[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

Date: 12/12/1361 [3 March 1983]

 

The Honourable Hojatol-Islam Jafar Karimi, Head of High Tribunal for Judicial Discipline, Islamic Revolutionary Courts

 

In an exclusive interview with the Khabar newspaper, which was published in issue number 782 - 3/12/1361 [22 February 1983] - a copy of which is enclosed--Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei, honourable Sharia Judge and Head of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, - spoke in detail, attacking the Baha’is and threatening them by accusing them of baseless acts and various fabricated allegations. He made his statements in the form of slogans using partisan and political expressions which as always are one-sided; the innocent, defenceless Baha’is do not even have the right to defend themselves, and unfortunately there does not exist [in Iran] a single newspaper, or mass media paper of any kind, that has the freedom to publish a reply.  Why should the Sharia Judge not be questioned by any authority as to how any judge can at one and the same time be both judge and prosecutor, who, in his position as a national high-ranking religious authority, issues both a Fatwa and threatens the lives of innocent servants of God, giving voice to baseless accusations born out of his prejudice, charging the Baha’is of being heretics and then passing the verdict that "...in the Islamic Republic, there is not even the smallest place for the Baha’is or the Baha’i Faith". Not only he does not hold in his heart the fear of God and the Day of Judgement, but, on the contrary, he also considers such allegations and the killing of the Baha’is as good deeds worthy of spiritual reward.

 

Under such circumstances, the wronged Baha’is - facing the anger and hatred of the powerful Sharia Judge- have no refuge save the One True God and have no alternative other than clinging to the firm handle of the love of God, with the certainty that He is the help and shelter of the oppressed. At any time when powerful rulers arise to kill and exterminate God- worshipping believers, the Almighty God protects and supports His servants.  If, through His All-encompassing wisdom, it is destined that the pure blood of His followers be shed at this time, and the attacks of the respected judge be uttered [by the will of God], we remain submissive to all that He ordains and grateful to what He wishes.

 

Nevertheless, as we have the responsibility of appealing against this injustice, we wish to bring certain matters in relation to the accusations of Mr. [Hojatol-Islam] Ghazaei to the attention of honourable legal and judicial authorities, and therefore state the following:

 

The honourable judge of the revolutionary court in Shiraz has dedicated 190 lines of the newspaper-- which adds up to some 1000 words--to abusive and offensive statements against the Baha’is, including the repetition of many accusations from numerous sources. If we aim to reply to each one of those allegations, this would become a lengthy book, and in order not to take up your time we summarize [our response to the accusations] as follows:

 

1- In the opening section, he [Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei] has stated:  “The Muslim people of Iran, who are the upholders of purity and chastity, will hopefully also realize and carry out the wish and prayer of His holiness Noah who says, “Do not leave on earth a single heretic[1].... The people of Iran, who have risen in accordance with the teachings of the Quran and have been carrying out the Will of God, aiming to establish His kingdom upon earth, cannot therefore either tolerate or abide the wayward and perverse Baha’is, who are the plaything of the devil and who represent Satan or the super-powers and their agents, such as the House of Justice of Israel. What is clear and evident is that there does not exist even the smallest place for the Baha’is or the Baha’i [Faith] in the Islamic Republic.”

 

The honourable judge has considered the Baha’is on the same level as the heretics, whereas according to the clear text of the Quran and the “Practical Treatise”[2] written by Imam Khomeini, a heretic is defined as one who denies the truth of the advent of His Holiness Mohammad, son of Abdullah, who rejects the twelve Imams, and who does not believe in the divine origin of the Quran. However, contrary to the above-mentioned points, every Baha’i believes in the prophethood of his Holiness Mohammad, the Imams, and the truth of the Quran, and believes in the absolute authority of God and His independence from His creatures. To regard Baha’is as heretics is totally baseless, and it may be that [Hojatol-Islam] Ghazaei has been so influenced by the books he has read against the Faith and the accusations of its enemies, which he did not even, take the trouble to investigate the principles of the Baha’i Faith, and has not even referred to Baha’i literature.

