Baha'i News -- The Iranian: Letters August 22, 2002 (Part II) LETTERS

August 22, 2002

Part II
See Part I
See part III



* It is NOT the fault of the Prophet

I liked your article; It was quite fair considering that you consider ALL religions to be "hocus pocus" [Heechee kam nadaaran]. I will grant you that there is a lot of hocus pocus present in most if not ALL religions, but that is the fault of those who would wish to "improve" or put their own limited understanding on a Revelation, be it Mohammad's, Jesus', Buddha's, Baha'u'llah's or what have you. It is NOT the fault of the Prophet, no matter which one you choose to follow (or choose not to follow)!

I, for one, do not share your view (my understanding of your view) that Religions are worthless. The word itself means simply to re-unite people into a common goal: to treat one another with respect and tolerance. Politics, with all their tendencies to support special interests and to further the politician's own careers, are deserving of all the acrimony that you seem to award Religions.

I will also grant you that some religious factions are actively pursuing a political agenda, but in doing so they are corrupting the Religion that they claim to support. This again is politics and should not be regarded as a religious activity.

Larry A.


* Have you forgotten?

In his letter to the editor, Mr. Kaveh Ahangar claims: "Finally, I would like to remind you that the Bahais like all other religeous minorities enjoyed full citizen's right during the Pahlavi era."

I should ask: has Mr. Ahangar forgotten that soon after the American-sponsored 1953 coup, Shah had pushed the new oil contract imposed on Iran by the consortium of seven international oil companies (Seven Sisters) through Iran's parliament and to buy the support of the Shiite clerics, he had allowed Ayatollah Behbahani's persecution of Baha'is in 1955 and asked both the military governor of Tehran and the Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff to join preacher Falsafi and a group of civilian enthusiasts in ransacking Bahai temple and headquarters in Tehran, tearing down its dome?

Arash Kamangir


* But what is Bahai'ism?

Let's set aside for the time being the question of Bahai persecution in Iran and focus for a minute on the religion of Bahaism itself. [Heechee kam nadaaran, Medieval ignorance]

No one is arguing that Bahais are overtly discriminated against and persecuted in Iran. No one is arguing that Bahais aren't otherwise some of the most down-to-earth and friendly people among Iranians.

But what is Bahai'ism? Who is Baha'ullah? Has anyone EVER bothered to question the very basis of this religion? Here is a man (Baha'ullah) who comes along in the 19th century and claims to be the last prophet, the last messenger of God, sort of a Messiah and Imam Zaman combined into a single Superprophet.

Then he partitions a group of followers who subsequently go around proselytizing and claiming this new religion is the last in the line of great monotheistic religions. Sounds like a CULT to me. If today someone came along and made the same claims this Baha'ullah made then that person would be dismissed as a schizophrenic.

What makes this Baha'ullah character any less of a charlatan than David Koresh or Hari Krishna? Hmmmm?? One could make the same argument against the prophet Mohammad. But the difference is that Islam caught on immediately, became a world force immediately, and today is one of the three great monotheistic religions in the world with the 2nd largest number of adherents. 150 years later Bahai'ism remains a little known religion with barely a few million followers.

The principles of Bahai'ism are seemingly peaceful and coherent, but why these people choose to follow and put up pictures of some cult-like figure is inexplicable.

NN


* Thank you

Thank you for writing such a moving article about plight of the Bahais of Iran. [Heechee kam nadaaran]

Kamyar


* Penetrate major government and industry positions

Hello Sir:

You say that the Bahais are not the bastard children of British colonialism [ Medieval ignorance]. You also say that the Iranian Bahais can hardly be assumed a fifth column. So how can you explain the fact that in last 15 years of the rule of the Pahlavi dynasty there were so many prominent positions in government and industry occupied by the Bahais?

To give you an example the late Prime Minister Hoveyda or the head of Iran Air General Khademi were Bahais? For your information there were also many Persian Jews who converted to Bahaism. Could it be that Bahaism could provide them with a convenient cover to penetrate and ultimately occupy major government and industry positions? I mean the Jews all over the world are so apt to cover their true identity and allegiances. For instance they are known as name-changers.

In this world where every aspect of life at the international, national, municipal and even office level is governed by dirty politics and silent conspiracies your article although informative is absolutely irrelevant. Then all it boils down to in today's world is control over resources and power. Human rights issues at the international level are just a political tool used to exert pressure and are the equivalent of "white man's burden".

