Baha'is welcome support from Iranian intellectuals worldwide

By staff writers
February 17, 2009

The Baha’i International Community has issued a statement of gratitude to the Iranian intellectuals, scholars, writers, journalists, activists and artists throughout the world who signed a recent open letter apologizing for their silence during Iran’s long-running mistreatment of the Baha’is.

Baha’i is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in nineteenth-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

The open letter from the Iranians – dated 3 February and signed so far by 243 men and women living in 19 countries – had asked Baha’is to forgive them “for the wrongs committed against the Baha’i community of Iran” over the last century and a half."

It declares: “We will no longer be silent when injustice is visited upon you.”

The letter enumerates some of the ways Baha’is have been persecuted, from “barbaric murders” to depriving young people of higher education because of their religion.

In response, the Baha’i International Community told the signatories that the letter “brought a degree of solace and relief to the pain that your Baha’i fellow citizens endure.”

“On their behalf and that of the Baha’is throughout the world we convey our profound gratitude and appreciation for a deed of such historical moment,” the Baha’i message said.

In a press statement this week, the organizers behind the letter say that many more people would like to sign.

The letter declres: “We are ashamed that during the last 30 years, the killing of Baha’is solely on the basis of their religious beliefs has gained legal status and over 200 Baha’is have been slain on this account.”

It ends: “We stand by you in achieving all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights. Let us join hands in replacing hatred and ignorance with love and tolerance.”

Baha'i World News Service:

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