 

Belief in the One True God and His Prophets, the immortality of the soul, the next world, and the responsibility of the individual to lead a pure and chaste life are among the basic tenets of the Baha’is, and the adorning of the human being with spiritual attributes, total non-interference in political activities and partisan politics [and political machinations], and complete obedience to the government and the law of the land, are among the teachings and principles of the Faith.  To consider people with such characteristics as satanic or as playthings of the devil is wholly unfair and unjust!

 

To connect the Universal House of Justice - about whose essential nature he has no idea - to Israel, is also a tactic employed by those groups of people [in Iran] who for years have been trying to sow confusion in the minds and thoughts of the people.  The fact that he has said that there is no place for the Baha’i in the Islamic Republic is definitely only his personal opinion, because the high authorities and high officials in the country have never stated such a thing.  The great leader of the nation has recognised all the minorities as subjects of the Islamic government, and also sections 3, 14, 20, and 23 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, clearly state the contrary [to Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei’s assertions].

 

The fact is that the Baha’is have always been subject to the hatred and prejudice of the governments of the time [in this nation]. The Qajar dynasty carried out all manner of cruelty, including heartless killing, looting, and attacks [against the Baha’is] in their efforts to exterminate them.  The Ottoman Empire also tried its best to quench the fire of this divine light.  The Pahlavi regime, in addition to severe diplomatic persecuting, exerted every effort to strengthen various groups opposed to the Baha’i Faith and circulated anti-Baha literature and accusations against the Faith, and in 1334 [1955] rose up with full force against this wronged people, arresting and killing them, destroying their homes, and so on.  It was the mercy of God which protected this oppressed people.  Many of these oppressors have now gone and nothing remains other than the association of their names with their acts of cruelty.  God knows how they will be judged in the future!  This wronged community is totally submissive to the will of God, and there is no question regarding His wisdom, should His All-Pervasive power decide that the blood of the Baha’is be shed [unjustly] in this day and age, by people such as Mr. [Hojatol-Islam] Ghazaei.

 

The respected Sharia judge, who is a Muslim and [therefore] a follower of the Quran, has no doubt read the blessed verses, “O David! Verily we have made thee our vicegerent upon earth[3] ...”, and also verse number 11 of the Surah Al-Ma'idah, “O believers! Stand up as witness for God by righteousness and let not ill-will at any, induce you not to act uprightly.  Act uprightly.

Next will this be to the fear of God. Verily God is apprised of what ye do”, and verse 257 of the Surah Al-Baqarah:  “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Now is the right way made distinct from error. Whoever therefore shall deny Thagout[4] and believe in God - he will have taken hold on a strong handle that shall not be broken...” , and verse 6 of the Surah Al-Kafirun:  “To you be your religion, to me my religion”., as well as verse number 153 of the Surah Al-An'am ad the statement of his holiness Imam Sadiq, who says, “The hand of God is above the head of the ruler ...” , and the letter of his holiness Imam Ali addressed to Sharih Ghazi, and other verses and traditions regarding “Justice”, and no doubt he would recognise that the subject of these verses is those who do not recognise Islam to be from God.  But the wronged Baha’i, who believes in Islam and in all its verities, does not have the smallest place in the land of his birth!! That sin [of being a Baha’i] is sufficient!

 

