[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Newspaper:] Jumhouri-e Eslami

[Date:] Saturday, 18 Bahman 1365 – 8 Jumada t-Tania 1407 [7 February 1987]

[Issue No:] 2234

[Page:] 8

 

The President [of the Country] and Head of the Defence Supreme Council at Friday Prayer in Tehran:

 

News Section: On the sixth day of the joyous “Fajr decade[1]” and at the threshold of 22 Bahman [11 February], in which light overcame darkness and victory of blood over sword; a strong congregational Friday prayer was led by Hojjatol-Islam, Seyyed Ali Khamenei—the president, at the University of Tehran and in its surrounding streets….

 

The limitation of Freedom of Non-Islamic Beliefs in Islamic Communities

… the second pillar is that it is not forbidden to hold any religious beliefs that are not advocating a fight with Islamic beliefs.  To espouse such beliefs is not prohibited and is not punishable. Naturally, the limits of such “prohibition” and/or “freedom” need further analysis in future discourses in order to clarify the matter. In brief, if a person holds to non-Islamic beliefs in an Islamic society, and such beliefs do not prompt such an individual to opposition with the Islamic system, it does not matter. Thereupon, in an Islamic society Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and followers of other religions live and enjoy their rights; based on Article 23 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, they are entitled to their independent beliefs, because in an Islamic society, and in Islam, different beliefs are not forbidden….

 

In addition to all these, “inquisition” does not exist in Islam. To pressure someone about their opinion about a person, or a political stance or a religious belief, is wrong. Such a practice is what was happening for years and centuries in Europe. When the scientific movement known as the Renaissance in Europe revolted against such a practice they thought they had invented a new thing in the world. Such practices as “inquisition” never existed in the world of Islam. There have always been people who thought differently and acted against the ruling Muslim authorities in the world of Islam, but they were never pursued for their beliefs. There have been Jewish, Nazarenes [Christians], and other religions in Islamic societies. Naturally, we have had moments in the history of the ruling Islamic dynasties such as the Abbasids Caliphate, and the Umayyad Caliphate, and even in our own country—during the rules of the sultans of Seljuk and Ghaznavi, [when] people were repressed for their varying opinions and beliefs.  However, this is not the way of Islam. For instance, the Islam that Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi was preaching was the same as the Islam that many of the Muslim leaders and rulers of today promote. We cannot blame their style on Islam.

 

Islam does not allow rigidity in political issues, and inquisition is forbidden. Interrogating people for their beliefs, and pressurizing them is prohibited, as it is clearly set forth in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Now, the result of our short talk today is that freedom of ideas and beliefs is protected under Islam. The freedoms of religious, scientific, political beliefs, and so on, are guaranteed; however, opposition and violation of the Islamic system, and endeavours to lead the people astray from the Islamic system are not acceptable and will not be allowed.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] [Fajr decade (Dahe-ye Fajr) “decade of dawn” is a ten-day celebration of Rouhollah Khomeini's return to Iran in 1979]