On 18th June 1983 ten women (pictured above), one of whom was only 17 years old, were executed in Iran for teaching Baha’i children more about their Faith. They were among more than 200 individuals who were killed in Iran for being Baha’is but their story has stood out throught the years as they were all women and many of them are very young.Shirin Dalvand, pictured bottom left, was 25 years old when she was executed, Shirin was Ladan’s aunt and, while Baha’is beleive it an honour to die for your beliefs, Ladan has always been very upset about the loss of her aunt. Ladan was only seven at the time of Shirin Dalvand’s execution, it is hard enough as an adult to attempt to comprehend that a government should seek to kill people on basis of their religion.
Sadly there are renewed fears over the safety of the Baha’is currently living in Iran, following an instruction from Ayatollah Khamenei that all Baha’is living in Iran should all be identified and their activities monitored.
In Newcastle we decided, at the last minute, to hold a devotional meeting to commemorate the lives of those martyred in Iran, including Shirin, and to pray for the safety of those Baha’is living there now. In spite of the very short notice there was good attendance, and the basic programme of a few prayers and a little music and video was very moving.
There are several resources on the Internet relating to the executions on 18th June 1983, executions which followed on from several other Baha’is being executed in Shiraz for being Baha’is, some of whom were related to these ten woman. Among the resources available is a music video by Canadian pop musician Doug Cameron called “Mona and the Children”, there is also a web page about the event here, and you can find the latest on thPersection of the Baha’i commun ity in Iran from here