Tehran, Sep 28 (AFP) Iran has detained a member of the Shiraz city council for supporting two Iranians of the minority Bahai faith and expressing concern over their arrest, state news agency IRNA reported Friday. Also Read - MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly Two Defining Captains in Contemporary Cricket: Ashish Nehra

“Mehdi Hajati, a member of this council, was arrested Thursday evening for supporting two people of the outlawed cult of Bahaism,” IRNA quoted council presiding board member Ghasem Moghimi as saying. Also Read - Entertainment News Today April 05, 2020: Kriti Sanon Bonding With Alia Bhatt-Shaheen Bhatt Over Baking Tips is Best Thing For Their Fans on Internet Today

Hajati, a reformist, had tweeted on Tuesday that “for the past 10 days, I did whatever I could to release the two Bahai friends that were arrested but failed”. Also Read - U.P: Crackdown Against Tablighi Jamaat Continues, Ghaziabad Police Books 10 Indonesian Nationals

“Our generation is tasked to not back down in reforming judicial processes and other things that endanger social justice,” he wrote, also using a Persian hashtag that translating into English as “fair trial”.

His twitter account, @MehdiHajati was suspended hours after his arrest.

Bahram Parsayi, a lawmaker from Shiraz, came to Hajati’s defence on Thursday.

“Defending the civil rights of citizens should not be equated with supporting a cult,” semi-official news agency ISNA quoted him as saying.

Parsayi also vowed to pursue the case through the judicial and security authorities.

Iran allows religious freedom for several minorities but targets the Bahai faith, which believes in unity among religions and equality between men and women.

The Bahai faith considers Bahaullah, an Iranian born in 1817, to be the latest prophet sent by God, in contrast with Islamic orthodoxy.

Bahais have been targets of persecution and discrimination in Iran since the emergence of the faith in the second half of the 19th century, well before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Islamic republic regards Bahais as “heretics” and suspects many of espionage for Israel, where the community has a centre in the northern city of Haifa.

The Bahai faith has an estimated seven million followers worldwide, including some 300,000 Iran where the community says they are barred from pursuing higher education and holding government jobs. (AFP) SMJ SMJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.