I would still contend that the average Iranian in Iran is far more humane that the average North-American or European who are so full of themseleves. They wear nice suits and nice eau-de-colognes but are mostly a bunch of hypocrites who deep down smell of shit. Colonialism and imperialism are alive and well. They are just more difficult to discern. In today's world thieves don't bother to climb up other people's walls. They have devised more modern and subtle ways of robbery.

Unfortunately the Iranian Bahais even outside Iran have amply demonstrated that they do not really feel as part of the larger Iranian community and stick to their cliques and have a secretive nature with their mahfels. And also be assured that there are many Iranians who know exactly how this cult came into being and was cultivated. Sure the message is very appealing and nice but is it authentic?

Why do the Bahais stake a claim to Iran and not the other parts of the world given their view of one world? Why do they overly exaggerate and solely concentrate on their own situation in Iran? You can find an example of this exaggeration at the following website:

http://www.endgenocide.org/genocide...html http://www.endgenocide.org/genocide/20thcen.htm

Here their plight in Iran is being equated to the Holocaust of the Jews and the Armenian Genocide, etc. Does it compare? Have a nice day.

Behzad Yamini


* Who do they think they are?

I think you are right. We don't know much about Islam. But I can tell you one thing: Muslims all over the world are giving a bad impression of Islam. First I want to begin with discrimination against Bahais in Iran and the brutal killing of their members and the fact that they don't exist in the eyes of Muslims.

Second the killing in other places in the name of God just because they say they have to finish evil in this case they see USA as the principal infidels like they call us, the faces of joy we saw on TV the day of September 11 -- I never forget the lady cheer of happiness for the lost what religion teaches you to hate, kill, discriminate, and disrespect human rights?

I can tell you my friend, many bad things I see in Muslims. Who do they think they are? They think they are superior to all of us, that they can cover themselves and their stupidity in the name of God. Bull!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Call me ingnorant but my belief will not change about Islam. I am sad to see the world be terrified by slam.

With all my respect,

MM


* Farahe aalam

I'm a 20 years old iranian girl in san jose, california... i'm not bahai but i have many friends that are bahai. [L]et me tell you this way my best and honset friends are bahai. i was reading some of reader's comments, i was shocked when someone wrote they try to brain wash people....

my friendhood with my best friend (she is bahai) is more than 9 years in iran and also here.... i've never had that experience that they are tring to brainwash me or other people, but they introduce their faith to everyone...

and NOTICE THIS, if you call it brainwash, what a HOLY and MAGNIFICENT brainwash is this ,that bring LOVE, UNITY , EQUALITY, TRUTH, BELIEVING AND OBEYING GOD, AND TRUE JOY OF LIFE...

in these whole years of friendship not only i didn't become a bahai but i've become someone that knows what is the purpose of life and how special ones own belief and GOD are in people's life. they have norouz just like us...

i asked my friend about loving iran just because of bahaullah and well she said that it's one of bahais written messages that iran would be "farahe aalam" and they should try in this way to make it this way...

i wanna tell that guy/girl you are just like me i'm muslim ..and i have communications with a bahai and you too (as you said) and see what i've learned and how you are talking!!!!!!!!!!!!

at the end i wanna say this that if we respect other's ideas and beliefs in the shadow of LOVE we can learn precious things in our lives...

i wish someday we all can make a wonderful IRAAAN that we all would be proud of it... no matter muslim, bahai, jew, or christian, or zorostorian...

good luck

Shabnam


* Bahai Faith is a credit to Iran

Dear Mr. Latif & Iranian.com, [Medieval ignorance ]

The following was a great article by Mr. Latif. It is good to see open minded fellow Iranians noticing what the rest of the world has become increasingly aware of and to appreciate the principles hidden inside that movement. Indeed, the Bahai Faith, far from being anybody's puppet, is a credit to Iran and Iranians and a gift to the world from our beloved country.

I don't mean to lecture you, however. I just wanted to drop you this note to let you know how much I personally, and so many of my friends, Bahais and non-Bahais, Iranians and Americans alike, appreciated this article and its refreshing candor and accuracy.

It is a credit to Mr. Latif, in particular, and to Iranian.com, in general, for keeping an open mind and publishing what is unfortunately not a very popular point of view to many of our fellow Iranians .

