested and then released on condition that they deny their faith or pay large fines which took away their homes and businesses leaving them destitute. Those who wanted to leave the country found it very difficult.”
To Light a Candle features interviews with people involved in education in Iran who literally risked their lives to get this information out to the world.
“This documentary is about one of the worst cases of persecution of minorities in the world at this time. It is an independent investigation of how things are in Iran, what is really happening. We are not suggesting that there is anything specific that anyone can do but we want people to be aware and maybe individuals can find something,” said Sanford.
To Light a Candle shows at the Fairfield Inn and Suites By Marriott (5300 Anderson Way) Friday with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the program at 7:30 p.m. There is no admission charge.
After the film, Lorna Tureski-MacDonald will speak more on the background of the film and there will be a chance to ask questions.
For more information on Education Is Not a Crime, visit www.educationisnotacrime.me/about.