2- In the next section of his interview, he states:  “They say that we have not participated in any of the demonstrations against Thagout, have not uttered any slogans against Thagout, have not participated in elections, because these are all politics and from the point of view of our religion we condemn interference in political matters ...”  In the very same way that the Baha’is did not participate in the demonstrations against Thagout, they likewise did not participate in the demonstrations against the revolution , nor did they take a single step against the Islamic Republic following its victory.  The Baha’i community has never written or uttered a single slogan against the Islamic government or the previous regime; it never joined the Rastakhiz party and took no part in any political matters.  Although not participating in elections, [the Bahá'ís] remain obedient to all the laws which are passed through the Islamic Parliament.  During the four years which have lapsed since the revolution, the Baha’is have never disobeyed the current regulations; have never taken part in any plots; have never joined any opposition group or movement; and have simply obeyed all the orders and instructions [issued to them] in a spirit of good will, patiently bearing all kinds of attacks and objectionable actions towards them.  Other than appealing to the authorities for justice against the oppressions inflicted upon them, they are not connected with any political authorities whether within the country or abroad.  Nevertheless, if there existed some justice and fairness, this matter [non-interference in political matters] would have never been held against the Baha’is, and the last phrase which states that we condemn interference in political matters, means that the Baha’is condemn it for their own selves but express no particular opinions about others who take part in politics.

 

3- In his interview, Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei quotes the Baha’is:  “We have our own elections and the Baha’i administration is independent.  They say, we have our own elections and special gatherings, feasts and conferences.  So we clearly witness these symbols of corruption, children of the devil, and the mercenary agents of the House of Justice of Israel, have also set up administrative institutions and governing bodies - although very ridiculous - against the administration and government of Islam. The ridiculous thing is that they say that we are obedient to the government, and we listen to whatever the government tell us, but this is just a cover to hide their activities which are apart from the nation”.

 

A fanatical priest once objected to the fact that in the Quran it is stated: “Woe to those who pray,”[5] but he omitted mentioning the rest of the verse “but in their prayer[they] are careless”.  This is the situation of the Baha’is.  The honourable judge must know that the Baha’i Faith is an independent religion with its own laws, teachings, and principles, and that it has been recognized by the United Nations and by most of the countries of the world.  The religious leaders of "Al-Azhar" in Egypt, unitedly and officially announced its independence and validity on 10 May 1925.  It is a religion with no priest or clergy. Its religious ceremonies are performed by the individuals themselves who are elected as a group - for a year with specific duties - to serve on purely spiritual institutions, and have nothing to do with the political administration of country.  If Mr. Ghazei finds it difficult to bear the name “administration”, and if he considers Baha’i administration to be an unforgivable sin, it is due to his lack of knowledge of its nature.  It would have been better if, prior to judging the nature and principles of the Baha’i administration, he had investigated the truth of the matter without any bias or prejudice.

 

The members of these institutions [Spiritual Assemblies] are elected by secret ballot from among the believers, and without any propaganda or campaigning.  The services [of those who are elected] are rendered for free, and if resignations from such posts were not frowned upon, few people are willing to accept such a great moral responsibility.  The elected do not know who has voted for them.  They are responsible to God and not to the community.  All the members have equal rights with the rest of the community and no one person has higher privilege or is better than others.  The collective decisions of the group are respected [and enforceable] and not the personal views of the individuals.  These decisions are taken purely in light of the spiritual [principles].  They consist of the burial ceremony of the dead, the marriage ceremonies, and education of the children in moral qualities and human perfections, defending the youth against atheism, materialism, interference in politics, working for literacy, deepening in spiritual matters, guiding the community in spirituality, and fostering such spiritual attributes as love, trustworthiness, purity and chastity.  And as a result of the severe persecutions, cruelty, and hardship inflicted upon the community by some fanatical authorities, and the confiscation and ruining of the Baha’i properties, such activities are necessarily being kept to a minimum [in Iran].  The special [Baha’i] gatherings [that you mentioned] are those which we have here mentioned.  We have no secrets.  Most of the Baha’i books have been either looted or confiscated and their contents are within the reach of the respectable authorities.  Should they wish to learn about the truth and investigate [the Faith’s teachings], they can thus do so, and that would be the greatest wish of the Baha’i community.  It is the religious duty of the honourable judges and the responsibility of the government that whenever they wish to decide on something which is unclear or doubtful for them, or that some group is objecting to, they should [take an unbiased approach to the matter, such as] appointing an unbiased and fair-minded committee which does not take sides of either party, so that they [the committee] may investigate, read the literature, ask well informed members of the community, and then make a decision about the matter. It is not right just to read the opposing literature and just list those who are against the Faith [to attempt to prove one’s assertions against it].