Thank you!

Farjam M


* Watch your mouth

This is in regards to yours latest "lost weight" article [ Kopol vs. Topol]. Well, you did not fail to mention your thanks to your Lord Savior Jesus Christ. Now, if you are a Christian, maybe you should have brought it up sooner in an article that addresses your conversion.

But no, you mention it as if it ain't a thing or to incite your readers and get responses. Now, I really don't care what religion you prescribe to but what I hope you understand is that unfortunately, the entire , Yes Entire, Iranian nation and government suffers from paranoia.

The government and conservatives think the US is conspiring to overthrow them (as if US officials have nothing better else to do but think of Iran) and the opposition (includes royalists, MKO, othe fringe groups) think that the Iranian government must be supported by the British.

So here you are, saying somethin' like Lord Jesus Christ, and all the conservatives are like "told you so, he couldn't have been a Muslim.... Remember his article on accepting Bahais [Heechee kam nadaaran], well, he couldn't have been a Muslim..." or "I told you kid, the guy isn't part of the majority (95% Iranians are Muslim)..." and he is "spreading lie, inciting the public, insulting the sanctities..." and all the other nonsense.

Watch your mouth, your readers belong to a nation that believes in nothing but conspiracies! Don't lose your credibility!

KM

REPLY: Jesus Christ! It was a joke. -- Jahanshah Javid


* Direct threat to their control of the masses

Dear Mr. Latif,

Thank you for your benevolent piece regarding the Bahais in Iran [ Medieval ignorance]. I would like to point out however certain facts that I trust shall be illuminating. The Bahais are by far the largest religious minority in Iran. Moreover, the Bahai Faith is currently the second fastest growing religion in the world, with communities in every locality.
The Bahais of Iran are descendants of Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians and mostly Moslems. In fact the Bahai faith was founded by Mirza Hossein Ali Nouri, born and raised in one of Iran's noble Moslem families, who in 1853 proclaimed himself as Bahaullah and with his writings in over one hundred volumes of books including "AQDAS" and "IQAN" has provided humanity the road map to unity as well as social and economic justice.

You may find these writings by visiting bahai.org or bahai.com or by visiting a Bahai center in any city in the world. For better understanding on the Babi movement and the Bahai Faith, I recommend you read the books "The Dawn Breakers" or "Bahaullah The King of Glory".

As to why Iran's Moslem Clergy so vehemently yet unsuccessfully has tried to extinguish the Bahai Faith since its advent, the answer is very clear. The Bahais believe that there is only one God. God gave humanity the soul and intelligence to recognize Him, and from time to time dispatched messengers in order to give humanity path to progression.

These messengers in their order of appearance were: Krishna 3000 B.C., who proclaimed the existence of human spirit, Abraham 1800 B.C., taught the obedience to God, Moses 1400 B.C., introduced God's law and order, Zoraster 660 B.C., taught purity, Jesus Christ 1 A.D., taught love, Mohammad 622 A.D., taught submission to the will of God, Seyed Bab 1844, who fulfilled the holy prophecies regarding the Qaem or the 12th Imam of Islam by so eloquently solving the complex Sureh Yoossef in the Holy Quran which according to the Holy prophecies of Islam can only be solved by the Qaem.

Seyed Bab further proclaimed the herald of the new world order and declared himself to be the Bab or Gate to God's greatest manifestation, Bahaullah who has proclaimed the oneness of mankind.

The Iranian Moslem clergy has deemed the manifestation of the Bab and Bahaullah as a direct threat to their control of the masses, since The Bab and Bahaullah have abolished the institution of clergy. In fact the Bahai Faith urges "Independent Investigation Of The Truth" and further encourages humanity to connect with God and study the words of God without the interference of a the clergy as the middleman.

That is why The Bab and Twenty Thousand of his followers were martyred by the decree of Iran's Moslem clergy and Bahaullah was imprisoned and exiled and many of his followers have been martyred or are suffering at the hand of the Moslem clergy in Iran.

Doctor Rohani


* No man is better than another

This article, so elegantly written and cogently presented, should rightly bring both pride and shame to the hearts of all true Persians; pride, because it reminds us of the nobility and humanitarian ideals that have characterized Persian political, literary, and religious thoughts throughout her history, all the way from Cyprus' establishment of multiculturalism in his vast empire, Zardosht's moral teaching, Shia sect's advancement of justice for the oppressed, and finally, the birth of the Bahai faith, that truly revolutionary religion that encapsulates all of Persia's earlier noble ideals into a set of religious doctrines that aims at promoting oneness of mankind, equality of sexes, and peace true justice.

