Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Persian Letters

Following Pope's Example, Iranian Dissident Kisses Feet Of Baha'i Boy

Iranian dissident Mohammad Nourizad has blogged about kissing the feet of a 4-year-old Baha'i boy whose parents are in jail because of their faith.
Iranian dissident Mohammad Nourizad has blogged about kissing the feet of a 4-year-old Baha'i boy whose parents are in jail because of their faith.
On July 15, Mohammad Nourizad, a former hard-line conservative columnist turned dissident, kissed the feet of a 4-year-old Baha'i boy named Artin.

Nourizad posted a photo of the scene on his blog along with an account of the meeting. "I told Artin: 'My little boy, I apologize to you on behalf of all of those who, in these Islamic years, have made you and your [Baha'i] fellows face injustice.' "

Nourizad, who has previously been accused by some of political exhibitionism, suggested that by kissing the boy's feet, he was following the example of Pope Francis, who earlier this year kissed the feet of a young female Muslim prisoner.

"When the pope, the leader of the world's Catholics, bends, washes, and kisses the feet of a Muslim criminal, why shouldn't I kiss your feet as a representative of the office of [Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] and the [many] Shi'ite sources of emulation?" he wrote.

Artin, whose parents are in jail because of their faith, is being cared for by his grandmother. Nourizad wrote that Artin's grandfather was executed several years ago "most likely" on spying charges.

Baha'is comprise Iran's largest non-Muslim religious minority and face persecution and discrimination. Their faith is not officially recognized by the regime.

Some Muslims consider Baha'is heretics because the religion's founder, Bahaullah, declared himself a prophet of God. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad is "the end of prophesy."

In recent years, state pressure on Baha'is has reportedly increased. Artin's parents are among many who have been sentenced to prison for teaching Baha'i students at underground universities. Baha'is are banned from access to higher education in Iran. 

The pressure on adherents of the religion comes amid attempts by hard-line Iranian clerics and media to demonize the country's 300,000 Baha'is.

The Baha'i International Community issued a report in 2011 documenting reports in Iranian media in which the Baha'i faith was branded "deviant," a "misguided cult," and its followers "Satanists."

On his blog, Nourizad wrote: "Little Artin meets [his parents] every Sunday. He goes to Karaj [prison] to meet his father and uncle and to Evin prison to meet his mother. Artin's parents have not committed any crime, except that they're Baha'i."

Nourizad's visit is just the latest act of dissent among several that he has committed against the Iranian establishment and Khamenei, whom he once cherished.

He has written more than a dozen open letters to Khamenei accusing him of mistreating Iranians and isolating the nation on the international stage.

Nourizad was jailed in 2009 after criticizing that year's brutal state crackdown on protesters challenging the reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who leaves office next month.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

Tags: Baha'i

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: farman from: nyc
July 16, 2013 21:06

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 17, 2013 06:40
VIDEO: "Iranian citizens have no right to free speach?" -

by: stella from: Northamptonshire,England
July 17, 2013 11:02
Just on a point of accuracy, Bahá'u'lláh did not claim to be a Prophet, but, with his forerunner The Báb, claimed to be the fulfilment of prophecy - including Moslem and Christian prophecies, for the coming of the Qá'im, Mahdi, and Christ. See The main opposition from the start of the Faith (1844) has been from the clerics who rightly see the end of their own power.
In Response

by: Damian from: London
July 17, 2013 21:59
I find this comment strange. I thought Baha'u'llah's claim to fulfill prophecy actually DID make him a Prophet
In Response

by: stella from: Northamptonshire, England
July 18, 2013 17:04
Sorry I guess I should have explained further. Bahá'ís refer to Bahá'u''lláh as a Manifestation of God ie someone who is chosen before birth and endowed with the capacity to reflect the attributes of God and relay His teachings in a pure form. The other major prophets (including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad) also did this and are also called Manifestations of God by Bahá'ís, but the word Prophet can also be applied to them as an important part of their teachings was that mankind should be prepared for and look for a future return/coming. Although Moslems state that Mohammad was the Seal of the Prophets, they also expect the return of Christ, the Mahdi or Qa'im (depending on which branch of Islam they belong to). Therefore He is the last of the Prophets, because Bahá'u'lláh was not another Prophet preparing people for a future event, but claimed to be the Universal Manifestation of God who fulfills all the Prophecies of the past whose teachings, when accepted and applied, will establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Hence the persecution.
In Response

by: Atheist from: San Francisco
July 25, 2013 12:54
You will find the word "prophet" in Baha'i marketing/advertising materials, but this word in English is a very loose term and does not in English have the same connotation as the word "Prophet" in Arabic or Hebrew. So, technically, no, Baha'u'llah and the Bab are clearly not mythical "Prophets", who are in a literal sense mythical figures with superhuman/superhero magical powers like Jewish Prophets, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and Hindu avatars. The Baha'i founders Bab and Baha'u'llah are, on the other hand, "Manifestations" of divine attributes.

