Sen's daily

July 17, 2013

Demonstrative rejection of anti-Bahaism from Mohammad Nourizad


HRANA, July 15, 2013

On July 15, the prominent Iranian film director Mohammad Nourizad visited the home of the Rahimiyan family. Kamran Rahimiyan ( کامران رحیمیان ) and his wife Faran Hesami ( فاران حسامی ) are both serving 4-year prison sentences for their work as teachers at the Bahai Open University (BIHE). Mr. Rahimiyan is in Raja’i Shahr prison, in Karaj, about 50 kilometres from Tehran, and his wife is in Evin prison, in Tehran. Their son Artin (آرتین) is in the care of his grandmother. His grandfather was martyred for his Faith some years ago.

On his web site, Mr. Nourizad has published a photograph showing him kissing the feet of Artin, and writes “Today I went to see a small Bahai family: small in the sense that only the grandmother and her four-year-old grandson remain. I seated Artin, the four-year-old, on a chair and, on behalf of all the arrogant Shiah [sic], I asked his forgiveness, and I kissed his little feet. … Today, I am not fasting [for Ramadan], because I am ill. Artin brought me water, and I drank, he brought me fruit, and I ate.”

Mr. Nourizad’s act, and posting the photograph on his blog, is a demonstrative rejection of both the ideology of the Islamic Republic, which has made anti-Bahaism a feature of its version of Iranian identity, and of the Othering of Bahais in Iranian culture, which is much older than the Islamic Republic. Bahais are popularly regarded as unclean, and this has been confirmed by religious authorities in numerous fatwas since the Revolution. Bahais are therefore not allowed to work in food industries in Iran. To visit a Bahai home and accept food and drink creates a potent symbolic image, showing an alternative Iranian identity which would be free of bigotry and discrimination. It is also a gesture of reconciliation, and for a man living in Iran, an act of courage. He was jailed in 2009 after criticizing the crackdown on protesters challenging the reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Nourizad 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 prisoner, why shouldn’t I kiss your feet as a representative of the office of [Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei] and the Shi’ite sources of emulation?”

“Little Artin meets [his parents] every Sunday. He goes to Karaj 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 are Baha’i.”

Additional: Mehrangis Kar has written a piece in english, based on her own experience with the Iranian revolutionary system, that conveys how shocking Mr. Nourizad’s gesture is. “when Mohammad Nourizadeh bestowed a kiss on the foot of a child, he threw the whole contemporary political and social history of Iran into turmoil and challenge.”

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-1MT #bahai

Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.


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