Editor's note 'The small cannot oppose the great, the few cannot oppose the many, the weak cannot oppose the strong.' This traditional Chinese proverb, reflecting, inter alia, minority-majority adversarial group relationships, is as old as history itself, but group conflict does not belong only to history and many current political clashes are the result of group tensions within or beyond the borders of a state. The mere existence of a group with certain characteristics which differ markedly from those of a predominant majority in such matters as ethnicity, race, religion, language, or culture, does not in itself lead inevitably to latent or active factional antagonism: in states embracing a mosaic of peoples tolerant of each other, multi-cultural diversity is a source of social enrichment. Only if a self-conscious group that desires to preserve its distinctiveness, traditions, and satisfactory development is subjected to discrimination, forced assimilation, violence, or other oppressive acts is a 'minority problem' created.' The experience of the law-abiding Bahai's, the largest religious minority in Iran, illustrates the nature of such a 'problem'. Since the establishment of the Islamic Revolutionary Government in Teheran in 1979, the Shiite majority regime has denied the Bahai's rights to non-discrimination and
International Journal on Minority and Group Rights – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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