 

This organization is neither a spying agency, nor it is political.  It is not [a form of] government in opposition to the [nation’s] government and it does not oppose Islam. The Universal House of Justice is a spiritual institution with specific religious duties and has nothing to do with the government of Israel.  It never takes orders or instructions from any government of any nation.  As a result of the secret ballots of all the Baha’is of the world, these pious and faithful believers are elected without any personal motive and ambitions.  As the Baha’i Holy Places and the resting place of the Founder of the Faith are situated in Haifa and Akko [Acre], and because it was the place of exile and imprisonment of the founder of the religion for many years, the Universal House of Justice is also situated in Haifa.  These organizations and institutions were established there at a time when the state of Israel did not exist.  Its history goes back 115 years to the time of the reign of the Ottoman Empire.  At that time there was no Israel or Zionists.  As the Baha’is of Iran have always withstood the hardships and oppressions inflicted upon them, now also they accept all the difficulties of imprisonment, death, and attacks.  They neither lie nor do they cling to politics or individuals to protect their belongings and lives.  They are always steadfast in their belief and views and place their whole trust in God.  The Universal House of Justice also recognises the One True God as its shelter and protection and does not interfere in or meddle with political matters.  If Mr. Ghazaei was so sure about his accusations, he should have produced some document regarding the opposition of the Baha’i community against the [Iranian] government and Islam.

 

4- In the next section, he states: "I must say that these hypocrites have recently published a book in the beginning of which they have referred to the late President Mr. Rajaei and the late Prime Minister Mr. Bahonar, as liars.  In this book also they have used such abusive language towards the late Mr. Beheshti as well as 72 of the martyrs of the central office of the Islamic Republic, which the tongue is unable to repeat".

 

What a surprise that no Baha’i has ever seen such a book and no one knows who is its author.  Who published it and when was it published?  What its date of publication is, God only knows.  The respectable Sharia judge is well aware— as well as the Baha’is— that they [the Baha’is] have not published such a book.  What is not unlikely is that the enemies of the Faith - through all their hatred and prejudice against the Faith - might one day publish a book under the false pretence that it has been published by the Baha’is.  In fact in the years 1358 (1970] and 1359 (1971] a journal named “Ahrar” was being published under [false pretence] in the name of the Baha’i youth, and as their goals [i.e., the publishers’ goals] were not achieved, it was discontinued.  Let us even imagine that a [Baha’i] individual uses an inappropriate word, what has that to do with the Baha’i community?  Fair-minded and unbiased individuals--those who investigate and look for the truth and who have been in touch with the Baha’is for many years, many of whom have Baha’i relatives or even Baha’i children or parents--know very well that most Baha’is never use abusive language even after the martyrdoms of their loved ones. They never criticize, accuse, and no matter how much enmity the authorities may have against them, they [the Baha’is] respect [the authorities] and treat them as such.

 

5- He then continued: “During the war between Iran and Iraq, these mercenaries [Baha’is] described the betrayals of the Munáfiqín[6] against this wronged nation, as “a fight between two oppressors’.”  And [they] have referred to the honourable slogan of the nation “No to West, No to East”, as wild and ugly cries and [considered this slogan as] a degradation of the glorious Iranian literature.  They refer to the Muslim “Shiites” disgracefully--[the Muslims] who are the only rightful descendants and the befitting children of Adam, and who are the pride and glory of humanity”.

 

It is unknown whether these untrue stories have been written in the introduction or the conclusion of that “imaginary book” or somewhere else!  All these statements are offensive and mere allegations.  As no proof or evidence has been provided, they are all baseless.  There is no doubt that the Baha’is, wherever they may be residing all over the world, have a special affection for Iran, and consider it to be a holy and sacred place.  They would view any attacker who comes either to invade that land [Iran] or attack its people, in the same vein as the rest of the Iranians [would view the attacker].  As we never involve ourselves in politics, we would not even think of making such a [political] comment.  If any enemy or opponent quotes such material, [such action] is entirely wrong, baseless, and is an utter lie.

