Washington, DC, Feb. 5, 2009—The Institute on Religion and Public Policy heartily commends the open letter signed by over 40 Iranian intellectuals apologizing to Bahai’s for remaining silent over their country’s ill-treatment of the community.
The letter, entitled “We are ashamed!” and published yesterday on Iranian.com, includes the signatures of professors, playwrights, political activists and many others. “We are ashamed that during the last thirty years, the killing of Baha’is solely on the basis of their religious beliefs has gained legal status and over two-hundred Baha’is have been slain on this account,” reads one clause.
Last year, Iranian authorities arrested all seven members of the country’s Baha’i national leadership, in the worst attack on the community since the Iranian Revolution. They are still being held at Tehran’s Evin Prison, and the men are together in one cell with no beds, according to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the U.S.
“The open letter is a great first step in publicizing and accepting societal responsibility for the way Baha’is have been persecuted over the last 150 years,” said Institute President Joseph K. Grieboski. “Now it’s up to the Iranian government to do the same and stop its abuse of the community.”