Mr. Latif's article, "Medieval ignorance", should also bring sorrow to the hearts of so many of us Persians for having remained ignorant of the continuity, evolution, and advancement in Persian culture that the Bahai faith truly represents. Bab, the founder of Babism, was born in Shiraz over a century ago, a son of Persia, a great human who at an age of cultural and political decadence of his time so valiantly carried the same torch that great Persian thinkers before him carried. His descendants and followers, have up to the present faced and endured unbelievable isolation, recrimination, injustice, and abuse, yet they have given the world a gift, a gem of a religion that teaches us that each person has a personal relationship with God, peace is gained through justice, equality, and education for all.

I, for one, feel not only pride and sorrow but also shame after learning more about the Bahai faith and reading Latif's Medieval Ignorance article. In Iran I was told (and I believed it) that to be a Bahai, one had to desecrate Quran and have sex with other Bahai's all night in order to convert. Was I the only one who was so foolish to believe such things? I now learn that as a Bahai, one respects and accepts all religions, all prophets, and all holy books because they all represent the same God. As a Bahai, one must strive to improve one's own lot and those of others, one promotes equality and justice, and one does at least a year of formal service for the disadvantage.

As a Bahai, no man is better than another and no man goes between you and God--there is no akhunds (Imams) or mosques. As a Bahai, one is encouraged to engage in fun, dance, art, music, and friendships. However, the Bahai faith also asks one to assume personal responsibility for his own actions. For your action, you are accountable only to God because no man is superior to you. How could any Persian who loves Persian culture and literature not admire, promote, and respect the tents of Bahai faith? Through the verses of Bahai writings, one cannot help but visit over and over words so often said by our beloved Hafiz, Rumi, and Sa'di. Thank you Iqbal Latif for inciting such delicious cultural fire inside of me.

Respectfully,

Saeed Modaresi


* It has always perplexed me, why this extreme anger?

Dear Mr. Latif:

Thank you for your fascinating article on the Bahais of Iran [ Medieval ignorance]. As an Iranian Bahai it is so heartening to finally see Iranians paying attention to the plight of the Bahais of Iran. It has always perplexed me why this extreme anger and hatred towards the Bahais and our religion, by many Iranians.

My faith teaches nothing but love for all, truthfulness, kindness, justice, and so on. We have never been taught hatred towards anyone, even people that would hurt us. And above all we (e.g., all Bahais, not just Iranian Bahais) do love Iran with all our hearts. So why do so many people in our own land hate us so much?

The fact that our administrative system does not have a place for the clergy, and sets the responsibility of our spiritual education on our own shoulders, might explain the feeling of the Islamic clergy toward us, but it cannot be the complete answer. This would be a fascinating discussion all by itself, however this is not the main point of my email.

Another aspect that I have thought for a long time about and I had wanted to discuss with other Iranians is this treatment of the Bahais on the whole of the Persian society. Many people in Iran think that as long as they are surviving or maybe prospering, then things are fine, and they will be O.K.

I think they couldn't be more wrong. We cannot view societies as many separate compartments, each functioning in its own sphere of existence, not needing to know or worry about the other parts. Societies fit for everyone to live in, and thrive and prosper in, and raise the next generations in, are societies that are aware of their interdependence, and the effects of one part on the whole.

When in a community some persons lie, or steal, or hurt, or take by force from one group that cannot defend itself, and others know about it and are silent, what will happen to those persons that have done those things. Will they now just go away, and leave the rest of the community alone? They cannot, because they have learned something.

They have done a wrong and no one has stopped them, and they have gotten away with it, and also maybe many others in that community have learned something from this act (especially the young - the next generation that soon will be expected to make their own contributions to that community). Those persons doing wrong to one part of the community have been corrupted, and they will carry that hatred and anger with them where ever they go, and will spread venom to their own families and throughout that community.

That hatred and venom will grow throughout the community, and will hurt all and corrupt all. What will happen to the next generations? They will see these wrong acts as acceptable and fine in the whole of the community, and how can they be taught otherwise now. The vicious circle just moves forward, and soon people just know how unhappy and sad they are, and how vicious and hurtful the society, and they cannot think why.

