Editor’s Note: Mahnaz Parakand, is a lawyer and a member of the Human Rights Defenders Center. Ms. Parakand has been responsible for the legal representation of many Iranian prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, including Christian converts and Yaran-e Iran (former seven-member ad hoc leadership group of the Baha’i community of Iran). Following is her congratulatory message to the Baha’is of the world from her Facebook Page on the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith.
I would like to wish a joyous Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Messenger of the Baha’i Faith, to all my Baha’i friends in Iran and all over the globe, and to all who love peace, equality, and justice.
Baha’u’llah, the Messenger of the Baha’i Faith, was born in Iran, as was the Baha’i Faith. He, like other messengers and peacemakers of the past, suffered the hatred of the rulers, as well as that of the fake and pretentious religious figures. Baha’u’llah, like other messengers and peacemakers, gives glad tidings to his followers that listen to all words and choose the best thereof, and does not accept compulsion in religion.
Those who opposed Him exerted the toughest and most heinous tortures against Baha’u’llah and His followers. Many were forced from their homes. The oppression against the Baha’is in Iran is still ongoing, and has escalated since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Baha’i homes are burned, their cemeteries desecrated and destroyed, their businesses and shops closed and sealed by authorities, and their youth denied university education. Many have been imprisoned for their service to their community, and physical aggression is encouraged against them. Investigation into stabbings, beatings and even murder is not taken seriously; those who abuse and injure Baha’is are often lauded as heroes. Despite this mistreatment, the Baha’is remain patient and strong, relying on their beliefs of love, kindness, serving the humankind, and the plan for building a world without injustice and hatred ever in their minds.
I pride myself in having the chance to defend the rights of a few of these Baha’is in Iran and I hope in a day not too far, all this hatred and injustices are uprooted, and all humankind will taste the sweetness of justice and equality, and a world beautified with the jewels of peace and freedom.
Translation by Iran Press Watch