ahmadinejad: “baha’i” is a bad word

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s visit to America was newsworthy enough to make the front page of local, national and international news everywhere. You may have heard about his remarks to the American National Press Corps—in which he completely ignored a question posed to him about Iran’s Baha’is— or his talk at Columbia University and “public skewering” by Columbia president Lee Bollinger. Then, in a galling display of duplicity, Ahmadinejad delivered the following non-answer to a direct question about the persecution of Iran’s Baha’is at a United Nations press conference on September 25:

I doubt Ahmadinejad would ever read this blog, but just for the record:

  1. The name of the religion mentioned is the Baha’i Faith.
  2. The name of its divine prophet is Baha’u’llah.
  3. He first revealed His mission to mankind in 1863.
  4. You’re welcome.

Also blogged at Baha’i Faith in Egypt and Barnabas Quotidianus.

4 thoughts on “ahmadinejad: “baha’i” is a bad word

  1. The Baha’i Faith is not a divine religion, according to Ahmadinejad’s schema, and he pointed that out. Compare Ahmadinejad’s response to the Voice of America reporter Vafa Mostaghim with his response to the US National Press Club.

    An extract from:
    “President Ahmadinejad Delivers Remarks to the National Press Club”

    MODERATOR: We have many, many questions, starting with this, which directly relates to your speech: How important do you think that the worldwide spread of Islam is to creating the sublime and beautiful world that you envision? And is there room for other religions?

    AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We think that all religions and all divine religions have the same message. They all come from the same place.

    They have several clear messages: to invite man to worship God, which is the root of all goodness; to invite man to justice, which guarantees love, friendship and viable security; to invite man to dignity and to respect of mankind; to invite man to love the rest of mankind.

    These messages are bedded in the religion of Christ — of Moses and Christ, as well as the holy prophet of Islam.

    AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): These prophets have all given the same messages. They never had differences in that respect. There was never a conflict there. Because their root goes back to the same reality and their message was the same as well.

    MODERATOR: Does that mean that there is room for Christianity in…

    AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): They all believe in beauty and goodness.

    MODERATOR: … that you’re describing?

    AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): They are all brothers. They all want the same thing: justice and friendship. And this is the common ground for all religions.

    MODERATOR: Yes, but do those religions have a place in the world you describe?

    AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): True pious people have no difference with other — they are all human beings and followers of different religions, and all of their views should be respected.

    We should all build a prosperous community together. And we must all move hand in hand. This is a responsibility for all.

    MODERATOR: We have many questions regarding the Baha’i religious minority in Iran. Many of our questioners say that the Baha’i minority has been deprived of their human rights. What would your response be to that?

    AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): In our constitution, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism are recognized as the official religions.

    AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): When we speak of religion, we refer to divine religions. In our country, we follow that law; a law that is based on the majority vote of the people.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/24/AR2007092401084.html

  2. Well noted—I was going to refer to that Washington Post article in posting this, but decided not to. Still, I’m glad someone pointed it out. IMHO, divine religion or not, constitution or not, nothing can justify the treatment of Iran’s Baha’is. Even the fact that four religious communities are officially recognized in the Iranian constitution, thereby guaranteeing them a measure of protection under the law, does not justify targeted, active harrassment, arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, or execution of the members of a religion that does not benefit from such protection.

  3. As a former Baha’i – now Eastern Orthodox Christian – I am upset by persecution of anyone, regardless of race, religion, sex or political affiliation. However, I must remind Baha’is and all members of all faiths, including my own, that each of the Prophets foretold that persecution will occur as a consequence of living in opposition to the world. (“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.” – Luke 6:22) It is one of the common beliefs shared by all people of faith. The persecution of Baha’is is just as wrong as the persecution of Russian Christians by the Communists during their rule of the Soviet Union. However, history reveals that Orthodox Christianity is once again growing in strength in Russia.

    Be encouraged, Baha’is – this persecution is for a reason – by it God will again be glorified. Pray for the comfort of those who suffer and more especially pray for those who persecute them.

    The Baha’is principles discourage involvement in partisan politics and most do not vote – therefore, it is not surprising that they would receive no support from a government that they do not choose.

    This world is not a democratic world – as much as we proclaim it. It is a world currently ruled by those with the strongest hand. But soon – all things will change – it may take hundreds of years – but they will change.

    Glory to God in all things

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