Western societies learned this fact through their own trials, and they came to define "Democracy" foremost as protection of the rights of minority from the majority rule. They realize that the tyranny of the majority could corrupt the health of the very society they were building, and governments had to protect the "minorities," so the society could be built on a stable and healthy, and I would submit just, foundation for all.

I know that Iranians everywhere are thinking about profound issues that are facing the present and the future of our country. We are all coming to a collective determination about what we are facing and where we want OT go. The issues of protecting the rights of all minorities, for the health and well-being of the majority and the whole of the Iranian society should be at the very top of that collective thought.

Again thank you for your insightful article.

Sincerely,

Tina F.


* Iran had a great culture of tolerance

My name is Flavio (I'm persian, born and raised in Brazil) and I'm happy to see how the author of this article [Medieval ignorance] linked persian history to the sad news of today, specially pointing to the fact that differently from what most people think in the west, persians are not savages who don't respect the rights of anyone who may dare not agree with them.

Iran had a great culture of tolerance and great poets who showed exactly that in their writtings.

Thank you.


* It makes so mad

I read your article about Bahai people [Heechee kam nadaaran]. It was a good one. A very dear friend of mine is Bahai. We have been in touch for years. He is the most wonderful person and a friend I have ever known and had in my life.

He is also very smart and intelligent but he can't even get job to support his family all because he is Bahai. This is not fair at all. I have not seen any one like him. He is extremely patient but it is also obvious that he and his people are in pain. Inhumanity against this people is unbelievable.

After years that I had to go home to see my sick father I got to see him too. We talked for hours. I could feel the pain and sadness in his words. It made me so upset and mad to see him crying out for his freedom. He told me stories. Some stories reminded me reading about Holocaust.

It makes so mad at those who don't care about some people who practice different religion.

Harry Barogh


* They are only interested in helping their own kind

When Mr. Javid first wrote about the Iranian Bahais [Heechee kam nadaaran], I tried so hard to keep my thoughts and the experience of dealing with them to myself and let the past be exactly that "past". I had also been practicing keeping good thoughts and sending unconditional love to the universe so I remain silent. Not for long. Mr. Iqbal's article [Medieval ignorance] made me forget all about unconditional love and I decided to share my "experience" with a group of these so called victimized and wonderful people.

I wanted you to understand what I think about them and why. In 1978 when attending graduate school I met a few Bahai attending the English language school. Having been brought up in a family that considered all Iranian people as one nation regardless of their religion or beliefs, I befriended some of them. At the time I had a British roommate who was quite wild and into drugs.

I saved her life a few times because I dragged her home and prevented her from going home with a stranger we had met at a bar. I also took her to the hospital when she overdosed a few time. Finally I was able to talk her into cleaning her act. By the time she was clean and sober, I had finished school and was about to get married to an American man and move out. She asked me how she could pay me back.

I told her that the Bahai girl with the atrocious English who worked as a maid at Holiday inn was in bad shape and if she could become her roommate to help her with school and English language that will be my "pay back". She did. I even invited this Bahai to my house and introduced her to my husband's friend because she liked him. Although she stayed up all night and thought him Farsi, it did not work.

Well she graduated (with my ex-roommate's help) and then acted like she did not even know me. It was a consolation when one of her relatives said: if it were not for you, the little miss would be cleaning rooms at the hotel still. At the same time in my first year of marriage another Bahai came to my house and told me he needed my help.

I asked a friend of my husband who owned a very successful foreign car shop to hire him as apprentice mechanic and be flexible. He paid him $350 a week cash (in 1980) while he went to school. Then he opened his own little one car garage in the middle of ghetto and I forced my husband and many of his friends to take their cars (Jaguar which needed repairs on regular basis) to help him.

Then he went to school and became a pilot. Now he lives in another state and never sends me any news of himself. My point? Do you think I ever got a "thank you" from these people? That is not the worst part. I have yet to encounter a Bahai that is passionate about Iran (the country itself). So, as far as I am concerned they are traitors to the motherland. They should all be granted visas and kicked out of Iran.

When was the last time you heard a Bahai talk about Iran as though she or he truly loved it the way most of us do? Their loyalty is to what I call "the man on the roof" which anyone who has read about Iran's history is familiar with Bab and his conducts. Don't expect me to have any sympathy for these people. They are only interested in helping their own kind which is another Bahai. They do not give a damn about other Iranian people. Well, I don't give a damn about them either.

