Film, panel to address religious discrimination, educational rights

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BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick Baha’i Community will be showing the documentary “Education Under Fire” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9. The documentary will be followed by a conversation with a panel on the themes of religious discrimination and the right to public education which the film addresses.

The 30-minute documentary, which has been endorsed by Amnesty International, deals with the Iranian government’s denial of the right to higher education for the past 30 years for all of the members of its largest non-Muslim religious minority – the Baha’is.

In 1987, the semi-underground Baha´i Institute for Higher Education  was formed to give young Baha´is their only chance for a university-level education. Despite repeated raids and arrests, volunteer teachers and administrators created an independent, decentralized university system that has lifted the lives of thousands of Baha´i students across Iran.

In May 2011, an organized assault was launched by the Iranian government in an attempt to shut down the BIHE. More than 30 homes were raided and over a dozen BIHE professors and administrators were detained. Several are still in prison for doing nothing more than trying to teach. The film connects a diverse audience to a grave human rights issue, a powerful story of resilience against oppression and the need to respect human rights everywhere.

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The screening and conversation will take place in the Morrell Room at Curtis Memorial Library, at 23 Pleasant St. The event is free and open to everyone. For more information on the movie, visit www.educationunderfire.com. For information on the event, contact Lucy Cunningham at 207-729-9520 or lcunning@bowdoin.edu.

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