by: mohd muquit
July 18, 2013 10:44
The truth will come out one day. (
In Response

by: Athiest from: San Francisco
July 25, 2013 13:07
Atheism has already determined who is true and who is false, for this Day is the day of Baha and no one else. He it is Who shatters all your idols, superstitions, and delusional supernatural fantasies.

by: Anonymous from: Canada
July 19, 2013 03:06
Might not that same mullá ponder the torrents of blood which, during the long years when he enjoyed impunity of conduct, flowed at his behest, the flamboyant anathemas he pronounced, and the great army of orphans and widows, of the disinherited, the dishonored, the destitute, and the homeless which, on the Day of Reckoning, were, with one accord, to cry out for vengeance, and invoke the malediction of God upon him? [Shoghi Effendi]
In Response

by: Reza from: UK
July 22, 2013 05:59
Bahai's of world are yet many need to prove their loyalty to themselves. Bahai's need to serve homelessness in their community. They do not need help other homelessness when
community needs help first. After all the help is given then they
can help homelessness. I say Bahai's are not prefect indeed.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: US
August 01, 2013 05:33
Reza joon, the Baha'is have never claimed to be perfect. No human can ever can be perfect. However the main issue here is how a country can kill and imprison people on the sole issue of belief. A religion that teaches its followers to love all, to be kind to all, to treat everyone with dignity and respect is being targeted? Whether you are Muslim, Christian, whether you are atheist or agnostic, this is a human rights issue that we cannot remain silent on. It is unfair for this little boy to grow up without parents because of their religion. Utterly and completely.

by: Jaffar from: USA
July 23, 2013 07:54
Iranian masses are ignorant, they need ayatoolahs to decide for them what is right or wrong. Neither Bahais or Christian or Zorastrians will be official religion of Iran. Official religion of Iran is love. Without love nothing is possible. Mohamed was killed by Omar and Usman then they put new Mohamed in charge. Read Quran Ayateh maki and Ayateh medina . See the difference indeed? These ayatoolahs are not Muslims by
any ways they follow Omar and Usman.?My religion is love

by: Parviz Soltani from: EU
July 23, 2013 22:55
Universal House of Justice is Ayatollah Khamanie. National Spiritual assembly of Bahais are Prisident of Iran , and Local
Spiritual assembly is Majlis of Ayatoolahs so we do not need
Universal House of Justice to dictate us and tell no woman can be sited in UHJ. Also we do not want Khamanie to dictate us
how to dress or act. Both religions have Vellayat Faghieh or
UHJ placed for control of masses. Pope the great is same as
them. We do not want religion of any kind due to opium of masses. Long Live Iran without religion we feel better. How do you feel ? Wake up before is too late?
In Response

by: Atheists from: San Francisco
July 25, 2013 12:49
Baha'is are not a theocractic people. Religion is used by theocracy to control the weak and maintain the power of the ruling elites over the common people. Baha'is are against theocracy of all forms. Universal House of justice is not a theocratic institution because it only regards Bahais and addresses their ethical issues. Bahaullahs laws are only for Bahais who choose to follow them, even Bahais themselves are not forced to follow their own laws let alone imposing bahai laws on non-Bahais.

by: Anonymous
July 24, 2013 22:33
In response to this visit, the boy's father wrote a letter from prison to Mohammed Nourizad. Tavaana translated it to English:

by: neyssan from: italy
July 25, 2013 09:42
Please read or publish Kamran Rahimian's reply to Nourizad's visit

by: Alam-i-Hahut from: Ice Inside of Fire
July 25, 2013 18:52
The Baha'i is the spirit of the child, not that of the intellect of the adult. A child is not trapped in the imaginary conception of God(s), for he is Free in the realm of Hahut. This Day is the day of the Self-hood of the Beauty of Abha. Only a child can perceive His Beauty. Only a child can see Baha.
Comments page of 2

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

Guerrilla Translators

Seen anything in the Iranian blogosphere that you think Persian Letters should cover? If so, contact Golnaz Esfandiari at