‘Better to Light a Candle than to Curse Darkness’

The Baha’i Faith group of the tri-state area provided coffee and cookies Thursday during a screening of the movie “To Light a Candle” as part of the Education is Not a Crime campaign.

The Baha’i religion in Iran is targeted, and people of the religion are not allowed to attend or learn any higher education.

The Iran government captures, tortures and kills Baha’i people who try to attend or teach in Iranian universities.

The Baha’is have started an underground university known as the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education.

BIHE was created in 1987 to give young Baha’is a chance at getting an education.

“Education is the core of everything and to be restricted of that is horrifying,” senior Alicia Turner said.

Jeffrey Ruff, chair of department of Religious Studies, said it is important as Americans to know what’s happening.

“I think one of the reasons to know about this is that it really violates our common sense in America,” Ruff said. “In fact we so expect that people have access to education that probably on all registers we’ve really taken it for granted and we also think of it as a modern world thing. … It’s also a gendered issue. There might be many places in the world where men can get an education and women can’t and we’ve put that kind of thinking behind us in America. It’s easy to forget that everyone doesn’t have equal access to knowledge or education.”

There are 80 institutions that will allow these students to pursue their education further.

“I don’t think enough people are aware of the issue, but I think that’s just part of the course of a smaller, lesser know religion,” Ryan said. “It’s not reported on heavily in the media and so that’s why we have things like this,” Virginia Sellers, Baha’i Faith member, said.

Sara Ryan can be contacted at [email protected].