Bravo to Sam Qandchi, the editor of Iranscope (http://www.iranscope.com) for its 6 November 2007 intelligent and well-reasoned editorial! We were deeply impressed by the humanity and spirit of unity shown by this journal:

http://www.ghandchi.com/489-recognizebahais.htm

This editorial puts a simple question to the former President of Iran, Khatami, who has become Iran’s spokesperson for “dialogue among civilization”. The question is: “Mr. Khatami, in you efforts to bring about greater national unity, will you be willing to help with recognition of the Baha’i Faith by the Islamic Republic of Iran?”

For years Khatami has talked about dialogue among civilization. But how ironic that he lives in a country that for the past 28 years has specifically denied recognition to the Baha’i Faith, one of the world’s major religions and Iran’s largest religious community after the Shi’as. This absence of recognition is embedded in country’s Constitution that only grants recognition to Christians and Jews as “people of the book”. And it barely recognizes Zoroastrians.

The argument that the Islamic regime has presented is that Baha’is are not mentioned in the Qur’an and as such cannot be recognized.

Our question is: Is Shi’a sect mentioned in the Qur’an?

Of course not. Nowhere in the entire Qur’an is there any mention of Shi’as, a sect that was formed long after the Qur’an. In fact, according to Sunni traditions accepted in all the Arab lands and also parts of Iran, Shi’as are infidels and heretics. This view is held by over 90% of world’s Muslims.

The editorial continues to argue that how can a sect that was formed long after the Qur’an and is not mentioned anywhere in that Sacred Book, and itself is considered heretic by the vast majority of the world’s Muslims, deny recognition to another religion solely based on the argument that the Baha’i Faith is not mentioned in the Qur’an!

The editorial further calls on Khatami, who is trying to bring about reconciliation between Islam and Christianity, to first heal its own nation. If after 160 of systematic persecution and massacre of Baha’is, Iran cannot set aside its prejudice and deep-rooted ignorance manifested in its hatred of Baha’is, then how can it have the temerity to speak of reconciliation with other nations?

For those interested, here are a couple of related links by the same enlightened editorial staff:

http://www.ghandchi.com/488-bahaifriends.htm

http://www.ghandchi.com/302-Secularism.htm