Below is a statement delivered on 28 August, 2013 at the Plenary of the Federal Chamber of Deputies of the Brazilian Congress by Mr. Walter Feldman.
(Original Portuguese version available here)
Mr President, Members of Congress,
The world is going through a turbulent moment in which disputes for power overthrow love for our neighbors. Wars -announced or undeclared; terrorist attacks; hired killings. Are we living our lives or are we simply passing through? We must cultivate the sense and the deeds of a culture of peace.
I bring this to your attention because of the latest developments in Iran. We cannot be complicit with attacks perpetrated because of religious intolerance. This time, Mr. Ataollah Rezvani – a member of the Iranian Bahá’í community – was the victim. He was killed last Saturday in the city of Bandar Abbas, in the south of Iran. Mr. Rezvani had been threatened by fanatical individuals among the city officials.
The Brazilian Bahá’í community has around 65,000 members who strive to promote unity among the peoples, to provide opportunities for all and to contribute with moral, spiritual and social development within our community. They seek to promote equality.
In Iran, seven Bahá’í leaders have been in prison for over five years and we fear that they also may be killed. In May, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, issued a press release in which he urged the international community – including world religious leaders – to join him in his plea. He said: “The Iranian government must demonstrate its commitment to religious freedom and unconditionally release these prisoners of conscience”.
We must awake freedom in its full sense. As a Jew, I would like to state that we cannot accept persecutions on the grounds of religious intolerance in Iran or anywhere in the world.
HARMONY, RESPECT and FREEDOM for all. Only thus will humanity be able to LIVE in PEACE.