 

6- [Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei] then stated: “Nevertheless, the Baha’is are not being arrested [because they are] Baha’is.  It is only the active members of their institutions who are either directly or indirectly connected to the House of Justice, and who accord no respect to the blood-soaked martyrs of Islam and our nation, and who are clearly infidels and enemies of the nations, who are being arrested”.

 

Unfortunately, the honourable judge of the court had not even reviewed the pre-prepared text of the presentation, and had not realised that in another section of that same talk, he advised all the Baha’is to convert to Islam or else such-and-such would happen.  Moreover, , as soon as, those amongst the arrested Baha’is turn away from their belief [and convert to Islam] — either because they cannot withstand the torture and suffering or because of fear execution — they are immediately considered as guided and all their previous crimes are forgiven, and they are released, whereas those who can bear the trials and prefer the love of God to that of the world, and who are not willing to recant their faith, are executed and these latter ones recite:

 

The lover's way is not to have two beloveds in one heart

You either forego the loved one or your life.

 

It would of course be very strange that any fair-minded person could understand how an accused person would be discharged by simply having converted from his belief, and that he would no longer be pursued, and [yet] another [who is accused of] exactly the same charges, would be hanged because he did not turn away from his belief.  [This, notwithstanding that] they were both arrested on the same charges and both had been active in the [Baha’i] administration!

 

Regarding the point that the judge makes that those involved in the [Baha’i] administrative activities and who are directly or indirectly connected to the House of Justice, will be arrested, we must state that all Baha’is are involved in the administration of the Faith.  That is to say, whoever is a Baha’i is a member of the Baha’i institutions. According to the previous definition, a Baha’i is either on a committee, or on an Assembly, or is member of a local [Baha’i community].  All of these are part of the administration of the Faith, and are not contrary to or opposed to any other religious belief or custom.  It may be that a Muslim is not a member of a particular mosque and that he never goes to it, but a Baha’i - as soon as he declares his faith - becomes a part of the administrative order.

 

We have already defined what the Universal House of Justice is, and for a Baha’i it exemplifies the full meaning of the term the “House of Justice”.  The world knows it and it is well known to and recognised by seekers of truth.  Now, the honourable judge, who through his entire presentation not once spoke about love, humanity, or morality, or of the mercy of the Almighty, and only focused in his speech on intimidation and aggressive and offensive language, is free to allege anything he wishes in relation to the House of justice.  He will have to explain his actions on the Day of judgement!

 

Regarding the station of the martyrs, it is clear that a martyr will not forfeit his life because of a slogan shouted by someone.  He is in love and sacrifices his life because of his love.  His reward is with God.  If the Baha’i does not participate in demonstrations and if he does not chant slogans, this does not mean that he does not value the martyrs or that he does not feel sorry or weep for the young men whose lives have been lost.  Apart from the Baha’i officers who have been dismissed from the army, many Baha’i soldiers are present in the front lines, and although according to their belief they follow the blessed statement, It is better to be killed than kill”[7], nevertheless, as they know that at times war serves as a foundation for peace, they participate in defending their country and consider giving their lives in that path as a duty.  No one criticises them if [the family of Baha’is who were killed in war] do not use that fact or adorn themselves with the title of martyr, or [their families] do not claim compensation or create problems for the authorities.  [Please explain how] such people are considered to be the embodiment of infidelity! “Beware of what tomorrow will hold!”

 

7- In another section of the interview, [Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei] stated, “We here announce to the Baha’is that if they consider themselves as followers of the Islamic Government and as part of the Constitution of this country, according to Article 13 of that Constitution, any activity of the Baha’is is against the Constitution, and the  holding of committee or Assembly meetings as well as 19 Day Feasts are all considered to be crimes, and those who disobey will be considered guilty under the law”.

