Baha'is send letter to Iran's chief prosecutor

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by Barney Leith

The Baha’i International Community has addressed a powerful letter to Iran’s Prosecutor General, Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi.

The letter refutes the spurious accusations and allegations that have been made in recent days against the Baha’is in Iran and particularly against the national leadership group, six of whom have been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison without charge since May 2008, the seventh member having been held since March 2008.

False accusations

The Baha’i leaders have now been falsely accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic”. Shortly after the charges were announced, news reports from Iran indicated that the Prosecutor General had written to the Minister of Intelligence claiming that the existence of the informal national and local Baha’i coordinating groups in Iran was illegal.

This is arrant nonsense, and the letter explains why this is arrant nonsense (but in more respectful terms).

Baha’i leaders cease activity

The letter makes a poignant announcement:

The Yaran and the Khademin, the small groups that have been attending to the spiritual and social needs of the several hundred thousand Baha’is in Iran, the former at the national level and the latter at the local, have expressed their willingness to bring to a close their collective functioning.

Why?

This decision has been made for no other reason than to demonstrate yet again the goodwill that the Baha’is have consistently shown to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the past thirty years.

Praise for the people of Iran

The letter sets out the record of the Baha’i community as citizens of Iran who have always striven to be of service to their country. And it expresses gratitude for the “staunch commitment to justice” shown by Iranians, their courage and tenacity in defending their Baha’i neighbours and friends, and their epressions of sympathy and support for the beleaguered Baha’is.

What we cannot help noting, with much gratitude towards them in our hearts, is that a majority of those coming out in support of the beleaguered Baha’i community are themselves suffering similar oppression as students and academics, as journalists and social activists, as artists and poets, as progressive thinkers and proponents of women’s rights, and even as ordinary citizens.

Implications for freedom of conscience for all Iranian citizens

The letter concludes with a warning:

Your Honour, the decisions to be taken by the judiciary in Iran in the coming days will have implications that extend well beyond the Baha’i community in that land – what is at stake is the very cause of freedom of conscience for all the peoples of your nation. It is our hope that, for the sanctity of Islam and the honour of Iran, the judiciary will be fair in its judgment.

Read the letter

You can read the whole letter (highly recommended) in English or Persian.

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4 Responses

  1. Barmak Kusha

    March 6, 2009 7:32 pm

    A powerful letter indeed. The pen is mightier than the sword. Alas, these haters of light who rule Iran will never change. But they have been warned of the consequences of their own actions. They are burying themselves.

    Reply
  2. ke

    March 6, 2009 8:41 pm

    I believe this letter sends several very strong messages to the Islamic Republic Government of Iran (IRI), the Iranians who live in Iran and abroad and to the world.

    First it exposes the IRI of having nothing against the Seven accused by responding within few days and presenting as evidence three pages of incidents of religious persecutions of the Baha’i in Iran in the recent years as a mere example. IRI better believe, if needs be, much more cases with names, places, and events can be produced. Second the notion that IRI not only knew about the activities of Baha’is ad hoc groups but communicated with them is another example of these charges fallacy. They even ask if IRI really believe what they’re accusing the Baha’is of given what they knew.

    And finally the only weak attempt by the Prosecutor General, Dorri-Najafabadi to show a legal basis for the arrests of the Seven Yaran of Iran (Friends of Iran) is convincingly squashed but that brings us to the message to the second group; the Iranians who live in Iran. The implied warning is the interpretation of the constitutional law by Prosecutor General, Dorri-Najafabadi with regard to personal belief and conscious. If ratified by the courts it will leave the door wide open for the IRI to legally, not that it stops them before but it will look better in international circles, stop and arrest the participants of activities that they consider a treat to their powerbase.
    And finally, my favorite part is the contrast that is so apparent between the IRI and Baha’i community. In one hand you have the IRI that is putting all its resources, as a nation of some 75 million, behind subversive and divisive efforts to create conflicts between its own citizens. By conducting a well orchestrated campaign to misinform and demean the Baha’i Faith in the eyes of Iranians and at the same time is trying to make the Baha’is community believe that the whole country and all its Muslim citizens are against them. Little they know that the Baha’is have never held the general populous of Iran responsible for these atrocities and completely understand that these acts of hate are committed by those who are either on IRI payroll or by illiterate, uninformed, and credulous groups.

    On the other hand the Baha’i community of Iran despite these acts of hate and amid immense pressure, accusation, and innuendos, not only recently but through its 150 years history in the cradle of the Faith, has tirelessly provided acts of service to all and spread the message of love and unity amongst the people of Iran with the hope that one day the true be known. Well that one day is here. The people of Iran now know the truth that Baha’is don’t pose any threat to them or Iran, but only looking to better the life of the people in Iran by acts of service and “through pure and goodly deeds…and seemly conduct.”

    Reply
  3. WC

    March 7, 2009 12:20 pm

    A very magnificent letter indeed!! It clarifies the goals and objectives as well as activities of the Bahai communities ,in general through out the whole globe and it refers to the intentions and actions of the Yaran and the Bahai community in particular in Iran. It is so awe-inspiring that Yaran ,even,in prison are engaged with and think of their responsibilities as regards to the Bahais through out the country. Their detachment , steadfastness,certitude,and the spirit of their service is so appreciating. All these ,alone ,for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear are strong proofs for the truth of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation.
    It is absolutely ridiculous to accuse Yaran of having relationships with the Israel government and insulting what is sacred to the Islam. Mr. NajafAbadi who is the Prosecutor General knows well that Bahais are never spies as they never interfere in politics and they never insult anyone as they are told by Baha’u’llah to use the tongue for the Praise of God and for speaking good.
    However,one is quite shocked to see these accusations when a great number of Bahai students are expelled from the universities, the teachers insult the Bahai Faith in front of Bahai students ,schools expell young Bahai students, clergies raise their cries full of insults and lies to the Bahais in Iran. The Prosecutor General needs to observe all these. How is he going to face all these injustices according to judiciary laws that are devised to establish justice ?

    Reply

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