DK: Since you started this Campaign, you have also been contacted about similar cases in other countries for which you are updating the database on your website. Is the execution of minors specific to Muslim countries?
NAJ: Iran is the only country in the world that continues to “officially” execute minors; however our SCE campaign has documented imminent cases of minors on death row in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
DK: What would you say to a reluctant Muslim who may think that this behavior is in accordance to Islam and its teachings?
NAJ: I would say that if Allah is the almighty God and most powerful, would He really want someone to make the decision of whether or not to take a human life away? Isn’t it up to Him to decide when someone should die? Don’t Mullahs preach that Islam is a religion of compassion? What kind of compassion is there in killing a juvenile whose brain has not fully developed to be tried under adult law? I am not very familiar with Islam, but no religion should be justified if it promotes or accepts torture and killing.
DK: In the 80’s I recall that the Arts community in the West was successful in mobilizing international awareness on major Humanitarian causes such as AIDS or poverty. Bob Geldorf also organized the Band Aid to help Ethiopia against Famine, similarly people got mobilized for Nelson Mandela’s liberation and the end of Apartheid in South Africa. More recently George Clooney is alerting governments on the dramatic situation in Darfur. Why is it more difficult to get the same help for what is going on in Iran? Do you think the Iranian Artists be they singers like Googoosh, or Film Stars like Shohreh Aghdashloo , Anthony Azizi or talented artists like Marjane Satrapi could also give a helping hand? Maybe even ALL the Iranian Diaspora Artists could join in with you and do their part not to say their DUTY in raising support for this URGENT cause?
NAJ: Unfortunately the name of Iran has been tarnished in the media with associations to Ahmadinejad’s hate rhetoric, and the threat surrounding the whole nuclear question. Much of the west do not realize that the Iranian people’s voices are not being properly represented in wanting freedom, democracy, the separation of religion and the state, and human rights. With the 5 second clips news stations show of images of chador clad women and bearded Islamic men gathered by the thousands listening to Ahmadinejad speak and chanting “death to America”, it is no wonder that the American public for example, think that the country is steaming with religious fanatics who may potentially hurt them. What they don’t see is the fervent women leaders, students and labour union workers who despite the threat of being killed, stand up for human rights and represent the real Iranian citizens. They do not understand that the Iranian people are paralyzed under a police state that controls their every move and does not allow them to properly elect representatives under a democracy.
It is definitively time for the Iranian people to put aside their differences and unite in the name of freedom. I think it is a great idea for Iranian Artists to gather in publicizing a worldwide event that will galvanize the Iranian diaspora to put a permanent end to the human rights abuses that take place on a daily basis in Iran. I have been thinking of organizing such an event, Darius Kadivar do you want to help coordinate such action? Any artists reading this article, would you like to join in? Anyone else reading this, would you be willing to take part in such an event? Let’s get your feedback.
DK: ABSOLUTELY, although I am only a journalist, I think that it would be essential for everyone particularly those in the Public Eye to do something constructive for those back home. I am willing to help in any capacity I can and can only encourage others to join in.
NAJ: Thank You Darius, Small drops do turn into Oceans and I do hope this message will be heard.
DK: I truly want to thank you Nazanin for all the hard work and personal commitment you have invested in this noble cause. I hope that EVERY ONE OF US beyond political, religious or ideological preferences or convictions. We are talking about lives that CAN AND SHOULD be saved. Please do keep us updated on your progress.