I am sick and tired of them playing victims and glorifying their religion. Anyone who puts their believes before the love of a homeland in my mind is a traitor and deserves no sympathy.

Azam Nemati


* Move beyond the apathetic

It is no doubt that the vast majority of iranians have been duped by their government (surprised?) into believing that their fellow iranian Bahais are either infidels, zionist spies or political puppets of the british. the latest is that they are pimps and prostitutes since Bahai marriages are not recognized. thus, the persecution of the iranian Bahai goes beyond the usual blaming of "the other" or de facto/de jure dicrimination.

Since the birth of the faith, Bahais have remained steadfast and peaceful in their beliefs and towards the iranian government. it is, in fact, a tenet of the Faith to be obedient to whatever government a Bahai lives under. another tenet is the abstinence from political life. so, i'll let you do the math on the "zionist spies" allegation.

Bahauallah's first counsel to man, in his Hidden Words, is to 'create a pure heart`, meaning to independently investigate truth for ourselves. that is, 'to see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears.'

In this spirit of inquiry, most Bahais are well versed in religions other than their own and have a deep appreciation, understanding and love of all previous prophets of God -- including Hazrateh Mohammad and Islam.

Independent investigation of the truth. this is most important, not just for Bahais around the world, but for the whole of humanity in our progress together, as spiritual and material beings on this planet. if most people took some time to personally and independently investigate their own truth, we would certainly move beyond the apathetic seen in iran and the sympathetic voiced in mr. javid's article [Heechee kam nadaaran], moving onto the empathetic.

Thank you.

Dina

p.s. please don't feel sorry for the Bahais. Feel sorry for those who are blinded by ignorance and kam maghzee.


* Ask the question rarely asked

I very much enjoyed Iqbal Latif's article on the silence of Iranian polity towards Bahai persecution [Medieval ignorance]. I am not a Bahai but sympathize with their plight. Although the article mentioned that the Bahai's "Open University" was forced to close, the report did not make it clear that Bahais are not permitted to go to any college in Iran.

Additionally, land and property are often taken away from Bahais simply because the owners are Bahais. Similarly, Bahais are not permitted to hold government jobs and often unable to inherit from their parents -- again simply because the individuals are Bahais. Thousands have been deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities. The Iranian government bans all Bahai administrative structures.

Holy places, shrines and cemeteries have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed. In 1983, the Iranian authorities arrested a number of Bahai women and girls because they taught children's classes on the Bahai Faith. As commonly occurs, the women suffered strong physical and mental abuse in an effort to coerce them to recant their faith. When they refused to recant, they were killed.
We should ask the question rarely asked: why do Islamic fundamentalists persecute the Bahais and why don't the Iranian people care? Many Iranian people are very open minded and areligous, but they don't seem concerned about the Bahai situation. Why? Let me make a crude analogy. The Islamic fundamentalists believe that the Bahai belief in the prophet Bahaullah is abhorrent, just as a woman wearing a dress in public.

Moreover, the Islamic fundamentalist believes that virtue must be coerced, as exemplified by the stoning of an adulteress or the imprisoning of someone for their religious beliefs. The fundamental flaw in this mentality is that its proponents do not realize that forced virtue is no virtue at all. Coerced beliefs do not constitute a path to moral or spiritual excellence. Virtue not freely chosen is no virtue.

This is the problem of Iran today. But, most of all, the Islamic fundamentalists are scared of the tolerance and enlighten values of the Bahai faith, such as universal education, gender equality, acceptance of science, and so forth. They despise and fear the beauty of the faith. In persecuting the Bahais they are trying to burn a blossom -- a blossom for Iran, for the world, for the future, and for humanity and its place in the garden of reality.

William Benson


* This kind of fairness ... the world could use

I wanted to thank you for printing the article and thus giving a much needed education on the Bahai Faith [Medieval ignorance].

As a Bahai who grew up in Iran and have seen discrimination and persecution all of my life that was spent in Iran, It is so joyful and liberating to hear such defenses of a defenseless Community.
Indeed, it is this kind of fairness and tolerance that Bahais and all other downtrodden and abused and perseduted and ignored minorities of the world could use.

