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Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

There is a wonderful essay by Dr Hossein Elahi Ghomshei on the role of poetry to be found – where else –  on the Buddhist SGI website.

The essay starts like this;

The Rose and the Nightingale: The role of poetry in Persian culture

by Dr. Hossein Elahi Ghomshei

Persia has been admired as a land where people walk on silk carpets and talk the language of poetry.

Poetry in Persian culture is not simply an art: rather it’s the very image of life, terrestrial and celestial; the perennial philosophy, the holy scripture, the minstrel, the music and the song, the feast and revelry, the garden, the Rose and the Nightingale, and a detailed agenda for daily life.

In the lyric poetry of Rumi, Sadi and Hafiz you can hardly find a sonnet that does not contain the wine, the bard and the beloved. In didactic and mystical poetry, commonly in rhyming couplets, the same theme of Love runs throughout like running brooks of milk and wine and honey of Paradise as described in the Koran.

The word saqi in Persian literature is the counterpart of the muse in Western culture and fulfills exactly the same service as the muse to inspire the poet, to illuminate what is dark, to raise what is low, that the poet may assert the eternal providence and justify the ways of God to man.

In Persian poetry, as in all good poetry of the world, Love is the greatest circle of attraction and affection, with no one left out of the circle. The story of David, the prophet of Love, who had 99 wives and still yearned after another one, according to religious traditions, is interpreted by Rumi as a reference to the 100-percent nature of Love: If there is a single person in the whole world whom you hate, you are not a lover.

Sadi, in one of his famous sonnets (ghazal), says:

I’m in Love with the whole world, for the whole world belongs to my beloved.

Love is at peace with all religions, all ethnic groups, and all colors, languages, races and tribes, as expressed in hundreds of sublime poems in Persian poetry:

O my Christian beloved,
O my Armenian friend,
Either you come and be a Muslim
Or I will take the girdle and become a Christian.

In the realm of Love, there is no difference between a mosque and a monastery.

You can behold the light of the eternal beloved wherever you turn your face.

–Hafiz
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To read the full essay go HERE
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The Buddhist SGI site is – HERE
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An extraordinary open letter concerning Iran’s persecution of its Baha’i minority has been published at IRANIAN.COM 

We are ashamed!

We are ashamed!

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

by Open Letter
04-Feb-2009 
 

An Open Letter from a group of academics, writers, artists, journalists and Iranian activists throughout the world to the Baha’i community

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

To read the full article and list of names go HERE

 

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The persecution of the Baha’is in Iran continues, but protests are mounting;

The EU Presidency has issued a welcome and strongstatement of concern about the situation of the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran.

The EU expresses its deep concern at the grave charges raised against seven Baha’i leaders in Iran. They have been detained by the Iranian authorities for eight months without charge, during which time they have had not had access to legal representation.

The EU is concerned that, after being held for so long without due process, the Baha’i leaders may not receive a fair trial. The EU therefore requests the Islamic Republic of Iran to allow independent observation of the judicial proceedings and to reconsider the charges brought against these individuals.

The EU wishes to express its firm opposition to all forms of discrimination and oppression, in particular on the basis of religious practice. In this context, the EU urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect and protect religious minorities in Iran and free all prisoners held due of [sic] their faith or religious practice.

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The UK government has said;

The Government remain very concerned by the situation of the Baha’i community in Iran. The Baha’i faith is not recognised as an official minority religion under the Iranian Constitution and Iranian Baha’is face systematic discrimination and persecution. We regularly raise our concerns about the treatment of Baha’is with the Iranian authorities, bilaterally and through the EU. On 22 January, the EU presidency, with strong UK support, raised specific concerns about the treatment of the Baha’i community in Iran during a meeting with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this meeting the EU expressed opposition to all forms of discrimination, in particular regarding freedom of religion. Most recently, on 7 February, the EU presidency issued a public statement expressing concern about the deteriorating situation of the Baha’i minority. We have also taken action at the UN; in December 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution about the human rights situation in Iran. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by the UK and all other EU member states, expressed very serious concern about increasing discrimination against religious minorities in Iran and the situation of the Baha’is in particular. We will continue to urge the Iranian authorities to uphold the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.

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It is distressing to hear that yet again authorities in Iran are persecuting the Baha’is, surely one of the most peaceful and law-abiding of religious groups

CNN carries this report;

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) — Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested several women for doing missionary work for the Baha’is, the religious group whose persecution by the Islamic republic has been condemned by human rights activists and governments around the globe.

Tabnak, a semi-official Iranian news service, reported the development but did not specify how many women were arrested or when they were seized.

The arrests took place in Kish Island, Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf, the agency said. Tabnak said some of those arrested came from Tehran and others from abroad.

“For a long time now, those who wanted to recruit young Iranian men to join the Baha’is used attractive women as bait,” the site said. “Israel has given sanctuary to the leaders of this perverted group [Baha’is] for many years, and the United States and Britain have provided them with billions of dollars to engage in propaganda.”

This news comes after the Baha’i movement reported that six members of the group were arrested in Tehran this week, including one who works with lawyer and activist Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel peace laureate. Seven leaders of the group seized in 2008 remain in jail.

To read the full article go HERE

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