Imagine you lived in a country where your government denied you the right to higher education simply because it did not accept your religious views. Not only would you be barred from attending university or college at all, but any efforts to establish your own institution of education would also be a warrant for your arrest. If your only hope of being admitted into university relied on the political pressure of students all across the globe, what would you say to them? Would you ask for their help?
If your answer is yes, come along to the Student’s Union on Friday 9th December. Between 11am and 3pm, you could help put an end to this oppression. And it won’t even take five minutes.
As students at the University of Southampton, perhaps we do not often appreciate our good fortune to study in an environment that embraces a variety of different faiths, cultures and backgrounds. But in other parts of the world, this is not the case.
In Iran today, the denial of higher education is a reality that many young people are forced to endure. They are barred from universities and institutions of higher learning because they have political views, social affiliations or religious convictions rejected by the Islamic Republic. Student activists, women’s rights activists, human rights defenders, and members of religious and ethnic minorities are often excluded for their commitment to their beliefs. One of these groups is the Bahá’í community, the country’s largest religious minority. For years, the Baha’is in Iran have been systematically prevented by government policy from accessing universities because of their religion. As a consequence, the Baha’is were forced to initiate their own informal institution: the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education. Since the introduction of the institution, the homes of Baha’is involved in this Institute have been raided and several Baha’is have been arrested.
Some of you may have already read the recent article on Can You Solve This, a human rights movement which campaigns in support of the youth of Iran. This campaign has been launched in several universities all over the country and will finally be launched at Southampton next week.
If you want to get involved, come along to the Students Union next Friday between 11am and 3pm. We will be in the concourse alongside various other groups and societies, so look out for the Can You Solve This? logo, which will be distributed on posters and postcards. You can visit the campaign’s website by scanning the QR code with your smart phone, or by following the link: Can You Solve This?. The logo contains a QR code which you can scan with a smart phone. It will directly take you to the official website, where you can watch a video about the situation in Iran, and will guide you to send emails to the a video about the situation in Iran, and will guide you to send emails to the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon William Hague, or the Hon Kamran Daneshjoo, the Iranian official whose ministry bars Baha’is and other people from higher education. All you have to do is click on their names, fill in your name and e-mail address, and click send. It’s that simple.
It is time to bring the unjust and oppressive practices of the government of the Islamic Republic to an end. Give a voice to the voiceless of Iran.