Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani perfecting an illuminated work of calligraphy. The words used in this piece are from the writings of Baha’u’llah.
NEW YORK – The ground-breaking gift of a senior Iranian cleric to the worldwide Baha’i community is beginning to stir a global conversation about religious co-existence and freedom of religion.
More statements of support for the actions and words of Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani have been issued in the United Kingdom and India, and other prominent individuals are offering comments in the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States.
The response comes after Ayatollah Tehrani bravely gave to the Baha’is of the world a calligraphic rendering of Baha’i sacred verses, along with a plea for religious “co-existence”.
Harry van Bommel, a Member of Parliament in the Netherlands, published news of Ayatollah Tehrani’s actions on his blog, saying: “The action of this Ayatollah is important and does not stand alone. There are a growing number of religious scholars who together form a constructive and principled voice [for religious co-existence] that deserves to be supported and promoted.”
At the heart of the work are the following words: “Consort with the followers of all religions with amity and concord.”
The calligraphic work was accompanied by a three-page statement, which, among other things, said:
“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.”