Bay Area Bahá’ís Turn Spotlight on Iran's War on Education

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From March 31 to April 6, Bay Area Bahá’ís are hosting screenings of "Education Under Fire," a new documentary recounting the struggle of the Bahá’í community in Iran for the right to education.

Bay Area Bahá’ís are turning a spotlight on the Iranian government’s denial of basic human rights to Iran’s largest religious minority with a series of screenings of “Education Under Fire,” a new documentary recounting the struggle of the Iranian Bahá’í community for the right to education.

The 30-minute documentary, co-sponsored by Amnesty International, tells the remarkable and inspiring story of the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), which was established in 1987 as a decentralized “underground” university program for young people who have been systematically excluded from colleges and universities in Iran solely because of their Bahá’í identity.

“In the Islamic Republic of Iran,” says Rainn Wilson, actor on the popular television series The Office and a member of the Bahá’í Faith, “[my son] Walter couldn’t go to college, he couldn’t be a teacher or a lawyer or a bus driver or a dentist or many other jobs, just because he was raised in the Bahá’í Faith.” (Watch Rainn Wilson’s video promoting Education Under Fire at

Described by the New York Times as “an elaborate act of communal self-preservation,” the BIHE has offered Bahá’í youth their only means to higher education for the past 25 years. Education Under Fire recounts the trials and victories of the brave volunteer educators and students of the BIHE, who have faced unyielding repression by the Iranian government, including coordinated attacks in May 2011 in which dozens of homes were raided, computers and materials confiscated, and a number of the institution’s professors and administrators detained and imprisoned on trumped up charges.

The documentary will be screened at four Bay Area universities between March 31 and April 6, with each screening to be followed by a lively panel discussion featuring alumni of the BIHE:

Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
University of San Francisco, Presentation Theater
2350 Turk Blvd., San Francisco

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
UC Hastings College of the Law, Room A
198 McAllister Street, San Francisco

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
University of California, Berkeley
2050 Valley Life Sciences Building

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Stanford University, Cemex Auditorium
641 Knight Way, Stanford

All are welcome to attend, at no charge. For more information, visit the Education Under Fire campaign at

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