[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Greetings, my name is Farid Kashani, and I am a 12-year-old junior youth, who was born into a Baha’i family.
Since my childhood, I have learned many things. For example, I must always be truthful, always be kind to everyone, and always be compassionate to all – even those who treat me badly. I must not slander and I should not backbite, etc.
About two-and-a-half years ago, when I was 10 years old, I was deprived of the presence of my father in my life because they came and arrested him, and imprisoned him. He has been sentenced to five years. Before marrying my mother, he had previously been imprisoned for five years, and now they have arrested him for the second time. During the last two-and-a-half years, my mother has acted like a father to me and my three elder brothers – and now she is about to be sentenced, and I don’t know whether or for how long they will imprison her for.
Because of this, I think about lots of things these days. I would like to talk to you about something: What does justice principally mean? Does it mean that people who only wish for, and work tirelessly for, the betterment of their country, and only aim to be kind to others and help them, should be incarcerated? I believe that when a person is imprisoned or pressured because of their religion or race, or false accusations, or by force, justice is being crumpled up and discarded like a worthless piece of paper.
Actually, I let this go and set this matter aside! I accept that not all people think the same. But after all, we are all members of the human race: “We are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.”
We are Baha’is. If you think about the word “Baha’i” you will see that the word itself has a positive meaning. We believe [the words]: “O Friend, in the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love.” We are taught that: “A harsh word is even as a sword thrust; a gentle word as milk” [and] “Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.”
Are these teachings wrong? Are these teachings contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Do they undermine or endanger the order and security of this country? More importantly, is it our country’s way of life to be persecuted because of our beliefs or religion? Why? What for? What sin have we committed?
I am not saying these things because of my mother, but I say it for all people who have been unfairly and baselessly imprisoned because of their beliefs and religion.
It is my wish that all innocent people who have been imprisoned merely because of their beliefs or religion be free. I pray for all of them.