“I remember my father showing me the scars he had on his head from when he used to be beaten up by the children of his town on his way to school,” says Shirin. “So, of course, I didn’t tell my father that I was experiencing the same when I was growing up in Iran in the 1980s. I knew he prayed and hoped that the world would get better.”
In fact, persecution of the Bahais only increased following the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
And when Shirin’s son, Khosru, started going to school, she had to hide more bad news from her father.
“I did not tell him that the children of the children of the children who left him scarred, are now calling my son untouchable,” she says.
When, in the eighth grade, Khosru told the other children he was Bahai they dropped him like a stone.
“The kids wouldn’t touch me,” he says, “and if I were to touch them, they’d go and take a shower.”
Since the creation of the Bahai faith in the mid-19th Century, the Iranian Shia establishment has called them “a deviant sect”, principally because they reject the Muslim belief that Mohammed was the last prophet.