Senior law officers in Bangladesh praise courageous symbolic action for coexistence

May 18, 2014

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Four leading jurists in Bangladesh have commended the action of a prominent Iranian religious leader who has called for coexistence of all religions, including Baha'is.

Advocate Md. Abdus Salam Mondal, Deputy Attorney General of Bangladesh, wrote that Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani's action "is a true expression of the spirit and message of Islam that believes in equal coexistence with the followers of all religions." He also stated that "the Baha'is, like the followers of all other religions, have the right to profess their religion unhindered."

Three founding members of the Bangladesh Minority Lawyers' Association – Barrister Nikhilesh Dutta, Advocate Cyril Sikdar, and Advocate S. N. Goswami – made similar statements.

Barrister Nikhilesh Dutta, former Deputy Attorney General and social activist, who has been practicing law in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh since 1978, praised Ayatollah Tehrani, "who has initiated a positive note for the followers of the Baha'i religion through his noble gift of calligraphy to them". He further expressed hope that the people and the government of Iran would follow suit. Mr. Dutta was the first national who was called to the Bar in Bangladesh, in 1972. In 2007, in recognition of his services, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II conferred a knighthood on him.

Advocate Cyril Sikdar, former Ambassador of Bangladesh in Nepal, who has held a law practice in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh since 1976, stated that Ayatollah Tehrani's statement is "a brave expression of the true feelings of sincere Muslims of the world". Mr. Sikdar also said that Ayatollah Tehrani's call for religious tolerance is "in full accord with the beliefs and hopes of the Muslims of Bangladesh who strongly believe that people of all religions should be allowed to coexist and work on the progress of their country."

Advocate S. N. Goswami, who, in addition to co-founding the Bangladesh Minority Lawyers' Association, is Founder-Editor of the monthly journal "Bangladesh Law Times", noted that Ayatollah Tehrani's gift of calligraphy to the Baha'is of the world – and particularly to the Baha'is of Iran – "is a very praiseworthy act fully in line with the Teachings of the Holy Qur'an."

These four senior law officers join a rapidly growing number of individuals in countries across the world, including within Iran itself, who are raising their voices in support of Ayatollah Tehrani's courageous stand for religious tolerance. The resounding call for an end to the relentless persecution of Iran's Baha'is by their government has brought both consolation and reassurance to the Baha'is throughout the country, who are deeply grateful for the expressions of solidarity they are receiving from fellow citizens and other well-wishers further afield.