Lembit Opik, Ridvan and the Baha’i
Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 22nd April, 2009
Lembit Opik MP hosted the annual All Party Group for the Baha’i's reception on the terrace of the House of Commons this evening, timed to coincide with the Baha’i festival of Ridvan. If the celebrations were somewhat subdued for many people present, it was because seven leading Baha’i figures who were arrested in Iran last year are still in prison. The faith, which is monotheistic and teaches that all religions come from God, was founded in the 19th Century in Iran, though its most famous contemporary religious centre is in Haifa, Israel. It has suffered systematic persecution in Iran since shortly after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Bill Rammell, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, gave a speech of welcome and there were written greetings from a curious trinity: the Archbishop of Canterbury, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. In his capacity as Chairman of the All Party Group, Lembit quipped that he was too wicked to become a Baha’i himself. Wicked? Surely not, Lembit. Just naughty.