Ahmadinejad and the Baha'is of Iran

September 24, 2007

Typical political response: when asked about the treatment of Bahá'ís in his country, Iranian President Ahmadinejad's answer completely dodged the question. Nevertheless, his answer spoke volumes — I'll let you interpret for yourselves. Whilst searching for any tidbits from today's "debate," I also ran into an interesting article about President Ahmadinejad and the secretive Hujetieh society to which he belongs, whose primary purpose seems to be the destruction of the Bahá'í Faith.

One of the connections between the two — with echoes of the points in my recent post on Missed Opportunity — is the Imam Mahdi, whom this society is desperately awaiting. Since we Bahá'ís believe that this has, at least symbolically, already occurred, then clearly they have to be diametrically opposed to us (I suppose).

Inserted 2007-09-27: Barnabas quotidianus has a great post on Ahmadinejad's response to a Voice of America journalist asking about the Bahá'í Faith.

On a side note, the way in which they are preparing for — and attempting to hasten — his return is awfully reminiscient of the way many prominent American conservative/evangelical Christians apparently are trying to hasten the return of Christ (for instance through environmental destruction and Israel's return to power over her "historical" boundaries). [I should add, however, that Moyers in this talk does seem to forget that there are many evangelicals who are pushing for a real response to environmental issues].

From the photos I have seen, Iran is an incredible country with a rich and diverse history. From the green country near the Caspian to the harsh deserts, from the markets of the Gulf ports to the ancient buildings of Persepolis and Isfahan, it sounds like a wonderful place to visit and see. Their cuisine is overlooked on the world stage, and I have known nothing but real warmth and hospitality in Iranian households. How sad that this ancient nation and mine cannot find ways to live and work together.

Ancient Persepolis. Photo by F. Ameli.

A famous bridge in Isfahan. Photo courtesy of Iranian Cultural & Information Center via WikiPedia.