A press release from the Australian Baha’is, with thanks to Diana:
The Australian Baha’i Community has spoken out against the destruction of sacred and historic sites in Iran. In a statement released today, the Baha’i Community describes a series of demolitions that point to a campaign of “cultural cleansing” by Iran’s ruling authorities, who are determined to remove all traces of the Baha’i Faith, the country’s largest religious minority.
The statement, which will appear as a half-page advertisement in tomorrow’s Weekend Australian, calls on Iranians everywhere to raise their voices in protest against the destruction of Iran’s cultural heritage.
The recent demolition in Tehran of the stately home of Mirza Abbas Nuri, father of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, has prompted the Australian Baha’i Community to act. Mirza Abbas, who was born and died a Muslim, was a renowned nineteenth century provincial governor and widely regarded as one of Iran’s greatest calligraphers. The statement describes the house as a “precious example of Islamic-Iranian architecture”. It has been destroyed solely out of the hatred that Iran’s extremist mullahs hold towards the Baha’is, who have been systematically persecuted in Iran since 1979.
Earlier this year, the gravesite of Quddus, a prominent figure in early Baha’i history, was razed to the ground despite protest from Baha’is at the local, national and international levels.
“Iranian authorities are prepared to destroy their country’s cultural heritage in order to eradicate all traces of the existence of the Baha’i Faith from Iran,” said Mr. John Walker, National Secretary of the Australian Baha’i Community. “These sites should be preserved for all humanity.”
The Baha’i Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions. Baha’is form the largest religious minority in Iran, with some 300,000 members. Over the past 25 years, the Baha’is in Iran have faced systematic persecution by the Iranian government. During this time other sites sacred to Baha’is have been destroyed, including the desecration of community cemeteries.
“We are drawing this issue to the attention of the public in the hope that international protest will prevent the further destruction of significant cultural and religious sites,” said Mr. Walker.