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PostNew Developments in Shi'a-Baha'i Relations (Vincent Littrell, USA, 05/05/14 6:03 am)
Recently there has been an interesting development in the dynamics of Shi'a Islamic and Baha'i relations. This development is catching attention across portions of the religious community that actively advocate interfaith understanding and mutual respect. Ayatollah Masoumi-Tehrani of the Twelver-Shi'a branch of Islam made an important gesture by presenting a gift to the Baha'is of a calligraphic rendering of selections of the Baha'i Prophet/founder's most holy book, The Kitab-i-Aqdas (The Book of Laws).
Working against the advice of the Supreme Jurist of Iran Ali Khamenei, Ayatollah Tehrani stated, "I present this precious symbol--an expression of sympathy and care from me and on behalf of all my open-minded fellow citizens who respect others for their humanity and not for their religion or way of worship--to all the Baha'is of the world, particularly to the Baha'is of Iran, who have suffered in manifold ways as a result of blind religious prejudice." (See the following link for Ayatollah Tehrani's full statement translated into English: http://news.bahai.org/sites/news.bahai.org/files/documentlibrary/987_website-statement-translation-en.pdf . See also: http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/opinion/iranian-ayatollah-defends-bahai-rights-and-goes-headtohead-with-the-regime_23301 )
Ayatollah Tehrani also stated, "Although it was my heart's wish to make an illuminated copy of the whole Kitab al-Aqdas, like the holy Qur'an, the Torah, the Psalms, the New Testament, and the Book of Ezra, yet regrettably my physical and financial resources did not allow it."
We are seeing more and more prominent Muslims speak out in defense of Iran's Baha'is. This is another example. Concurrent to this, however, the persecution of the Baha'is of Iran continues. A prominent example is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's recent destruction of a Baha'i cemetery in Shiraz. (See: http://news.bahai.org/story/993 )
JE comments: This certainly is good news. I'm also heartened to welcome Vincent Littrell back to WAISworld, after a Bill Gates-imposed silence. WAISers with Hotmail accounts were inexplicably "firewalled" from early April through last week. Thanks to the efforts of Roman Zhovtulya, the content has been restored to everyone... I think: I'm going to follow up personally with our Hotmail colleagues to see if everything is working properly.