Editor’s note: On 20th March 2009, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Spain, on behalf of the Bahá’í community of its country, addressed an open letter to its fellow Spanish citizens. The letter seeks to acquaint the members of the Spanish society with the injustices inflicted upon the Bahá’ís in Iran since the inception of the IRI and to urge them to speak up for the beleaguered Bahá’í community of Iran, regardless of their position in society. The full text of the letter can be found here (in Spanish). The last few paragraphs are presented below in translation.
For over a century, the Bahá’ís in Iran have sought to uplift the spiritual lives of their fellow citizens, have freely offered classes in literacy and moral education to the children and youth of their land, have struggled to reflect the fundamental principle that men and women are equal in the eyes of God, have gathered their neighbours together to study that the betterment of the world must be achieved through pure and goodly deeds, have tried to access higher education without having to renounce their religion in order to be able to serve their country, have demonstrated the greatest respect for all religions, because, in essence, they come from the same God, and have remained loyal to the laws of their government, despite having to endure the scorn and the ingratitude of a regime that does not tolerate those whose beliefs differ from those of the State.
The Bahá’í Community of Spain now addresses all citizens residing in this country, with no objective other than to seek to demonstrate to those who want to exterminate a segment of the population that cares about the social, material, ethical and spiritual welfare of their nation, that the only thing they will achieve is to attract more and more people to this cause and that the more they strangle them, socially and economically, the more well-intentioned souls around the globe will become concerned about the future of this community and will themselves disseminate the principles that underpin the Bahá’í Faith.
Altruistic actions are like a lamp that illuminates society and the government’s actions in Iran are like oil that fuels that light, a light that neither envy nor hate can ever extinguish. The Bahá’í Community abhors all forms of prejudice and is gravely concerned about the fact that in the 21st century this scourge continues which cannot remain indifferent to any human being. That is why we invite you from your own position, whatever it is, to join us in eradicating this poison which is causing so many of the diseases that the world is suffering from today.
If you work in the media, please disseminate the facts described here.
If you work in the field of justice, please share with colleagues how Iran treats people whose religious beliefs differ from those of the state and do everything possible to ensure, neither here nor anywhere, a recurrence of similar situations.
If you are related to the world of politics, make use of the tools of dialogue which are available to you to ensure your counterparts in Iran react to the error being committed.
If you work in the field of education, teach your pupils the value of tolerance and respect as opposed to discrimination and scorn.
And if you, like the Baha’is, simply feel that everyone has the right to live according to their religious beliefs without fear and prejudice of any kind, share this letter (www.bahai.es/cartaabiertaalasociedad) and the principles underpinning our faith with your acquaintances, thereby helping to raise the voices of those who are forbidden to speak.
Baha’i Community of Spain.
[Source: http://www.bahai.es/cartaabiertaalasociedad/ Translation contributed by a kind reader]