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Iran stops Baha’is from teaching and studying at university. But they do teach. And they do study.
"To Light a Candle" chronicles the lives of Baha’is in Iran, who have triumphed against unbelievable hardships and persecution. The Baha'is are a religious minority that are systematically imprisoned, tortured and killed by the Iranian government.
The Islamic regime bans the Baha'is to study or teach in Iranian universities. Since 1987 the Baha'is started the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), an underground university with hundreds of students in Iran, and dozens of teachers in Iran and around the world. Through powerful interviews, exclusive secret footage shot by citizen journalists, rare archival material and letters written by a Baha'i prisoner currently in jail in Iran, To Light a Candle shows how a small minority has defied the brutal systematic religious persecution through non-violent resistance and educating their youth.
Maziar Bahari, director of the film and a Canadian journalist who is not Baha’i, spent 118 days in prison in Iran in 2009. To Light a Candle is a hopeful story of the BIHE and Iran. In 2015 the film sparked the global Education Is Not A Crime campaign for universal access to higher education.
Please join us for a free public screening of this film, with a discussion to follow.
When: Saturday, April 4th, 2015, 1:00-2:30pm
Where: Santa Fe Public Library, Main Library, Community Room, 145 Washington Ave, 87501
The Office's Rainn Wilson talks adobe, oppression and Oprah
Appropriately, it was a cat-and-doggish evening last Saturday, when actor Rainn Wilson graced SFUAD’s Forum to introduce a special presentation of Education Under Fire, a documentary that explores the educational plight of Iran’s Bahá’í population. The largest religious minority there, members of what Wilson refers to as “the faith with the weird name” have not been allowed to attend university since the Islamic Revolution—and so, in 1987, the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education, which the doc revolves around, was born.
Before the presentation, SFR chatted it up with the devout Bahá’í actor, and from the soon-to-be-Schrute-tastic spinoff The Farm to pee parties, no topic was off limits.
SFR: What’s the importance of this documentary? RW: Wow, hard-hitting questions right off the bat. This is a human rights issue that not many people know about. I had never really thought about preventing education as [violating] a fundamental human right, but it is in the United Nations charter. It’s a very insidious way to hold people down—to deny them the basic right of getting an education—and this specific kind of persecution in Iran towards the Bahá’í has been going on for 25 years.
It’s important that we get the word out, and this film helps do that. The importance of why the film and not just a website or a lecture, or something like that, is because the arts can move people’s hearts. And it resonates in a much deeper level, and it was a very exquisitely made, very beautiful film. Are people surprised to see this deeper side of you? They are, a little bit. They’re like, ‘What’s the weirdo from that TV show doing with human rights causes, or writing and talking about spirituality?’ But I have to be me, and that’s part of who I am. I like to think about deep things, and I have soulpancake, a website about thinking about deep things. I have causes that I believe in and that I’m passionate about, and that’s just a part of who I am and doesn’t preclude me from playing dorky weirdos on TV shows.