09 April 2014
The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, has described as a ‘courageous step’, the decision by a prominent Muslim cleric in Iran to gift to the Bahá’í community an important religious art work, as a sign of support. The Bahá’í community in Iran has been the victim of ongoing, persecution by the Government.
Speaking today Bishop Christopher, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop in the Lords on foreign policy, said:
“I’m heartened to learn of the recent decision by Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi- Tehrani to gift to the Baha’is an illuminated calligraphic work from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Given the systemic and long standing suffering experienced by the Baha’i community in Iran, this is an imaginatively courageous step by a senior Iranian Islamic scholar.”
Bishop Christopher, who is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human rights and International Religious Freedom, added:
“Ayatollah Tehrani’s action reminds us all that despite the dehumanising nature of many of today’s conflicts, religious leaders have a shared responsibility to encourage freedom of religion and belief and to foster a deeper respect for human dignity. I very much hope and pray that this generous gift will assist in the flourishing of a culture of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Iran.”