Statement of Support by Writers and Journalists from Kurdistan

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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.

To:
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following as a “wayward sect” is not only unbefitting of our humanity, but the expression is now so undermined and outdated that any reference to it in any context quickly brings to mind the dark ages, the medieval period, the inquisition, the rule of religious deceit and taking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]

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14 Responses

  1. Akhtar

    February 18, 2009 5:53 pm

    These people, our Kurd sisters and brothers, are the embodiments of bravery. Who would dare living in Iran today and making such a courageous statement? I don’t know them, but whoever they are they have my greatest respect to my last breath. May their lives be blessed with confirmations from the Kingdom of God!

    Reply
  2. Claire

    February 18, 2009 7:29 pm

    This is proud moment for us in the history of humanity when one persecuted group stands for another. Kurds were one of the first to open their homes to Baha’is when the mob burned 90+ Baha’i homes in Azerbaijan. They took Baha’is in and gave them refuge. They have always practiced honor and integrity. With gratitude …

    Reply
  3. Maryam Manteghi

    February 18, 2009 8:18 pm

    I am a Baha’i and my grandfather was a Kurd. He was not a Baha’i but I feel very proud today that his people have stood up in this extraordinary way. I commend them.

    Reply
  4. Becky Hillman

    February 19, 2009 1:55 pm

    This is one of the most phenomenally moving letters I have ever read. May God forever bless and protect the writers of this letter and all the Kurdish peoples.

    Becky

    Reply
  5. Dan LaBerge

    February 19, 2009 2:45 pm

    I am a Canadian Bahai .
    Thank you , authors of this letter .
    Justice will be served in the next life if not in this one .

    Reply
  6. sb

    February 19, 2009 3:59 pm

    I simply LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Kurds.
    Thank you for this wonderful statement.

    The statement by the Kurdish Press was shared with my Baha’i community last night, which gathered to say prayers for the seven prisoners. Many of my community members have themselves experienced persecution, imprisonment, and torture before fleeing Iran.

    Hearing the Kurdish statement was an amazing ray of hope for them.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Reply
  7. Margie D. Bulkin

    February 20, 2009 3:19 am

    I am a 5th generation American Baha’i. My great great grandmother, embraced the Baha’i teachings while living in Los Angeles in 1912. She was a woman free to choose, practice, and promote her faith. I am the beneficiary of her convictions. I am so moved by the outspoken and eloquent truths that this letter proposes in defense of the Baha’is who have stood courageously in the face of persecution in Iran for over 150 years.

    Reply
  8. Jeanne Farr

    February 20, 2009 5:09 am

    The honor deserved by these courageous Kurdish Iraninans will fall on all Kurds, around the world. It seems this is not the first time we have seen such selfless support from our Kurdish friends. God bless their souls.

    “Once arrived at the Persian frontier, Jamshid and Muhammad-‘Ali were handed over to Kurdish chiefs to be sent on to Tihran. The Kurdish chiefs could see that the prisoners were innocent men, kindly and well-disposed, who had fallen a prey to their enemies. Instead of dispatching them to the capital, they set them free. Joyfully, the two hastened away on foot, went back to Bahá’u’lláh and found a home close by Him in the Most Great Prison.”

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 120)

    Well is it with that learned man whose head is adorned with the crown of justice, and whose body glorieth in the ornament of honesty.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, A Traveller’s Narrative, p. 45)

    Reply
  9. Niaz

    February 21, 2009 12:05 am

    I am one of the translators of Iran Press Watch into Spanish and I’ve just had the great honour and privilege of translating this impressive statement. As a Baha’i and as a human being, I feel impelled to express my deepest gratitude to the authors of such a brave, sincere, and touching statement. You are, from now on, included in my list of most admired heroes.

    Reply
  10. Dan

    February 21, 2009 12:42 am

    I totally agree with Niaz.
    We are privileged to be witnesses of such a phenomental flow of declarations and statements of heartfelt support, pouring in one upon another in such a short span of time from governments, parliaments, NGOs, Institutes, ethnic and other groups, both from Iran and abroad.

    Hadn’t the Iranian Judiciary decided to release the news of the trial of the seven Bahá’í leaders, the plight of the long-suffering Bahá’í community wouldn’t have reached the whole world.

    The long-awaited emancipation of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran is drawing near.
    God is Glorious.

    Reply

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