Saturday, February 07, 2009

CNN Features Open Letter By Iranian Professionals

Free thinking and prominent Iranian professionals from around the world have voiced their deep concern again.

They, naturally, fear for the future of their beloved homeland. They are incensed by the injustices that have been perpetrated in the name of their religion and have courageously addressed their government in protest of its outrageous actions against its Baha'i religious minority.

In an open letter, published on IRANIAN.COM on 4 February 2009, these intellectuals and prominent professionals expressed their outrage at the shameful treatment of the Baha'is that has been carried out by the Iranian authorities.

Subsequently, this open letter triggered widespread publicity in many websites and media outlets. Among which was this recent one, featured on the attached CNN website.

The entire publication from IRANIAN.COM is posted below:

We Are Ashamed!

Century and a half of silence towards oppression against Bahais is enough

by Open Letter

In the name of goodness and beauty, and in the name of humanity and liberty!

As Iranian human beings, we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Baha’is in the last century and a half in Iran.

We firmly believe that every Iranian, “without distinction of any kind, such as, race, color, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinions,” and also without regard to ethnic background, “social origin, property, birth or other status,” is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, from the very inception of the Baha’i Faith, the followers of this religion in Iran have been deprived of many provisions of human rights solely on account of their religious convictions.

According to historical documents and evidence, from the commencement of the Babi Movement followed by the appearance of the Baha’i Faith, thousands of our countrymen have been slain by the sword of bigotry and superstition only for their religious beliefs. Just in the first decades of its establishment, some twenty thousand of those who stood identified with this faith community were savagely killed throughout various regions of Iran.

We are ashamed that during that period, no voice of protest against these barbaric murders was registered;

We are ashamed that until today the voice of protest against this heinous crime has been infrequent and muted;

We are ashamed that in addition to the intense suppression of Baha’is during its formative decades, the last century also witnessed periodic episodes of persecution of this group of our countrymen, in which their homes and businesses were set on fire, and their lives, property and families were subjected to brutal persecution – but all the while, the intellectual community of Iran remained silent;

We are ashamed that during the last thirty years, the killing of Baha’is solely on the basis of their religious beliefs has gained legal status and over two-hundred Baha’is have been slain on this account;

We are ashamed that a group of intellectuals have justified coercion against the Baha’i community of Iran;

We are ashamed of our silence that after many decades of service to Iran, Baha’i retired persons have been deprived of their right to a pension;

We are ashamed of our silence that on the account of their fidelity to their religion and truthfulness in stating this conviction, thousands of Baha’i youth have been barred from education in universities and other institutions of higher learning in Iran;

We are ashamed that because of their parents’ religious beliefs, Baha’i children are subjected to denigration in schools and in public.

We are ashamed of our silence over this painful reality that in our nation, Baha’is are systematically oppressed and maligned, a number of them are incarcerated because of their religious convictions, their homes and places of business are attacked and destroyed, and periodically their burial places are desecrated;

We are ashamed of our silence when confronted with the long, dark and atrocious record that our laws and legal system have marginalized and deprived Baha’is of their rights, and the injustice and harassment of both official and unofficial organs of the government towards this group of our countrymen;

We are ashamed for all these transgressions and injustices, and we are ashamed for our silence over these deeds.

We, the undersigned, asked you, the Baha’is, to forgive us for the wrongs committed against the Baha’i community of Iran.

We will no longer be silent when injustice is visited upon you.

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.

