Baha'i International Community's Response to Iranian Prosecutor
March 11, 2009
Call me biased if you will, but I was rather impressed by the open letter (PDF) written by the Baha'i International Community (BIC) to the Prosecutor General of Iran last week. The BIC is the world wide Baha'i community's official representation at the United Nations. As you may have heard, the ad hoc group that helped arrange some of the affairs of the Baha'i community in Iran was arrested last year and the government is now talking about bringing them up on charges of espionage. The last time anything like this happened, those arrested were executed (and before that they were simply "disappeared").
The letter does not present any new defense of the Baha'is; rather it brings together succinct facts and rebuttals of each major plank of the (known) "reasoning" for the arrest of the seven Baha'is. Because Baha'is the world over are peace-loving, law-abiding citizens (you can't really be a Baha'i otherwise -- it is literally written into our religious laws), the Iranian government always has to fall back on ridiculous arguments such as spying for Israel (because our "headquarters" is in Haifa) and corrupting the beliefs of others.
The open letter directly addresses the ridiculous nature of these claims, for instance, by pointing out that the Baha'is are the most scrutinized people in the country, and thus could not possibly get away with spying. It also offers an excellent example of how to make a statement that is forthright, courteous, fact-based, and appeals to a common sense of humanity.
For more links and independent coverage, see Seven Iranians Charged With Spying for Israel in the Times "The Lede" blog (2/23/2009). I've also blogged about the situation of the Baha'is in Iran a few other times over the years:
- Ahmadinejad and the Baha'is of Iran
- A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha'is of Iran
- Situation of Baha'is in Iran Covered in the New York Times
- Action Requested: 54 Baha'is Arrested in Iran
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