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Westminster College to Screen Film Education Under Fire

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Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College International Cultures Club in conjunction with the Department of Religion, History, Philosophy and Classics will be hosting a screening and conversation of the film "Education Under Fire" Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Mueller Theater, McKelvey Campus Center. The screening is free to the public.

The 30-minute documentary profiles the growth, struggle, and inspiring spirit of the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) and individuals of the Baha'i faith. Baha'is in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution, including arrests, torture, and execution simply for refusing to recant their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college. In 1987, the semi-underground BIHE 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. Over 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. The film co-sponsored by Amnesty International.   

"Education Under Fire" was filmed in nine cities with a dozen BIHE students or teachers, and representatives from several human rights organizations. The film features footage and photos spanning two decades of BIHE classes, rare video from inside Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, and photos and a film that bring alive a series of personal stories.

Dr. Bryan Rennie, Vira I. Heinz chair in religion, will give an introduction to the Baha'i Faith before the screening. Lynne Annis, a member of the Baha'i faith, will also be available to answer questions.

Contact Rennie at (724) 946-7151 or email for additional information.