Rouhi Jahanpour Imprisoned for her Beliefs, Escaped Execution.

On the eve of Women’s History Month, we want to draw attention to the efforts of one woman who is keeping a tragic episode of women’s history alive. Rouhi Jahanpour comes from a part of the world where fighting for gender equality is punishable by death. Imprisoned in Iran for being of the Baha’i’ faith and an advocate for gender equality, she continues to tell the story of her cellmates who, unlike her, were not released and were executed. These are the women of history whose stories too few of us know.
By Heidi Basch-Harod and Erin Pedersen
Rouhi Jahanpour Imprisoned for her Beliefs, Escaped Execution Post Intro

Arbitrarily Arrested by The Iranian Government.

41 years ago Rouhi Jahanpour was one of scores of women arbitrarily arrested by the Iranian government in Shiraz. Her crime and that of the others detained: Being a member of the Baha’i’ faith. She keeps their memory alive in an ongoing pursuit of justice.

Source: Rouhi’s Testimony & The Irish Examiner

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The Fate of Rouhi and Her Cellmates?

Rouhi shared a cell with 10 other women. They were all subject to torture and humiliation while incarcerated. Through an administrative error, Rouhi was released and fled to Canada before the authorities realized their mistake. Rouhi’s cellmates were hanged one after another, forced to watch each other be murdered. 

Source: Rouhi’s Testimony & The Irish Examiner

Rouhi Jahanpour Imprisoned for her Beliefs, Escaped Execution
Source: Baha'i International Community - Situation of the Baha'is in Iran
Source:britannica.com

What is the Baha'i' Faith?

The  Baha’i’ Faith is one of the world’s religions that believes unity is the solution to all the world’s problems and that disunity leads us to the false conclusion that the suffering of others doesn’t affect us too.

Source: Baha’i’ Teachings

The Baha'i' Faith and its Commitment to Gender Equality.

The Baha’i’ principle of gender equality stems from the statement made by the founder, ‘Abdul-Bahá: “The world of humanity has two wings – one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible.”


Source:
The Baha’i’ Faith

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Source: bahai.org
Members of the Baha'i religion demonstrate in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach on June 19, 2011, asking Iranian authorities to release seven Baha'i prisoners accused of spying for Israel and sentenced to 20 years in jail. AFP

The Baha'i' Faith in Iran.

The Baha’i’ faith is not recognized by the Iranian authorities, even though the community remains the biggest non-Muslim minority in the country. Even before the Women Life Freedom Movement, reports of increased arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearances, and destruction of property of Baha’i’ were on the rise.

Source: Voice of America & OCHCR

Rouhi Jahanpour Imprisoned for her Beliefs, Escaped Execution3b
Source: Baha'i International Community - Situation of the Baha'is in Iran

Sustaining the Women Life Freedom Movement.

Individuals, like Rouhi, see the lack of women’s equality as one of the most pressing, continued challenges facing Iran. From within Iran and abroad, they continue to fight for a better future for their country in the face of oppression by championing women’s rights.

Source: Irish Examiner

Questions to Our Readers

All throughout Women’s History Month, we want to hear from you! Please write names and stories of women making history in your lives in the comments below.

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