26, 2011 Neighbourhood friends
gather to say prayers for Iran
On the evening of May 25th,
around ten friends gathered together in an Ottawa apartment to say
prayers for Iran.
The atmosphere was quiet and reflective as the host, Layli Sanaee,
welcomed everyone and introduced the theme of the devotional gathering.
Tonight they were praying for the progress of Iran, the birthplace of
the Bahá'í Faith, and a country where Bahá'ís continue to face
persecution because of their religion.
Before prayers began, she reminded everyone that this past weekend
there had been a coordinated raid on the homes of 30 Bahá'ís associated
with the Bahá'í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE). The BIHE was
launched in 1987 as a decentralized university for Bahá'ís who were
banned from higher education in Iran as a matter of state policy. 16
Bahá'ís were arrested and 8 others were interrogated.
The friends gathered also spoke about the seven members of the former
Yaran, the Bahá'í leadership in Iran, who entered the fourth year of
their incarceration on May 14th. One of those present grew up in Iran
and shared his own recollections of meeting members of the Yaran as a
young man recalling their steadfastness and dedication. Another
recounted a story from the memoirs of a former political prisoner who
was jailed with the male members of the former Yaran, and who drew
strength and courage from their example.
After prayers were said, two of the friends chanted Arabic prayers,
calling to mind the Bahá'ís in Iran and their desire to be of service
to their country.
While Ottawa is far from Iran, on Wednesday night the distance felt