February 3, 2009

  1. Abdolalian, Morteza, Journalist, CJFE Board of Directors - Canada, Oakville
  2. Abghari, Shahla, Professor, Life University – USA, Atlanta
  3. Abghari, Siavash, Professor, University of Georgia – USA, Atlanta
  4. Ahmadi, Ramin, Professor, Yale University – USA, Yale
  5. Almasi, Nasrin, Managing editor of Shahrvand- Canada, Toronto
  6. Bagherpour, Khosro, Poet /Journalist – Germany
  7. Baradaran, Monireh, Writer/Human rights activist - Germany
  8. Beyzaie, Niloofar, Play writer/Theatre Director – Germany, Frankfurt
  9. Boroumand, Ladan, Researcher, Boroumand Foundation - USA, Washington, DC
  10. Boroumand, Roya, Executive Director, Boroumand Foundation – USA, Washington, DC
  11. Choubine, Bahram, Researcher/Writer – Germany, Köln
  12. Daneshvar, Hamid, Actor/Theatre Director – France, Paris
  13. Darvishpour, Mehrdad, Professor, Stockholm University - Sweden, Stockholm
  14. Djalali Chimeh, Mohammad (M.sahar), Poet - France, Paris
  15. Djanati Atai, Behi, Actor/ Writer/Theatre Director – France, Paris
  16. Ebrahimi, Hadi, Editor-in-chief of Shahrgon, Canada, Vancouver
  17. Fani Yazdi, Reza, Political analyst - USA
  18. Farhoudi, Vida, Poet/Translator- France, Paris
  19. Forouhar, Parastoo, Artist/Human rights activist – Germany, Frankfurt
  20. Ghaemi, Hadi Coordinator Int. Campaign for HR in Iran - USA
  21. Ghahraman, Saghi, Poet /Journalist – Canada, Toronto
  22. Ghahraman, Sasan, Publisher/Writer/Journalist – Canada, Toronto
  23. Javid, Jahanshah, Publisher, – Mexico, Chihuahua
  24. Kakhsaz, Naser, Political analyst – Germany, Bochum
  25. Kalbasi, Sheema, Poet – USA, Washington
  26. Kassraei, Farhang, Writer/Actor – Germany, Wiesbaden
  27. Khorsandi, Hadi, Satirist – Great Britain, London
  28. Mahbaz, Efat, Women rights activist /Journalist– UK, London
  29. Malakooty, Sirus, Classical Guitar Player/ Composer/ Lecturer - UK, London
  30. Moshkin, Ghalam Shahrokh, Actor/Dancer – France, Paris
  31. Mossaed, Jila, Poet/Writer - Sweden, Göteborg.
  32. Mossallanejad, Ezat, Writer/Human right Activist, CCVT – Canada, Toronto
  33. Parsa Soheil, Theatre Director - Canada Toronto
  34. Sahimi, Muhammad Professor, University of Southern California – USA
  35. Shafigh, Shahla, Writer/Researcher – France, Paris
  36. Shemiranie, Khosro, Journalist - Canada, Montreal
  37. Sheyda, Behrooz, Literary Critic/Theorist- Sweden, Stockholm
  38. Taghipoor, Masoomeh, Actor/Theatre Director - Sweden, Göteborg.
  39. Tahavori, Mohammad, Journalist, USA, MA Cambridge
  40. Vahdati, Soheila, Human Rights Activist – USA, California
  41. Zahedi, Mitra, Theatre Director – Germany, Berlin
  42. Zerehi, Hassan, Editor-in-chief of Shahrvand, Canada, Toronto

To join the signaturees please contact the following emails.


  1. This is a very good first step and I am pleased that these intellectuals have the courage and moral fortitude to speak out against these atrocities

    Furthermore this first one of many steps that will be needed to stop BOTH the Iranian AND Egyptian Governments from discriminating against the Bahá’ís and other Religious minorities within their countries...

    The next step will require a social and economic boycott against Both Egypt and Iran...

    I remember back in the 1980's the world PRESSURED South Africa to stop their practice of Apartied within South Africa...

    It is my opinion nothing short of economic and social isolation will stop the hands of the tyrants...

  2. Iran has been undergoing--a sort of--economic and social isolation for quite a while now. It does not seem to make a difference!

    As to Egypt, its geopolitical standing in the world is too tenuous to make it a target of such strategies.

    The change will have to come from within. We can see it in the youth and the silent majority which is beginning to be more vocal.

  3. This is a great step for the people of the world. In the text they ask the Baha'is to forgive them for their silence. As one Baha'i I not only forgive them for their years of silence, but I honor them for their courage to speak out now. I cannot thank them enough.

  4. As a New Thought Christian new to learning about the Muslim-Bahai conflict, I am almost as thrilled to see this act of courage on the part of some Muslims as I am devastated to learn of the persecution of the Baha'i.

    My interest came from an experience last summer in the hills outside of Ashland, Oregon (USA). I was attending a retreat at James Twyman's Sanctuary, where there is a World Peace Prayer walk. At intervals along the path, various prayers of peace from the world religions are on wooden plaques, placed on cut-out trees. One stops at each prayer, and speaks it, and then moves on. One morning, we were progressing through the walk, and when we came to the Muslim plaque, it was missing. We looked around in the nearby woods but could not find it. We proceeded on to the next plaque, which happened to be the Baha'i prayer. There on the platform, carefully placed in the correct position, the Muslim prayer plaque sat, next to the Baha'i prayer. It was riddled with bear tooth marks. No human at the retreat center claimed any responsibility for moving the plaque.

    I choose to see this as a sign of the coming together of two great faiths, as we all move toward a greater understanding of our Oneness.

  5. Joan,
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It is also noteworthy to mention that Baha'is have never opposed Islam. On the contrary they have been some of its most consistent defenders in the west.

  6. The list continues to grow. Check the link on the post for update.


Your opinion is valuable. Please share your thoughts.