Be reasonable

President Ahmadinejad,

I am writing this letter to you as an ordinary member of the Baha’i’ faith.  Due to religious persecution of Baha’i’s in Iran, I have lived abroad since 1980.

During your visit to the U.S. in October of this year, you were asked about the plight of the Baha’i’s of Iran, specifically as it relates to of the concept of “Freedom of Religion”.  In both cases, your paraphrased response was as follows:

“In Iran, there are 3 officially recognized religions; Judaism, with Moses as the founder, Christianity with Jesus as the founder and Islam, with Mohammad as its founder”.  Your response implicitly indicated that the Baha’i’ faith does not exist or is not recognized as a religion in Iran.  Interestingly enough, you failed to mention the Zorasterian faith which far out dates Christianity in Iran and some believe to be the oldest formalized religion in our country.

The second time you were posed with this question, you went a bit further asking the questioner who was the founder of the Baha’i’ faith, when did he declare his message and what was his holy book.

Mr. President, as you well know, there are over 6.5 million Baha’i’s in the world; more than Jews and Zorasterians combined.  There is no one country that has a great majority of its population consisting of Baha’is.  We reside in every country in every continent of this globe.  In over 90% of non Islamic countries, the Bahai faith is recognized as a religion and the Baha’is of said countries enjoy the freedoms offered to all its citizen equally.  Additionally, the United Nations recognizes the Baha’i’ faith as a major religion and we are involved in humanitarian work in NGOs along side people of other faiths.  

Before continuing, I would like to remind you of the definition of “Freedom”.  Religious freedom means that citizens of a country have the right to worship God in the manner they choose.  It does not mean that ONLY RELIGIONS ACCEPTED BY YOUR GOVERNMENT are to be practiced by the citizens of your country.  You should not put yourself between God and man.  That is not a mission nor a station for you or any mortal man.

Secondly, it is somewhat well known that you and many of your advisors have been and are still invloved in an organization called the “Anjomane’ Tablighate Islami”.  The major if not the sole purpose of this organization was/is the study and subsequent refutation of the teachings of the Baha’i’ faith.  Many members of your organization had read more about the Baha’i’ faith than perhaps some actual Baha’i’s.  Therefore, I find it hard to believe that you, as an academically educated Iranian with ties to the “Anjomane’ Tablighate Islami”not knowing that Baha’u’lla’h was the founder of the Baha’i’ faith and that he declared his station and mission in mid 1800s.

At the outside chance that you had not known about Baha’u’lla’h, and his message of “Unity of Mankind” until now, I have summarized his teachings below.  In addition to the following main tenants, obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics is another one of teachings of our faith:

1) Unity of God
2) Unity of religions
3) Unity of mankind
4) Equality of sexes
5) Harmony of science and religion
6) Independent investigation of truth
7) Progressive revelation (every several centuries, God sends new messengers for continued spiritual education of man)
8) Elimination of all prejudices
9) Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty
10)  Universal compulsory education
11)  Universal auxilliary language
12)  Establishment of Universal Peace

I am certain that these principles are in line with the ideals and goals of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

God willing, next time you are posed with a legitimate question regarding the religious rights of the Baha’i’s you will give a more reasonable response.

With regards,

An Iranian Baha’i’ living in the U.S.

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