Baha’is Continue to be Persecuted in Iran: News Roundup

In the news this week: Iranian lawyer arrested for representing Baha’is, the President supports Israel at the UN, a Muslim woman declares candidacy for French President, and other stories.

As a number of Baha'is in Iran await trial for providing higher education to youth barred from university, the Baha'i International Community has been distressed to learn of the arrest of a lawyer who was preparing to defend them.
 
Abdolfattah Soltani – a senior member of the legal team representing the prisoners – was arrested last Saturday. Mr. Soltani was a co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center along with four other lawyers including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi. The Tehran-based Center was shut down in a police raid in December 2008.
 
An Amnesty International appeal calling upon Iran to release Mr. Soltani immediately has described him as "one of the bravest human rights defenders in Iran…"  Baha’i World News
 
President Obama is at the United Nations this week for the opening of the annual General Assembly meeting–where the U.S. is working the global precincts to avoid a vote on Palestinian statehood. Chicago Sun-Times
 
A woman fighting France's ban on Islamic face coverings was fined 120 euros ($162) Thursday for wearing a burqa, the first fine handed down by a French court over the controversial law.
 
Hind Ahmas sought out the punishment so she could take her fight to a higher court, she told CNN. A second woman, Najet Ait Ali, was fined 80 euros ($108) in the same court appearance.
 
"I am happy to be fined, since I can now take this to the European Court of Human Rights," Ahmas said. CNN
 
Kenza Drider, a Muslim woman, declared her longshot candidacy for French President Thursday, the same day that a French court fined two women who refuse to remove their veils. All three are among a group of women mounting an attack on the law that has banned the garments from the streets of France since April, and prompted similar moves in other European countries. Associated Press
 
In a rude shock to the Sikh community in North Carolina, a Sikh owned convenience store was damaged Sept 7, in a suspected case of hate related arson.
 
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the Sikh owned State Line Grocery convenience store was badly damaged in an early morning fire, which is under investigation as a potential hate crime specifically due to the graffiti that was spray painted on the walls of the convenience store stating, “9-11 Go Home”. India Post
 
Muslims in Kashmir, in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, are supporting the re-building of a Christian school that was destroyed by fire during anti-Christian violence one year ago. ENI News
 
One of the world’s leading Muslim clerics will issue a global declaration against terrorism at a speech in London on Saturday. Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri will make the declaration at the ‘Peace for Humanity Conference 2011’ at Wembley Arena.
 
The peace declaration, which will call for an end to terrorism and for the protection of human rights in new Arab regimes, is expected to be signed by major religious and political leaders. The Independent