Open Letter to Mr. Ahmadinejad

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Editor’s Note: The following open letter was written by Brazil’s National Spiritual Assembly [the highest elected administrative body of Brazil’s Baha’is] during Mr. Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to their country.

Mr. President,

Your visit to Brazil, invited by President Lula, provokes a reflection on the relations between both countries. Brazil and Iran have increased both their attention in the world scenario: they are emerging countries, with enormous geopolitical influence, and a population marked by the diversity. Nothing more natural, therefore, that to promote this approximation, sharing good practices and verifying possibilities of cooperation.

In name of the above mentioned similarities, we call your attention on the following point: whereas Brazil has adopted a model of living together in diversity, with policies aiming at intensifying participation and the respect for human rights, in Iran there are reckless practices of restriction of the rights and of persecution to the racial minorities, of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and of religious identity.

In Iran, the Bahá’ís (the largest religious minority in the country) face the severe consequences of religious discrimination, having their work licenses denied, as well as their access to education and justice. Their properties and sacred places are confiscated and destroyed. In the last 30 years, more than 250 were executed; since 2005, more than 200 were arbitrarily imprisoned, intimidated and harrassed – all because they will not deny their faith. Their 7 national leaders have been arbitrarily imprisoned for more than 18 months, their defense being constantly impeded.

The government-controlled media offends the Bahá’ís with hundreds of articles, radio and television programmes, web posts and leaflets with speeches of hatred, promoted by clergymen and governmental officials – whereas Bahá’ís are prohibited from exercising their right to response.

Here in Brazil, the Bahá’ís take part in the construction of democracy and development of their communities – activities recognized by the Brazilian Government and society. Here, they can practice their faith with freedom and safety, in consonance with the principles of oneness of humankind, equality of race and gender, promotion of peace and service to humanity.

How can this difference of treatmentto be justifyed, then? Why is it that the Bahá’ís, in most parts of the world, are seen as persons of good will, committed with the advancement of the society, without any involvement to partisan politics, and in Iran, precisely where their Faith was born in the 19th century, they receive such a degrading treatment?

It is the responsibility of governments to promote the common good, to defend the interests of their citizens and to stimulate human development, with justice and dignity. We hope that the dialogue between both Presidents may stimulate the reflection on the needs of new policies in Iran that allow the followers of all the religions, including the Bahá’ís, to contribute with the progress of their motherland.

Original Portugese; Translation by Jheniefeer Sayyáh

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14 Responses

  1. Maliheh

    December 3, 2009 11:03 pm

    Beautiful letter, hope it has effect on the deaf ears of the president of Iran and other authorities of the our homeland.

    Reply
  2. Shamim Bina

    December 6, 2009 5:57 pm

    Allah-u-Abha, this is great! Thank you for this Jheniefeer! I am going to put it on facebook for all the Bahais to see. = ) God bless

    Reply
  3. Steven

    December 7, 2009 4:36 pm

    Also keep in mind members of the Brazilian Congress have made several talks by lawmakers on the treatment of Baha’is in Iran. See
    , third paragraph and the footnote thereof mentioning Brazil. If you follow things back you will find Portuguese and English versions of their talks I believe. If the above link doesn’t work with your browser program try

    Reply
  4. Jheniefeer

    December 7, 2009 8:37 pm

    César, it actually was published in the most important newspapers of the country, as an open letter addressed to M.Ahmadinejad

    Reply
  5. Firuz

    December 7, 2009 11:53 pm

    Greetings from the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne. I just read the the heart warming letter of speaking the truth and asking for human rights and justice for suffering Baha’i community in Iran. Even at the Parliament the Baha’i presentations are challenged by representative of the Iranian government. I have to confess that after talking with several members and apealing to their sense of Justice, I found them sincere but very miss informed. after blaming Baha’is, one of them ackwnoldged that there has been some mistakes made by Govenment as well. When I heard that I almost cried and thanked that mula for saying that.
    Blessing to all who work for justice.

    Reply
  6. sb

    December 8, 2009 3:27 pm

    To know that this letter to Mr. Ahmadinejad was published openly in the most important Brazilian newspapers is wonderfully inspiring. It proves how sympathetic are the hearts of Brazilian people. To know that this could be read at the World Parliment of Religions to Iranian clergy brings tears to my eyes. Thanks to the sweet souls who made this letter so accessible! (Jheniefeer, Firuz, IPW) God bless!

    Reply
  7. Ned Cundall

    December 8, 2009 7:08 pm

    This was a powerful statement and I am happy it was published in a leading Brazilian newspaper. Perhaps Baha’i’s in other democracies that Mr Ahmadinejad visits can make known the facts about the persecution of the Baha’i’s, and indeed other religious minorities.

    I am commenting from Burundi, Central Africa, where I am working as a consultant for a few weeks. There is a Baha’i community here, which is working for a lasting peace.

    Reply
  8. Parviz Rouhani پرویز روحانی

    December 17, 2009 10:27 am

    بسیار نامه بموقع و جاب و با حکمتی است .
    بنده پیشنهاد میکنم که در سفر های آینده رئیس جمهوری های ایرانی به کشور های دیگر
    محافل ملی ان کشور ها چنین نامه هائی برای ایشان ارسال دارند و کپی یا رونوشتی هم برئیس جمهور کشور مورد بازدید نیز ارسال شود
    موفق و موید باشید

    Reply

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