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In an unprecedented symbolic act senior cleric calls for religious co-existence in Iran

Balatarin

In a symbolic and unprecedented move, Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a prominent Muslim cleric in Iran announced today that he has gifted to the Baha'is of the world an illuminated work of calligraphy of a paragraph from the writings of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith.

 

This move comes in the wake of several recent statements by religious scholars in the Muslim world who have set out alternative interpretations of the teachings of Islam in which tolerance of every religion is, in fact, upheld by the holy Qur'an.

 

"This is a most welcome and hopeful development with possible implications for the coexistence of the peoples of the world," said Ms. Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Baha'i International Community at the United Nations.

 

Ayatollah Tehrani states on his website (see translation of statement) that he prepared the calligraphy of the verse as a "symbolic action to serve as a reminder of the importance of valuing human beings, of peaceful coexistence, of cooperation and mutual support, and of avoidance  hatred, enmity and blind religious prejudice."

 

Ayatollah Tehrani presents this exquisite gift to the Baha'is of the world, particularly to the Baha'is of Iran, who he says "have suffered in manifold ways as a result of blind religious prejudice." He further states that this act is "an expression of sympathy and care from me and on behalf of all my open-minded fellow citizens."

 

In response, Ms. Dugal stated: "The Baha'i International Community is deeply touched by this act of high-mindedness and the sentiments of religious tolerance and respect for human dignity that prompted it."

 

"This bold action by a senior Muslim cleric in contemporary Iran is unprecedented," said Ms. Dugal. "It is also remarkable in light of the ongoing and systematic persecution of the Baha'i community in that country by the Islamic government."

 

The intricate artwork must have taken several months to painstakingly prepare by hand. It features at its center, a symbol known to Baha'is as "The Greatest Name" – a calligraphic representation of the conceptual relationship between God, His prophets and the world of creation. The gift measures at approximately 60cm x 70cm and is illuminated in a classical style. Ayatollah Tehrani's other artworks include the illumination of the Qur'an, the Torah, the Psalms, the New Testament, and the Book of Ezra. His illumination of the Psalms is currently being held in the United States Library of Congress.

 

The excerpt that Ayatollah Tehrani chose to cite in the gift is taken from Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i-Aqdas – "Most Holy Book". It reads "Consort with all religions with amity and concord, that they may inhale from you the sweet fragrance of God. Beware lest amidst men the flame of foolish ignorance overpower you. All things proceed from God and unto Him they return. He is the source of all things and in Him all things are ended."

 

On previous occasions, Ayatollah Tehrani has with great courage publicly voiced concern about the ongoing and severe persecution of religious minorities, including the Baha'is in Iran. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, hundreds of Baha'is have been killed and thousands have been imprisoned. There are currently 115 Baha'is being held in prison solely on the basis of their religious beliefs. Baha'is in Iran are denied access to higher education, obstructed from earning a livelihood, prevented from burying their dead in accordance with their own burial rites and subjected to the demolition and desecration and expropriation of their cemeteries, all because of their religion.

 

Ayatollah Tehrani's hope is that this gift "which will be kept by the Universal House of Justice [the international governing body of the Baha'i Faith], will serve as a reminder of the rich and ancient Iranian tradition of friendship and of its culture of coexistence."

 

To read the article online, view photographs and access links:

http://news.bahai.org/story/987

 

April 7, 2014

Balatarin

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BehrouzBahmani

Behrouz Bahmani We're just trying to [change] the system / But it's hard from a distance / So it's time for a new better way

Sounds great.

Clearly this Mollah understands the value of marketing, advertising, customer service, and the basics of competitive business analysis.

But what if there is no God? What about non-believers? On this planet, at this time, do people have the right to choose NOT to believe in God?

I would buy the first religion that offers me that choice. I might not choose it, but I would definitely like the option. And leather seats. And the upgraded BOZE sound system.

JamilEghrari

JamilEghrari

To,
The Bahá’ís of the World
Allahu Abha

In a very recent incidence as mentioned by UHJ in letter dated 7 April 2014 that an Iranian senior cleric has presented to the Bahá’ís of the world, an exquisite calligraphic prepared by him of a passage in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas wherein Baha'u'llah calls upon His followers to: “Consort with all religions with amity and concord, that they may inhale from you the sweet fragrance of God.”

The letter requested the Bahá’ís to contact their Office of External Affairs to take immediate steps, in consultation with individuals and like-minded organizations, to draw widespread attention to it. The Office of External Affairs was also to call upon its contacts in the mass media, as well as Bahá’ís and others with whom it has established relationships and who have achieved distinction in such fields. The letter assured the Bahá’ís that alongside the foregoing action, the Bahá’í International Community, will be apprising its contacts at the United Nations and among international non-governmental agencies of the significance of this gift. The UHJ also hoped that The Brussels Office of the Bahá’í International Community will, in addition, pursue related action at the level of the European Union.

