One race, the human race
While there is diversity in the world, there is one thing that everyone has in common: we are all members of one race, the human race. We are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean. Every leaf is unique in its own way, yet each leaf is still a leaf.
This is the same concept with humans. We are all different, but that does not have to be a bad thing. Why not embrace our diversity and see that there can be unity in diversity? The world needs to welcome differences among races, ethnicities, religions, etc. Not until this new mindset has been ingrained in everyone, will the idea of peace be more imaginable.
One example of a religious group not being treated equally, but rather being persecuted for its differences, is the Baha’i faith in Iran. The Baha’is are the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran. The Baha’i faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Baha’u’llah in 19th-century Persia, which is modern-day Iran.
This religion emphasizes the spiritual unity of all mankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Baha’i teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity. It is the second most geographically widespread religion in the world. The Baha’i faith is established in more than 100,000 localities in virtually every country and locality around the world. The Baha’is in Iran are not doing any harm to anyone, but since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, persecutions against the Baha’is are endless. Examples of persecutions against the Baha’is include killings and executions, torture, unjust imprisonment, economic oppression, denial of access to education and more.
It is horrifying to think that someone could do such harm to another human being. It denies the moral fact that we are all members of the human race. The conviction that we belong to one human family is at the heart of the Baha’i faith. Baha’u’llah, its founder, compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play their part in maintaining a healthy system.
The underlying principle that helps this body to function is cooperation. The various parts of the body do not compete for resources; rather, each cell is linked to a continuous process of giving and receiving. Acceptance of the oneness of humanity demands that prejudice—whether racial, gender or religious related—must be completely eliminated.
What we need to do is imagine ourselves as Baha’is in Iran. Would you want to be persecuted? As University students, imagine not even having the access to higher education solely because of your religious beliefs. Is that fair in your eyes? It certainly seems unjust in mine.
Nobody should be treated unfairly simply because of a different religious belief, or any difference for that matter. It is easy to take our education for granted since we have always had the opportunity in the U.S. to study. Some people in other nations, however, do not have that chance. We need to be grateful for all the opportunities we have in this nation. Education is Not a Crime is a worldwide campaign addressing the issue of Baha’is and their lack of access to higher education in Iran. Please take a look at their website for more information on how you can gain more awareness on this devastating matter.
While there have been UN resolutions regarding the persecution of Baha’is in Iran, there is still a long way to go before the situation is fully resolved. One thing we can do, however, is to try and use this devastating news of the Baha’i persecutions in Iran as a reminder to ourselves that treating people unfairly simply because of a different religious belief is not acceptable. We are all members of one race, the human race.
Nicole Rouhani is a master’s student studying Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs in the School of International Service.