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Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009 10:09 am

Letters to the Editor 11/05/09

Racism, Baha'i Faith and Unemployment

Jairo Arenas, a Baha’i who lives in Miami Beach, Fla., reads his prayer book during a February gathering focused on seven Baha’i leaders in Iran who are jailed and facing trial due to their religious beliefs


Racism and the acceptance of racism has reared its ugly head again!

On Monday, Oct. 26, my husband and I went to the Capital City Bar and Grill in Capital City Shopping Center for their $1 hamburger, fries, beer and Monday Night Football. What we got was an earful of racial slurs from two drunks, an accepting demeanor from the other patrons at the bar and no reaction from the employees.

It saddens me as a person born and raised in this city that we keep taking steps backward in the areas of race and cultural acceptance.

Sharon Beler


During the last 17 months, seven leaders of the Baha’i Faith in Iran have been imprisoned by the Iranian government on fabricated charges — including spying for Israel — that carry a potential death penalty. These baseless charges have not yet been adjudicated in Iran’s state-run court system, because the trial of these otherwise ordinary and peaceful citizens keeps being postponed by the Iranian government.

International outcry has been swift and steady during the 17-month period. The latest group to raise its voice in concern is the U.S. House of Representatives, which overwhelmingly passed a resolution Oct. 23 condemning the Iranian government’s “state-sponsored persecution” of members of the Baha’i faith and its “continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.”

This is the 11th Congressional resolution since 1982 to address the religious oppression of the Baha’is in Iran. These resolutions serve as reminders of the near continuous persecution of Baha’is meted out by the Iranian government since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Since the 1979 revolution, 10,000 Baha’is have been dismissed from government and university jobs, their pensions denied and, in some cases, forced to be repaid. Hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Baha’is have had their homes raided and possessions seized, and more than 200 Baha’is have been summarily executed by Iran’s cruel and tyrannical government. It is feared the seven Baha’i leaders currently imprisoned could meet a similar fate if international pressures are not maintained.

Mike Lang
Springfield Baha’i Community


Jim Hightower [see “Obama must get going on jobs,” Oct. 22] succinctly encapsulates the urgency our nation and this state should feel when it comes to creating jobs. I suggest that Illinois voters should put job creation at the top of their lists when it comes to vetting candidates to be our next governor.

While all of them will claim to be pro-jobs, for me, the standard bearer is Republican Kirk Dillard. Dillard — Gov. Jim Edgar’s first chief of staff — is the only candidate from any political party who seems to possess both that sense of urgency and the wherewithal to get the job done. His vision to turn Illinois into a “destination economy” recognizes the great assets that this state has to offer, as well as the hurdles of overcoming nearly a decade of anti-employer rhetoric from the governor’s office. His goal is to help build this state with good-paying jobs that provide health care coverage, pension benefits and brighter futures for working men and women.

Richard Schroeder


I am a disabled veteran and I receive 60 percent disability from the VA and suffer from depression and PTSD. Back on July 4, 2009, I was pulled over by the Sherman police for improper lane usage. This is the second time that I have had contact with the same officer, who arrested me for DUI after I came off active duty orders Sept. 1, 2008.

Once again, this officer, working a different jurisdiction, pulled me over and once again arrested me for DUI. This time, the circumstances were much different, and I was not intoxicated.

It seems returning veterans and/or disabled veterans are being profiled and harassed by law enforcement for no reason. Something needs to be done, and a positive outlet needs to be found to help me and other veterans who have experienced similar issues.

Antonio R. Forte

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