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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1787

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (16:20): On 5 February I attended the Australian release of the documentary, To Light a Candle. The film documents the struggles and persecution of Baha'i followers in Iran over recent decades. The film's producer, Maziar Bahari, was present to answer questions and speak about his personal experiences in Iran, where he too had been imprisoned because of his stance against the ruling regime.

It is somewhat of a contradiction that Baha'i followers are being persecuted in the very country where the faith originated and where, in the past, it was a very much respected religion. I particularly noted the commitment Baha'i followers have to education for all, and their establishment of a network of universities around the world. Only by exposing violations of human rights wherever they occur do we bring hope to the persecuted and bring light to their lives.

On the night there were hundreds of people in attendance at the film—many of them Baha'i followers, but not all. It was good to see the broad community support for their struggles in Iran right now, and I hope that the release of the film in Adelaide is only the beginning of it being shown throughout Australia where, again, it might also expose what is happening, and bring further light to those being persecuted in Iran right now.