Lord Williams lauds Shi’ite outreach to Baha’is

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams of Oystermouth has lauded the call by a leading Iranian Shiite ayatollah for peaceful co-existence between Muslims and the Baha’is of Iran. On 7 April 2014 Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani Ayatollah Tehrani posted to his website the announcement that he was creating an illuminated calligraphic rendering of several verses from Baha’u’llah’s Kitab-i-Aqdas, the “Most Holy Book” of the Baha’is. “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,” the ayatollah said. The gift was of “immense significance” Lord Williams noted as it “represents not only a personally gracious gesture but also a strand within the Islamic world at its best and most creative which is deeply appreciative of all that helps human beings to respond to God’s will for peace and understanding.” The Baha’i World News Service reported the lead bishop in the Lords on foreign policy the Bishop of Coventry the Rt. Rev. Christopher Cocksworth had also applauded the gesture. “Given the systemic and long standing suffering experienced by the Baha’i community in Iran, this is an imaginatively courageous step by a senior Iranian Islamic scholar,” said Dr. Cocksworth on 9 April.

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