 

It seems that the honourable judge has not paid attention to the text of the law.  Section 13 of the Constitution has mentioned the officially recognised religious minorities but no mention has been made of the Baha’is.  We are not claiming recognition either.  By not recognizing the status of a Baha’i, it does not mean that he should not pray or fast, or live according to his religious duties!  If however, [the judge] would study Article 14 [of the Constitution], while reciting the blessed verse: “God doth not forbid you to deal with kindness and fairness towards those who have not made war upon you on account of your religion, or driven you from your homes: for God loveth those who act with fairness[8], [that verse] is advising the Muslims and the Islamic government to treat non-Muslims who are not fighting against Islam, with love, affection, and good will.  The Baha’i community is precisely such a group. Sections 3, 14, 19, 20, and 23 of the Constitution are cited below for your attention.

 

Clause 9 of Article 3: “the elimination of all unjust forms of discrimination and the creation of just opportunities for everyone, in all spiritual and material areas”

 

 

Clause 14 of Article 3: the securing of all-inclusive rights for everyone, man and woman, and the creation of judicial security for everyone, equality for all before the law”

 

Clause 15 of Article 3: “the cultivation and strengthening of Islamic brotherhood and general cooperation among the people”

 

Article 14: “According to the Qur’an: “God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you

not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them.

For God loveth those who are just” the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and

Muslims are required to treat the non-Muslim individuals with good conduct, in fairness and

Islamic justice, and must respect their human rights. This principle is valid for those persons who have not conspired or acted against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

Article 19: “The people of Iran enjoy equal rights, regardless of the tribe or ethnic group to which they belong. Colour, race, language, and other such considerations shall not be grounds for special privileges.”

 

Article 20: “Members of the nation, whether man or woman, are equally protected by the law. They enjoy all the human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights that are in compliance with the Islamic criteria.”

 

Article 22: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.”

 

Article 23: “Investigation into one’s ideas is forbidden. No one can be subjected to questioning and aggression for merely holding an opinion”

 

Inquisition has been forbidden and no condition or exception has been given to the rule, but the Hojatol-Islam [Ghazaei] issued warrants for the arrest of Baha’is simply because of their belief.  The authorities investigate the private lives of the Baha’is and warn and threaten them.  So it can be said that the honourable judge himself does not believe in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, because some of its regulations are contrary to his views and opinions.  In addition to that, the definition of crimes, and the prescribed punishment and sentences, are specified in the penal code approved by the Parliament.  So far, no such law and its relevant punishment– that is, regarding the carrying out of Baha’i ceremonies as constituting a crime - has been approved by the Parliament.

 

8- In the next section of the interview, [Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei] has stated, “I advise them to come back to Islam, and to clear themselves from the shame of following Baha’ism which is fabricated by colonialists.”  He adds, “as long as there is time for them to do so, they should turn away from Baha’ism which is reasonably and logically condemned, or else a day, not too far away will arrive when...”

 

If people, who do not believe in Islam or in the divinity of Quran, were invited [to embrace Islam], that would be a logical and reasonable, but the Baha’is are the only religious group who do believe in Islam, including believing  in His holiness Prophet Ahmad,[9] the Imams, and in the Quran.  This firm belief is the basis for all these attacks hatreds, imprisonments, and murders.  The billions of followers of other existing religions in the world who do not accept Islam, who even oppose it or write against it, are left to themselves and no one raises any objection to them, and Mr. Ghazaei does not invite them to join Islam, except for the oppressed Iranian Baha’is whose belief, includes [the Divinely-revealed nature of] Islam.  Even the Baha’is from Alaskan Eskimo, Native American, African, European, and Japanese backgrounds who have come into the Faith from diverse religions backgrounds, who even used to oppose Islam, now believe in and respect Islam, and believe in the Divine origin of the Quran.  Nevertheless, the respected Hojatol-Islam [Ghazaei] considers following such a belief [the Baha’i Faith] as shameful.  The Baha’is know for a certainty that what has been said by the honourable judge about the Baha’i Faith is not true, and they know full well that the Baha’is are not a fabrication of colonialism.

