Spanish author discovers 'bridge between East and West'.


Desde el corazon de Iran - Los baha'is: La esperanza oprimida

--By Rafael Cerrato Erasmus Ediciones Barcelona

MADRID, Spain--When author Rafael Cerrato decided to pay a short visit to the north of Israel in 2006, little did he suspect that it would give rise to a new book.

Passing through the city of Haifa, he was deeply impressed by the buildings and gardens of the Baha'i World Centre, situated on the slopes of Mount Carmel.

"I was amazed," said Mr. Cerrato. "I immediately thought I had to discover what lay behind that beauty."

Returning to Spain, the author--who is Roman Catholic and has written extensively about religion--started looking into the history and teachings of the Baha'i Faith and was fascinated by what he found out.

"I discovered that the long-awaited bridge between East and West--which many politicians and intellectuals have tried to create with the Alliance of Civilizations and such--already exists," he said.

"Without losing any of the principles of previous religions, the Baha'l social teachings have it all--the need for supranational bodies, the equality between men and women, universal education ... I believe in these principles and they attract me--so I have no problem in broadcasting them."

During his research, Mr. Cerrato also became impressed by "the great faith and steadfastness" that the Baha'l community of Iran shows in the face of opposition.

He decided to write a book charting the story of the Bahl Faith, with an emphasis on the severe oppression its members have experienced at the instigation of the authorities in Iran--the land of the Faith's birth--since its inception in the middle of the 19th century.


The book, titled Desde el corazon de Iran--Los Bandis: La esperanza oprimida (From the Heart of Iran--The Baha'is: Oppressed Hope), has recently been published by Erasmus Ediciones. It is one of the first major works written in Spanish about the genesis and persecution of the Baha'i community in Iran.

Mr. Cerrato's book has been described in one review as a "deftly handled, well-documented and panoramic journey."

The reviewer, Enrique Cordoba--a columnist for El Nuevo Herald--wrote, "I celebrate that Cerrato has published this book ... for those who want to inform themselves of a doctrine that should be studied."

"Religion should be a force for good and a unifying element. But, unfortunately, it is the cause of many problems. The origin of these problems is not religion itself ... They...

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