09/09/2013 11:52 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2013

In The Name Of Religion: Iran

Living in Hawaii seems like paradise to many but when you're living on an island and listening to NPR and watching CNN you feel helpless to see all the suffering in the world. The place doesn't matter, the suffering becomes your concern.

Imagine you're living in a country where education is not afforded to you, where you're excluded from the work place; abuse in all forms is rampant and accepted as the norm. Repression and living in oppression is part of the daily routine. Your Faith is unacceptable; intolerable and claimed by the government as illegitimate and a pretense used for spying. Now open your eyes as I welcome you and introduce you to the present day Iran.

Recall the book and movie 'The Stoning of Soraya M,' a story of injustice and inequality, and you will witness a husband's greed, a country's atrocities and savagery towards its women, which fails not only to honor the law but the punishment carried out is actually prohibited by Islamic law and ignored in the name of Islam!

Have you ever pondered why we have religion? Consider as well that most all religions teach us to pray, love and respect one another. Not one religion has ever stated to hate, mistreat and kill one another. So why all the destruction in the world in the name of religion? It's absurd. It's not because of religion; it's because of man's own lack of understanding and personal interpretations, and his greed and desire for power, which -- we now know -- has led to corruption.

When will there be peace? Beauty pageants such as "Miss Universe" and "Miss America" have echoed 'I want world peace' year after year, yet no one seems to have an answer nor are we really listening. Is anyone listening?

Lest we forget the tragedies that were publicized in 2009: The death of Neda Agha- Soltan who was shot in the heart during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The government denies that her death was a result of the protests but rather that her death was planned by the protesters to be used as propaganda.

And in the summer of 2009, Americans Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal were captured by Iranian soldiers at gunpoint and imprisoned for espionage. They were on a hiking excursion. They were sentenced to eight years in prison. Finally, in September 2010, Shourd was released and in 2011 Bauer and Fattal were released after paying $500,000 each when Iranian President Ahmadinejad decided that the bail was due to a humanitarian gesture.

And even prior to 2009 -- actually since August 2004 -- there are approximately 700 Baha'i's who have been arrested in Iran. There are over 100 Iranian Baha'i's who are currently in prison due to their religious beliefs. According to the Baha'i news website ( thousands of Baha'i's in Iran have been deprived of education, questioned, threatened, denied their pensions or debarred from earning a livelihood.

Most widely spread imprisonment was in May of 2008 when seven Baha'i leaders were imprisoned, and on May 5, 2013, the Baha'i International Community launched an international campaign, entitled 'Five Years Too Many' to call for the immediate release of these individuals.

So, what can be done? How do you end this injustice? What super power will come to the aid of that type of injustice? God, of course, is the first response but He unselfishly gave free will so that the people (we) can figure this out. Two plus two equals four, putting innocent individuals in prison does not equal right! It is wrong! It is injustice! The question again: what super power will come to the aid of this injustice?

A hui hou kākou