Open letter responding to the mistreatment of the Baha’is in Iran

March 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

This letter, dated March 4th, by the Baha’i Internatonal Community to Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, the Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic of Iran is clear headed and direct. It is sincere in its intent: to clear the names of the 7 Baha’is on trial in Iran as well as secure the safety of all Baha’is in that country. For decades, the Baha’is have been followed and treated like aggressors. More recently, young Baha’is are being kicked out of university or not admitted at all on the basis of their Faith. Here are a couple of excerpts from the letter. Click here to read it in its entirety.

· In these past few years, the number of Bahá’ís arrested without cause has climbed; the confiscation of Bahá’í personal property has grown; attacks on Bahá’í homes have escalated; acts of arson against Bahá’í properties have proliferated; the desecration and destruction of Bahá’í cemeteries have spread; the sealing of shops owned by Bahá’ís has increased; refusals of bank loans and business licenses to Bahá’ís have multiplied; harassment of landlords with Bahá’í tenants has intensified; threats against fellow citizens who associate with Bahá’ís have mounted; and the vilification of Bahá’í children in their classrooms by teachers has been on the rise. That such acts are being systematically orchestrated city by city is unquestionable.

The whole letter describes more of the injustices, both recent and historical.

Your Honor, the events of recent years and the nature of the accusations made raise questions in the mind of every unbiased observer as to the intent behind the systematic perpetration of injustice against the Bahá’ís of Iran. Even if there might have been some misunderstandings about the motives of the Bahá’í community during the early turbulent days of the revolution, how can such suspicions persist today? Can it be that any member of the esteemed government of Iran truly believes the false accusations which have been perpetuated about the Bahá’ís in that country? Are not the following facts well known to the authorities in the various branches of the government?

· In whatever country they reside, Bahá’ís strive to promote the welfare of society. They are enjoined to work alongside their compatriots in fostering fellowship and unity and in establishing peace and justice. They seek to uphold their own rights, as well as the rights of others, through whatever legal means are available to them, conducting themselves at all times with honesty and integrity. They eschew conflict and dissension. They avoid contest for worldly power.

Baha’is work together with others to offer children’s classes, pre-youth groups and devotionals, among other things, to their friends with a simple goal in mind: to serve and promote unity. The letter concludes with a series of questions, still doubting where the misinformation could possibly come from. The letter asks questions such as these:

In light of these well-established facts, Your Honor, it is difficult to understand how words such as “manipulative” and “deceitful,” “dangerous” and “threatening,” can be applied to Bahá’í activity in Iran. Do you consider dangerous the efforts of a group of young people who, out of a sense of obligation to their fellow citizens, work with youngsters from families of little means to improve their mathematics and language skills and to develop their abilities to play a constructive part in the progress of their nation? Is it a threat to society for Bahá’ís to discuss with their neighbors noble and high-minded ideals, reinforcing the conviction that the betterment of the world is to be achieved through pure and goodly deeds and through commendable and seemly conduct?

My request to you: Say a prayer for not only the freedom of the 7 Baha’is on trial (who have yet to see legal council) but also the well-fare of the entire Baha’i community of Iran. I truly hope that my kids will see the day when the Baha’is of Iran stop being persecuted on false pretenses.

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