Religious leaders in Uganda decry Iran’s persecution of Baha’is

May 20, 2013

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda last week issued a joint statement with the Baha’i community there calling on Iran to respect the fundamental human rights of Iranian Baha’is.

DSC01461 Joshua Kitakule

Joshua Kitakule, Secretary General of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, delivering a statement decrying the imprisonment of the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders.

At a conference on Wednesday, 15 May 2013, at the Metropole Hotel in Kampala, Joshua Kitakule, Secretary General of the Council, said Baha’is have long faced “persistent harsh persecutions” in Iran.

“These sheer violations of basic human rights of Iran’s religious minorities by the regime of that country gave rise to international outrage from governments and civil society organizations and all freedom-loving people worldwide,” he said, reading from the statement. [Click here for a PDF of the Statement.]

“We appeal to the United Nations and other international agencies to prevail over the Iranian government to put in place a conducive environment that provides for protection and promotion of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms for all Iranians, particularly freedom of worship,” said. Mr. Kitakule.

Established in 2001, the membership of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda comprises the Catholic Church in Uganda, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, the Church of Uganda, the Uganda Orthodox Church, and the Seventh Day Adventist Church Uganda Union.

The statement and conference came as part of the Baha’i community of Uganda’s participation in the Five Years Too Many campaign.

Also speaking at the event was Kintu Musoke, former Prime Minister of Uganda, who is now a senior presidential advisor.

DSC01470 -Kintu Musoke

Kintu Musoke, former Prime Minister of Uganda

He told a story about visiting Iran in 1995 as Prime Minister. While touring, he said, he asked to visit Baha’i holy places.

“The request was noted by the officials who received us,” said Mr. Musoke. “But it was not answered. While we were taken to all religious places in Iran, Muslim, Christian, and other, our official tour did not include any of the Baha’i holy places.”

“All societies have to exercise tolerance even when you have different religious beliefs,” said Mr. Musoke. “It is the creator who created us in these diversities and he cannot force anyone to believe in what he doesn’t want.”

Mr. Musoke called for the release of the seven Baha’i prisoners, adding that he sincerely hoped the deplorable situation of the Iran’s Baha’is would soon come to an end, hastened by the worldwide sentiments generated by the “Five Years Too Many” campaign.


Participants in Uganda’s Five Years Too Many conferences viewing photographs of the seven imprisoned Iranian Baha’i leader.

A number of journalists attended and reported on the event. Coverage included stories aired on many TV and radio stations, including Record TV, CBS Radio, NBS Radio, and the official Radio Uganda, as well as an article in the Daily Monitor, Uganda’s leading independent newspaper, and The New Vision newspaper, the country’s main government newspaper.

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