Education is not a crime. That’s the message of a new documentary that will get a special screening in St. Albert tonight, and the public is invited.
Behrooz Tahririha said that To Light a Candle, Maziar Bahari’s film about underground university for BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Âs in Iran, should help to shed a lot of light on the persecution that the religious minority faces in the Middle Eastern country.
“It’s not about promoting a religion,” he said. “It’s about a human social injustice situation. It’s a problem of excluding a sector of the country – like the BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Âs in Iran – from higher education.”
The BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Âs face many trials in the predominantly Muslim country. Many members of the faith have been arrested solely because of their religion. Many BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Â businesses have been attacked and destroyed, and had their licences revoked. The government has sanctioned much hate propaganda. Even the BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Âs’ cemeteries have been ransacked.
On top of all of that, they are barred from teaching or attending university. An underground university called the BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Â Institute for Higher Education attempted to help those to further their studies even in a political climate of oppression.
To Light a Candle is Iranian-Canadian journalist Bahari’s attempt to showcase the struggle for knowledge and how persecution led the BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Âs to fight harder for their freedom. Professors who were fired from their university postings developed a kind of distance-learning system for several courses of study.
Some of those students have been accepted into graduate programs at some Canadian universities. Unfortunately, some of those people returned to Iran to try to offer a university education to Baha’i youths, but they were arrested.
“This movie is for anybody who takes education for granted,” Tahririha said.
Bahari has been using the film as part of his human rights awareness campaign called Education Is Not a Crime, which condemns Iran’s denial of the BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Âs’ right to higher education. It has received more than 80 screenings across the country since February.
The film screens at 6:30 p.m. tonight. It is approximately 55 minutes long. Admission is free. The St. Albert United Church is located at 20 Green Grove Drive.
For more information, contact the St. Albert BahÄ‚Ë‡’Ä‚Â at 780-460-8408 or visit www.stalbertbahai.org.