 

Who are colonialists, what power do they have to create a religion and to have the right given by God to bring a Book in His name? This blessed verse of the Surah Al-Haqqah is apt: “But if Muhammad had fabricated concerning us any sayings, We had surely seized him by the right hand, and had cut through the vein of his neck. Nor would we have withheld any one of you from him[10].  If by colonialists is meant the super-powers, the expansion of the Baha’i Faith in their countries has been [relatively] wider than in our dear Iran, and many of the people of those countries have come under the banner of the Baha’i Faith.  Not only do they not consider it a shame, but it is a great source of pride for them and their governments that the Baha’is have put aside the negative thoughts of enmity and war and have entered the path of friendship and peace, carrying outtheir religious activities freely [and without fear of reprisal from the authorities].

 

Regarding the statement that “Baha’ism is condemned mentally and logically” then all the great thinkers of the world who have considered the Baha’i Faith as the sole remedy for the pains of humanity, must be void of reason.  [The alternative is that] the millions of people who are following the Faith all over the world from all nations and tribes, must be, in the view of the Hojjatol-Islam Ghazaei, out of their minds.  Likewise, the person who accepts all the torture and hardships, forsakes his wife and children, is hanged and does not recant, must also be crazy.  So who is the wise one?  Who is it who condemns the Baha’i Faith with all its lofty ideals of universal peace and unity of mankind and moral principles? What kind of logic is this and where is it being taught?  Regarding his stated threat that in the not too distant future such and such will happen, we should say that this is nothing new to the Baha’is, who are already witnessing the hatred and prejudice of the judges, and who are witnessing the hanging of their friends and the shooting of their relatives.

 

Our fears were all for the day of calamity,

What should we fear now as we are already there!

 

They take pride in their cruelty and oppression, and we are proud of being oppressed and are grateful for lives which are given in the path of God.  But “one has to beware of the tears shed by the orphans, as it leads to floods and the sighs of the wronged ones as it creates storms[11].

 

9- In this section of the talk [Hojatol-Islam Ghazaei] states, “Thank God that a large number of Baha’is are daily turning to Islam, and are cursing the leaders of Baha’ism. The newspapers are a witness to the logical actions of these people.”

 

The recanting of their faith by a few Baha’is is not something which takes place commonly.  Because Taqiyeh[12] and cover-up of one's belief is not accepted in the Baha’i Faith and the love of God, faith, and intellectual growth about the knowledge of God are so deeply rooted in a Baha’i, out of 100 individuals who are placed under pressure, it might happen that one individual will not be able to bear the persecution, torture, prison conditions,  or threats of execution, and will recant his belief in the hope for freedom, and will - through force and [coercion] - sign the text dictated to him.  You can be certain that such a person, prior to recanting, had been even more firm in Islam than now, and had seen Islam to be in the high heavens and the manifestation of love and justice.  These individuals would not curse on their own behalf and probably after recanting would have been forced to pretend, and repeat whatever they are dictated.  They know this fact that the Baha’is do not have [individuals as] leaders.  If such actions seem reasonable and logical to the honourable judge, and if he thinks that forcing someone to turn against his belief should be praised, he must remember that in the past, including even in the history of Islam, such things happened. How sad is the well-known tradition of:  "They all turned away from the Prophet except for three".  The nine hundred years of hardship that the unfortunate Shiites suffered under the cruelty of unjust rulers and which forced them to commit Taqiyeh or recant their beliefs, resonate with the condition under which the Baha’is are living at present.

 

10- At the end of the interview [Mr. Ghazaei] states: “These people who were sentenced to death were active members of Baha’ism.  The naive and pure-hearted people were not free from their clutches, and their association with the devil, inside and outside the country, and their enmity towards Islam and Muslims, is very evident.”

