A Boca resident sheds light on human-rights abuses in Iran.
The Iranian government refers to it behind closed doors as “the Bahá’í question”—how to “deal” with the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, a peace-based faith that preaches inclusion and spiritual unity.
The official response to that question—the state-mandated persecution and imprisonment of Bahá’í leaders and educators—has reverberated all the way to Boca, where activist and film producer David Hoffman is stirring the likes of Amnesty International, Nobel laureates and supporters of human rights around the world to take action.
“We hope that we bring enough awareness and pressure to have some effect on those suffering immediately—and those who might suffer if we remain silent and don’t say anything,” Hoffman says.
Suffering in the Bahá’í community is as old as the relatively young religion itself, which started in Iran in the 1840s and now has approximately 7 million followers worldwide (including an estimated 300,000 in Iran). Since the overthrow of the country’s monarchy in 1979, persecution of the Bahá’í in Iran has grown more systemized, including desecration of holy sites and graves, torture and executions.
As a practicing Bahá’í, the former CEO of The Hoffman Group—which developed billions of dollars worth of oceanfront property in Myrtle Beach, S.C., from the early 1980s until he sold the company in 2006—was well-versed in the unspeakable acts against followers of a faith that celebrates the connective tissue between all religions…