Thank you again for being here and let's keep on educating.

Elahe M.
Chicago


* I was very much hurt, too

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing so lucidly about the plight of a great group of Iranians who in fact are the prime bearers of the great Persian cultural heritage and ideals [Heechee kam nadaaran]. I enjoyed reading your article but I was very much hurt, too.

I commend you for your wisdom and effort in writing your article and admire you for taking such humanitarian act. Any person who wants to enliven the nobility of Persian culture can do no better than educating Iranians about the kinds of issues that you so cleverly brought up in your article.

Respectfully,

Heidar Modaresi

* Learned a lot

It is truly refreshing to read articles such as Mr. Iqbal Latif's in your publication [Medieval ignorance].

Unless we Iranian learn to practice FACTS and take responsibility for our individual actions, our beautiful country and people will go around the circle, while the world moves on.

Thanks Igbal. I learned a lot from your article. Keep'm coming.

Hormoz Hormozi


* Bahai from Belfast

I enjoyed reading your article "Heechee kam nadaaran" When are we going to recognize Bahais? July 3, 2002 The Iranian about the plight of Bahais in Iran. May I congratulate you on your frank way of words. I hope they may reach the eyes of some of your fellow Persian's back in Iran and help in some way to give more freedom for the 500,000 Bahais back in Iran.

I am an artist and writer and as a Bahai from Belfast Northern ireland I had the pleasure of attending Haifa in Isreal last year for the opening of the Bahai terraces, and gardens surrounding the shrine of the Bab. I have inclosed a few websites of myself and my (interfaith) paintings for you perusal.

Thank you kindly once again for your article on the Bahais of Iran.

George Fleming


* Blueprint to strangle the Bahai community

I have read with great interest two recent articles on the Bahais in Iran, and the many letters you have received. Most of the letters have been very positive about your courage in raising questions about the Iranians' general silence on persecution of the Bahais in Iran. It is interesting that a few of the letter writers have revealed a tremendous ignorance.

One writer claimed that the Bahai religion is without a Holy Book. Anyone with even the slightest acquaintance with the Bahai faith knows that this is simply false and absurd. Neither the Bible nor the Qur'an were revealed as a single book.

The Bible is composed of many books written at different times that were later compiled as a single volume. The Qur'an is 119 separate revelations at different times that was only compiled after the Prophet's death. The Bahai "Holy Book" is all the writings of Baha'u'llah (dozens of books and thousands of letters), the writings of the Bab, and the writings of Baha'u'llah's son 'Abdu'l-Baha.

For Bahais God's revealed Word includes Kitab-i-Aqdas, Kitab-i-Iqan, Kitab-i-Badi', and many others. The Islamic Revolutionary authorities know the Bahais have Holy Books because one of things they have tried to do with arrested Bahais is to make them defile one of the books revealed by Baha'u'llah. Another writer accused your authors of favoring Bahais while ignoring the suffering of Muslims. Islam is not prohibited in Iran. Islamic institutions are not forbidden to meet.

Muslims are not prohibited from attending institutions of higher education. Islamic shrines have not been expropriated from the community. Islamic cemeteries have not been bulldozed. Muslim women have not been executed for teaching children's religious classes. All of these things and more have happened to the Bahai community in Iran.

The Islamic Revolutionary government developed a blueprint to strangle the Bahai community in Iran and to "block its development" outside Iran. The millions of Bahais who are not of Iranian extraction are aware of these things. We, all Bahais from around the world, are owners of the shrines, hospitals, schools and cemeteries of our community in Iran. They have been expropriated from all of us, not simply from the Iranian Bahais.

The treatment of Iran's Bahais is a mark of shame on the noble Shiah faith, and sends to the rest of the world a message that God's teaching in the Qur'an - "Let there be no compulsion in religion" - is treated as a lie by those who rule in the name of Islam. Bahais entreat all Iranians of noble heart and good mind to speak out on behalf of every oppressed person in Iran.

We ask, however, that the Bahai community's minority status not blind you to the specific government and religious program targeting the Bahai community for destruction. The Bahai religion is the only indigenous Iranian answer to the challenges of the modern world. The Islamic teachings about the light of the mind cannot be exercised if the Bahai faith is not sincerely investigated and understood by the very people from which it arose.

William Collins


August 22, 2002
See Part I
See Part III


©Copyright 2002, The Iranian

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