Surprisingly the letter further states that “Given the considerable risk to the personal freedom and safety of Ayatollah Masoumi-Tehrani on account of this courageous act, the fact that people of prominence in the political, religious, and civil spheres express their support publicly, may well serve as a protection for him. Your Office of External Affairs may consider making approaches to some of its high-level contacts in government and elsewhere on this matter, on a confidential basis.”

I have been a member of NSA of an Eastern country for almost twenty years and since then every month I see a Message from House asking the Bahá’ís to meet the prominent people or government officials or writing open letters to Iranian leaders. It surprises me that what is the purpose of this. It looks like the UHJ has no concern with the teachings of Baha’u’llah and its just involved in political matters. And then claims that Bahá’ís do not indulge in politics.

The recent letter of the UHJ has many unexplained points:

Even if the said cleric has gifted his calligraphy to the Bahá’ís, then it is a gesture. Why the Government of Iran should eliminate him and moreover in which way the governments of other countries are concerned with it. Isn’t the UHJ itself is suggesting the government of Iran to take some action against the cleric? It looks like the UHJ is playing a part of clever enemy and not a good friend for the cleric inspite of his gesture. UHJ by this way is really putting the life of the said cleric in danger. UHJ is not trying to PROTECT the cleric they want to further EXPOSE the cleric to the Iranian authority.
The UHJ is trying to make this incidence as an excuse of meeting various governments’ officials and influential people. I guess that the Bahá’ís must have informed and UHJ must have realized that the Government officials of various countries are no more interested in meeting them and are refusing to give any hearing to Bahá’ís. The declining support of countries towards various motion tabled by western countries on human right issue is an indication towards it.
My Persian Bahá’í friends who echoed same sentiments regarding this letter believed that this recent incident is fake, the Website is fake and it is operated from outside Iran. He said that this will put further restrictions on Bahá’ís and Bahá’í Faith. He narrated a recent incident that a couple of months back there was a news originated from some corners that an Iranian Mollah has praised Bahá’í Faith on Iranian TV. He said that we investigated the matter and found that the whole news is fictitious. When he talked to other Bahá’ís they were of the opinion that Bahá’ís themselves are putting these fake news on internet to get some publicity for them and putting their own Bahá’í brothers under more problems. He further said UHJ is interested in having more Martyrs from Iran.
A Persian Bahá’í recently informed me that he has come to certain conclusion that It was only UHJ who was interested in death sentence for Yaran so they could easily gather money from the Bahá’ís of the World. But the Iranian government acted smartly and waved off their death sentence and destroyed the Party of UHJ.
Never UHJ has taken some concrete steps to help the Bahá’ís of Iran. Whatever steps they took resulted in increased persecution of Bahá’ís.
Same policy UHJ has followed in other countries resulting in imprisonment of Bahá’ís in Indonesia, deportation in Uzbekistan arrest in India. The list is endless.
Isn’t it is the responsibility of parent body to see that if the situation is not favorable in some parts of the world to ask Bahá’ís to slow down their activities till the situation turns favorable but always the Messages of the House and directives of the counselors are “Go to Court” , “Go to police”, register a complaint. Even a layman will understand that UHJ is interested in blowing the situation out of control so as to gain some benefit and in return Bahá’ís are put to more harassment, in the name of reforming and transformation of the society. Really is the Blood of Bahá’ís become so cheap!!!.
He was very apprehensive of certain Iranian members of the UHJ whom he thinks are misguiding the UHJ and probably they are more close to Iranian Government then the teachings of Baha’u’llah. Instead of taking inspirations from the writings of Baha’u’llah they are being directed by friends of Iranian regime on regular basis.
The problem of the Bahá’í world are Persian Bahá’ís. They make a group, they decide amongst themselves they dictate terms, they humiliate non-Persian Bahá’ís in every country, make mockery of them and all of them are interconnected to each other. If this tendency went unchecked then very soon we will see all nine members of UHJ as Persians. We will see an Iranian flag over UHJ and the same Ayatollah leading Friday prayers in Haifa.

http://singaporebahais.blogspot.com/

WaelGhaneem

Wael Ghaneem Academic Student

For sure new tactic of UHJ in form of Ayatullah. The strategy of persecution of Baha'is of Iran is failed so they came up with this idea, now they are praising their enemy, how Baha'is of world will have faith on UHJ with their flip flop policy