Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, Assalamu Alaikum.
I appeal to you to help save your brother and our father, Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, in a time of dire need.
If you were in the USA in the 1960’s and 1970’s then you probably already know Ebrahim Yazdi as one of the founders and first officers of the Muslim Students Association, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston and the Islamic Medical Association. You may remember the family that was a staple of all MSA Annual Conventions, Ebrahim, his wife Sourour, and their six children.
You may already know that from the day Ebrahim Yazdi arrived in the US in 1956, he has worked tirelessly and with Muslims of all backgrounds to build Muslim organizations based on unity and tolerance. You may have joined Dr Yazdi on trips to minister to Muslims in prison, or in fundraising for masajid around the USA. You may have been a colleague of Dr. Yazdi at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, or prayed with him there in the Texas Medical Center. You may be one of the many people who helped him build the first masjid in Houston or joined your brother Ebrahim in his monthly interfaith dialogs in Houston with local priests, rabbis, and ministers.
You may also know that Ebrahim Yazdi has for 60 years been a leader in the effort to make his home country, Iran, a place where people can flourish free from injustice and oppression. You may recall that in 1978 he left a comfortable life the US to work with the leadership of the Islamic movement in Iran. You may remember seeing him on TV as Foreign Minister immediately after the revolution. In that role, Ebrahim Yazdi worked tirelessly to unite Muslim nations to support the cause of Muslim suffering from injustice in places like Afghanistan and Palestine.
As a man of deep principles and Muslim faith, he resigned his position in Nov 1979 in protest to the taking of Diplomats hostage in Iran and the autocratic direction the new regime was turning. Since 1979, Ebrahim Yazdi has devoted his life to steer Iran in the direction of freedom and democracy, in a way that is true to our Islamic faith. He believes that dictatorship is unjust, disrespectful to human dignity, and thus un-Islamic. He has been an unwavering voice for reason and tolerance. He has also been a champion for the rights of minority ethnic groups in Iran, such as the Kurds and Baluchis, and religious minorities, such as the follows of Sunni Islam and Sufism.
Over the years, he has paid a dear price, including repeated physical attacks, arrests, fines, and imprisonment. But today, alhamdulillah, the majority of Iran’s political and religious leaders, including the young generation of Iran, have come to accept his view of a free, democratic, and Islamic Iran. Unfortunately, a minority clique in power stubbornly opposes reform and has attacked and arrested all opponents. Ebrahim Yazdi, your brother, our father, is one of those sitting now in prison in Tehran.
He is a cancer survivor and is 78 years old – the oldest of the imprisoned dissidents. He was arrested at 3:00 AM on December 27 from his own home. His crime is nothing more than speaking and writing the truth, forcefully but peacefully. His health is poor and deteriorating in prison. His cancer treatments left him in need of catheterization and at extreme risk in the unsanitary conditions of Iranian prisons. His physicians have pleaded with authorities to allow him to be treated in hospital or remain under house arrest, but so far these humanitarian appeals have been ignored.
I know my father would be wondering if his Muslim brothers and sisters in the US remember him or even care. I do not have to quote to you the many verses in our beloved Quran that encourage us to speak out for justice and to free captives. I appeal to you, my Muslim brothers and sisters outside Iran, to speak up for the freedom of Ebrahim Yazdi from prison in Iran.
What can you do? Write a simple, short letter to these three leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. All signs indicate that they do care what Muslims around the world think of them. Your letter will be most effective if you — respectfully and based on Islamic principles — insist that Ebrahim Yazdi and other non-violent political prisoners be released immediately. Please encourage your local Islamic organizations to do the same.
Please address your letters to these three individuals: