In Canada, a call to “change the world”

May 14, 2013

Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs called for the immediate release of the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders at a “Five Years Too Many” event held last Thursday in Toronto.

“You are not alone. There is a unity. There are others who feel the same sense of outrage,” said Dr. Axworthy, who is currently President of the University of Winnipeg, addressing an audience of several hundred people at the Toronto Baha’i Center.

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Former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy speaking Thursday at the Toronto Baha’i Center.

Dr. Axworthy’s remarks echoed an Op-ed article he wrote that appeared that day in The Globe and Mail.

“A litmus test to judge Iran’s record has been the treatment afforded to its largest non-Muslim religious community, the Baha’is,” wrote Dr. Axworthy in the newspaper. “Lately the record of Iran has worsened – for religious and ethnic minorities, students, journalists, women, and labor leaders – and once again for the Baha’is, who provide a clear measure of just how deplorable the state of human rights is in Iran.”

In his talk Thursday night, Dr. Axworthy said people can “change the world” if things are done with a spirit of unity and collaboration – and if children and young people are involved.

Also speaking in Toronto on Thursday were Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, and relatives of two of the seven leaders incarcerated in Iran — Naeim Tavakkoli, son of Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Siavosh Khanjani, nephew of Jamaloddin Khanjani.

“The reason for their arrest was entirely because of their religious beliefs – and their long sentences were meted out simply because of the leadership role they played in the Baha’i community of Iran,” said Ms. Dugal.

For more information, read the Canadian Baha’i News Service story at this link.

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