English Zaer exclusive interview with Mr. Kamal Sorayya Ardakani, the head of International Affairs of the holy shrine of Hazrat Masuma (sa)
The English website of Zaer interviewed the head of International and VIP Affairs of the holy shrine of Hazrat Masuma (sa) on Friday. Here is the full text of the interview:
Zaer: Salam Mr Sorayya Ardakani. Thank you for the time you dedicated to us. We know that the holy shrine of Hazrat Masuma (sa) is the second sacred place in Iran which receives many Iranian and non-Iranian pilgrims and tourists. Now please, tell us about your office and the services you render.
Mr. Ardakani: Salam. This office has started its activities almost ten years ago and now around 40 English-speaking servants are working in the office and 6 religious experts and scholars cooperate with us.
Generally we have 2 types of guests and based on that we give different services to them.
The first type are our special guests and who are great international figures including great religious leaders and scholars, and prominent political personalities.
For these VIP figures, according to their position and importance different ceremonial services are presented and we try to make a ground for continuation of the mutual relations.
Zaer: Well, can you give some examples of those who have visited this sacred shrine?
Mr. Ardakani: Many prominent religious and political figures have visited the holy shrine so far, such as the leader of world Assyrian, the religious leader of the community of the Armenians of Cyprus, the ambassadors of France, Italy, Australia, Sweden, etc.
Zaer: Ok, and who are the second type of your guests?
The head of the International Affairs: The second type are the normal guests, the most of whom are non-Muslim tourists.
Zaer: What services are given to these guests of yours?
Ardakani: We firstly welcome them at the entrance gates, and then we take them to different parts of the holy shrine and tell them about the great personality of Hazrat Masuma and explain about the history of the Holy Shrine and related issues. Then if they have enough time and are eager, we will have a meeting about knowing Hazrat Masuma (sa) followed by a questions and answers session. They are also served with cakes or cookies with tea or nectar. At last we accompany them to the exit doors. And in some special cases they are taken to the Museum afterwards. And some times we give gifts to our special gifts.
By the way in the previous week we had the honor of serving two groups of Karbala pilgrims; an Indonesian group consisting 130 pilgrims and a polish group comprising 120 pilgrims.
Zaer: and what are the other services you provide your guests with?
Mr. Ardakani: We have published a booklet named “Pilgrim’s Guide” in English and its translations in 4 other languages are ready to be published soon. We also have published 5 brochures about Islamic principles, taking into consideration that they are written for non-Muslims.
Zaer: Do you have any statistics about the non-Muslims who have visited the holy shrine?
Ardakani: Yes, sure. Last year, around 600 prominent political and religious figures and more than 11,000 tourists from different countries have visited the holy shrine.
The tourists are from about 80 nationalities. 52 percents are women and 48 percents men. The most people are respectively from Germany, Italy, Netherland and Belgium.
Zaer: Is there any thing left that you’d like to talk about?
Ardakani: In the current year we have produced short films and documentaries about Hazrat Masuma (sa) and her holy shrine for the Iranian national TV, Press TV, and Hispan TV.
We have printed several articles about Hazrat (sa) considering the Christians view and the international circumstances. We have released the two letters of the supreme leader to the youth of the world in both print and electronic versions.
We have cooperation with the other holy shrine in different areas. And we have relations with other Islamic international institutes and organizations.
Zaer: Thank you Mr. Ardakani for your time. At last tell our readers how to be in contact with your office.
Mr. Soraya Ardakani: You’re welcome. Our phone numbers are: “0098-25-37175477” and “+98-25-37741441”. And our email address is: pr@amfm.ir.