Editor’s Note: Iran Press Watch is pleased to share the following informed statement of support by writers and journalists from Kurdistan. The Kurdistan region, covering land in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, is victim to long-running separatist conflicts in which thousands of lives have been lost. Under such circumstances, the statement in support of Iranian Baha’is is a sign of courage, selflessness and humanity. Iran Press Watch recognizes that we are living through a major turning point in the emancipation of the Baha’i Faith in Iran. There is no longer a conspiracy of silence about the Faith, maintained through coercion against those who would publicly appreciate the nonviolence, inclusive principles, and spiritual ideals of the Baha’i community.
The Universal House of Justice
Human-rights Activist Groups in Iran
Human-rights Observer Groups across the Globe
Secretary General of the United Nations
With boundless greetings,
Reports from the Islamic Republic’s news agencies and other non-official sources indicate that that the Leadership Council of the Islamic Republic has issued a defamatory circular letter to Intelligence, Security, Military and Disciplinary forces throughout the country in which it has reintroduced such old clichés as referring to the Baha’i Faith as “the wayward sect of Baha’ism”, “being associated with Zionism” and the “necessity of reacting harshly against the followers of Baha” – demonstrating its firm intent to gird up its tyrannical resolve to design and execute a systematic crime against humanity and against the followers of the Baha’i Faith in Iran. This is also evidenced by the letter of the nation’s Prosecutor-General to the Ministry of Intelligence.
Fundamentally, reference to any religious group in the world with a particular following as a “wayward sect” is not only unbefitting of our humanity, but the expression is now so undermined and outdated that any reference to it in any context quickly brings to mind the dark ages, the medieval period, the inquisition, the rule of religious deceit and taking advantage of the effects of religion on humans through misinterpretation and misrepresentation of lofty religious truths by a number of deceitful individuals clothed in the garment of leadership and spirituality.
Our first question is: Who has granted permission to the lords of bloodshed, murder and crime to attribute from the hogwash of their petrified, backward minds to any other religious, national, ethnical or political group such phrases as “wayward sect”, “satanic faction”, “arms of despotisms”, “allies”, “mercenaries”, “agents of espionage”, etc., and to hurl accusations against other schools of thought, against followers of such heterodoxies, against supporters of peace, freedom and democracy, and against those who resist following a grotesque and dead ideology by the name of the Islamic Republic.
Having accepted diversity and pluralism, the present-day mind undoubtedly accepts and values all dimensions of thought – national, religious, linguistic, political, cultural and social backgrounds – only within the overarching concept of humanity and as human beings.
Having accepted this reality, it will then recognize all other related details and hold itself responsible for observing and safeguarding the material and spiritual rights of groups with diverse belief, national, religious, linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds.
The world of today is a world that challenges any sort of oppression against any group of people belonging to any school of thought, nation, religion, language, culture or society. It accepts thinking differently – along with diversity – as an obvious and fundamental principle; and while defining its parameters, guides the efforts of human rights foundations, activists, writers, intellectuals, journalists and even governmental disciplines to respect others even in light of differences of thought and opinion.
The recent communiqué from the Leadership Council and the nation’s Prosecutor-General to the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic indicating the necessity for dealing harshly with the Baha’i Faith and attributing to it the baseless and unfounded accusation of association with the international Zionism demonstrates that, unable to design a plot on the immense scale of international conspiracies and fearful of subjects which might induce a crisis among different Iranian groups, and in order to cover up an imminent crisis in the disintegration of its regime, the Islamic Republic has once again – as it has attempted many times before – chosen the policy of concocting a pretence of conspiracy and suppression of the supposed conspirators and has targeted the followers of the Baha’i Faith for its purposes.
We, writers and journalists from Kurdistan in adherence to our humanitarian responsibilities, wish to inform the people of Kurdistan in general, and in particular those who live in Iran, of the reality that the Baha’i Holy Places and the World Centre of the Baha’i Faith were established 80 years prior to the formation of the State of Israel and during the reign of the Ottoman Empire in the two cities of Haifa and ‘Akka; that the Founder of the Baha’i Faith – an independent religion with its own exclusive order – was exiled to that land by the order of the Iranian rulers of the time; that there is no relationship between Zionism, in a political sense, and Baha’ism with its religious foundations; and that we wish to announce our unconditional support for Kurdish Baha’is, for non-Kurdish Baha’is living in Kurdistan, for the nearly 350 thousand Baha’is living in Iran (and constituting the largest religious minority in the country), and for over six million Baha’is living across the globe bringing this religion to recognition as the second most widespread religion on earth.
While condemning the government’s decisions, in the midst of the collapse of the Islamic Republic, to consider it necessary to clash with the followers of Baha in Iran, we announce our readiness – both by means of the pen as well as by more forceful action – to erase this recurring shame; and we earnestly expect the human-rights organizations and foundations of the world, as well as political groups and parties in Kurdistan and other ethnic groups in Iran, to leave no stone unturned in announcing official statements condemning this excessive scrutiny of beliefs, this design for the suppression of the friends of peace and fellowship (the people of Baha), and this neo-holocaust.
A group of writers and journalists from Kurdistan
Validity of signatures has been ascertained and they have been archived for security reasons.
[Published in Persian on 16 February 2009 at: http://komala.eu/kurdi/?p=562]