 

As in the rest of the interview, the respectable Mr. Ghazaei has stated points which need to be examined. He has not said what kind of activities these active members were involved in, which were [purportedly] in violation of the laws of the land!  What was their crime?  Whose belongings did they take?  Whose faith did they betray?  What immoral conduct did they engage in?  And what cruelty had they perpetrated to deserve to be sentenced to death!  Which evil were they associated with and what evidence is there of it?  Why has it not been presented?  What enmity did they have towards Islam?  Have they committed any crime when they respected its [Islam] principles and beliefs??  Is it a crime to defend Islam among non-Muslims?  Should the Jewish person, who by virtue of his becoming a Baha’i has also accepted Islam, be condemned and sentenced?  Some time ago, among the charges against a [particular] Baha’i, was the teaching activities of his son in other countries.  For example, his son had taught a Brahman person who had previously been an enemy of Islam, and having accepted the Baha’i Faith, his enmity and hatred turned into love and that person now believes in Islam.  This was the great crime for which his father had to be sentenced to death.

 

The Sharia judge has not stated which one of these people offended a Muslim. Whose money did they unlawfully take?  What hatred had they shown to Muslims? How many complaints were lodged against them and what had they done to deserve death?  By God, if anyone had the fear of God to the least degree, he would never be ready to make such accusations.  The truth is that the Baha’is are arbitrarily arrested only for being Baha’is and punished according to [the self-imposed] policy of “supress the leaders and guide the followers.”  The authorities arrest them, imprison them, whip them, and if they do not recant, they carry out the most severe sentences against them.  Then in order to justify their own actions, the [persecutors] call them [the Baha’is] anti-revolutionary spies, colonialists, plotters, and accuse them of being infidels and at war with God, and then finally hand them to the firing squad, hoping to reap the benefit of a twofold divine reward [for this treatment of Baha’is].

 

If we refer to history we also see that [in the past] those who had the love of God in their hearts have likewise been subjected to cruelty and have testified to their faith with their blood.  If you compare the Baha’is to the early believers of any of the past religions, you will see that they have many qualities in common:  belief in God, fear of God, piety, love of the Beloved and belief in the next world, submission to the will of God; and they have always [willingly] drunk from the cup of hardship.

 

In this day and age, it is the turn of the Baha’is.  The powers created through the love of God have been so set on fire in the flame of trials and hardships that they are competing with one another on the field of sacrifice with incredible enthusiasm.  They kiss the hand of the would-be-murderer and are the subject of the praise of the world and of the Concourse on High, to such extent that one of the friends prior to being executed in Shiraz stated:

 

The Sharia judge has sentenced me to death

Beware lest this course be delayed

 

The pages of history are wide open to reflect the oppression inflicted upon these wronged ones and the judgements passed in this day and age.  During the 140 years since the advent of this religion, history has recorded all the cruelties inflicted upon this wronged community.  Those who have perpetrated this persecution have not left an honourable name for themselves, and it is not known how they will justify their actions [before God].

 

We apologize for the length of this letter, and although it seems very unlikely, we cherish the hope that the honourable judge will take the path of justice and fairness, and judge according to the truth in his judgements between the condemned Baha’is [as plaintiff] and his own fellow believers and colleagues [as a defendant].

 

We have respectfully submitted these matters for the public record, the future, and for the “judgement day”.  The investigation [of the matters raised in this letter] and the judgement are left with you, as is your responsibility before God.

 

With utmost respect

 

[Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran]

 

 

 

 

[1] [Holy Quran, Verses Noah, 26]

[2] [Túḍíḥul-Masa'il]

[3] [Quran 38:26]

[4] [An idol, symbol of tyranny]

[5] [Quran 107:4]

[6] [Munáfiqín (stirrers of sedition):  Referred to People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran]

[7] [A quotation from the Tablet of Bahá’u’lláh to King of Iran]

[8] [Quran 60:8]

[9] [One of the titles of Prophet Mohammad],

[10] [Quran, 69-44]

[11] [Unofficial translation of a tablet from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ]

[12] [cover-up and lying about belief, under a serious threat]