An appeal by an Islamic scholar to Grand Ayatollah Khāmene’i of Iran

The following is a personal appeal by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i, to show Islamic compassion during Ramadan, the month of fasting, and free the three young American hikers who have been held in Iran for over a year. The appeal comes in advance of the Night of Power, which falls in the last days of the month. It is the time when Muslims are called to show special mercy and kindness. Ambassador Ahmed delivered this appeal, the first on behalf of the hikers by an Islamic scholar, to the senior most Iranian diplomat in Washington, D.C. last week.

The following is the text of the letter:
August 27, 2010

Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Khāmene’i
Tehran, Iran

As-Salamu Alaykum and Ramadan Kareem, Grand Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i,
Let me introduce myself. I am Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington D.C. and the former High Commissioner from Pakistan to the United Kingdom. For the past three decades, and especially since 9/11, I have been heavily involved in promoting dialogue and understanding between the Muslim world and the West. One of my challenges has always been to convey the Islam that I know, consistently and publicly telling non-Muslims that God’s two greatest attributes in the Quran are Rahman and Rahim–compassion and mercy. It is with these two attributes in mind that I appeal to you now.

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