|Town/City||Ross Creek 3351|
|Country of Origin||Iran|
|Date of Birth||22/11/62|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1981|
|Submitted by||Elham Jamali|
My name is Elham Jamali and my story begins in 1978 with the Islamic Revolution in Iran. I was 16 years old, a teenager forced to leave the country I was born in and I loved, because of my religious beliefs. I remember sitting in our house, terrorised by their threats of arson and arrest in the streets of Shiraz.
I am a Baha’i and to escape religious persecution, I migrated, together with my family, to Australia where I am free to practice my religion, study, work, live and die in peace. If I had stayed in Iran, I would not have been able to attend university, as Baha’i youth are banned to receive higher education unless they deny their Faith; my Baha’i marriage would not have been recognised as valid; my husband would have been unable to work for any government agency; my children would not have been able to receive tertiary education; we would have been prohibited from participating in administration of our Faith, afraid of being arrested and taken to prison; and even at death, I would not have been certain of a proper funeral and safe burial place.
In Australia, however, I went to university and obtained my bachelor of science degree, majoring in Microbiology; I married my husband who works for the DSE; my daughter studied Journalism and works in her field; my son is studying engineering and my younger son is also hoping to receive tertiary education after finishing high school. All my family is also very much involved in our Baha’i activities without any fear of persecution.
Australia is my home now, where I have been given all the rights and privileges any human being deserves, no matter what her/his beliefs are. For this I am forever grateful.
Although I still love the country of my birth, I am so much happier and richer to have been experiencing the freedom, diversity and beauty that Australian culture and nature has to offer.