Fuseworks Media

Government raid on students – Baha’i Faith New Zealand

Studying and acquiring knowledge is not a right for Baha’i students in Iran as the government bars them from entering universities. The ban has forced Baha’is to study in private homes and through informal groups to pursue higher education, but even this can be hazardous. Only a few days ago, in the city of Qaemshahr, a group of young Bahai’s were sitting an exam in a private home when 15 agents of the Ministry of Intelligence raided the premises. The agents beat the son of the tutor with brutal force when he objected to their violent and insulting behaviour towards her and the students. Electronic devices, textbooks, documents, and personal items were seized during the 30-minute raid.

New Zealand resident, Dr Nizar Mohamed, while appalled by this latest raid, was not surprised to learn of it. Dr Mohamed is an instructor for the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), which was founded in 1987 because of the Iranian government’s policy of denying Baha’i citizens access to higher education. BIHE is globally recognised as an exemplary institution with a commitment to high academic standards, international collaboration and fostering an innovative and learning environment that prepares students for fulfilling careers, further studies and social responsibilities.

Driven by a desire to contribute to the intellectual development of young people, and ultimately their success in life, Dr Mohamed became a BIHE instructor in 2018. With expertise in the environment, rural and sustainable development, he helped to design a graduate programme for a master’s degree in environmental science. A member of the BIHE Affiliated Global Faculty, Dr Mohamed is one over 1,000 academics and scientists from 69 countries who offer their services as BIHE faculty members.

“Being a BIHE instructor gives me the opportunity to share my practical experience and academic knowledge with young Baha’i students in Iran who are denied their basic human right to education.”

What impresses him most is the commitment and intellectual excellence of the students he works with. “They are keen to study and have a desire to contribute to the sustainable development of their country.”

Dr Mohamed worked over 45 years in nearly 60 countries for various New Zealand government and UN agencies in rural development, environment and sustainable development before retiring in 2017. As a BIHE instructor, Dr Mohamed teaches two papers, including one on a conceptual framework for environmental action and the other on ecosystem services and their contribution to sustainable human development.

 

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