[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] Fars News Agency
[Date:] 10 Farvardin 1392 [30 March 2013]
On the Occasion of the Anniversary of the Death of Grand Ayatollah Borujerdi
Disclosure and Campaign of a Marja’-i-Taqlid [Religious Jurisprudence Authority] Against the Baha’i Sect
One of the most important events in the life of Ayatollah Borujerdi was the coincidence of his years [of living] in Qom with the Pahlavi government, and one of the [emerging] issues of this period was the growth of Baha’ism. Throughout history, the Shiite clergy and authority have looked at various issues, events, individuals, sects and parties from a religious perspective and standpoint. Meanwhile, after Shahrivar 1320 [August/September 1941], the view of the Shiite authority was also a religious view, because the clerics were opposed to Baha’ism, and they considered Baha’ism to be a heretical and religious group whose ideology was not based on any religious foundation or holy scripture. In addition to their dependence on foreigners and their gradual empowerment in Iran, the [Shiite clergy] feared that the [Baha’is] would dominate the believers; therefore, the clergy were always opposed to Babism and Baha’ism, but due to the increased activity of the Baha’is after the 1320s [1941/1942], the opposition of the clergy doubled.
Ayatollah Borujerdi himself witnessed Baha’i influence and audacity while in Borujerd. “The perverse Baha’i sect had intensified its activities in Borujerd, especially in government offices.” Their audaciousness had reached the point where “one of the religious schools in the city was demolished and a high school was built in its place.”
Ayatollah Borujerdi did not succeed in preventing their actions through legal means until “he left the city in protest”. “The news of his departure soon caused the people of the city and the surrounding areas to demonstrate and gather in the telegraph office,” until the government “felt threatened and tried to bring him back to the city” and transferred the Baha’is from the city administration offices.
However, increasing public pressure prompted Ayatollah Borujerdi to take action. He first sent the clergy to the Baha’i propaganda site to thwart their activities, while, at the same time, he was resorting to the governments of the time to prevent the Baha’is’ violent actions. First, the ayatollah sent a letter to Mr. Falsafi, asking him to mention the matter to the prime minister (Razmara), but Ayatollah Borujerdi’s warning did not affect Razmara.
Ayatollah Borujerdi’s views continued to be ignored by governments until disturbing news reached the ayatollah. After Ramadan 1333 [May/June 1954], he wrote a letter to Mr. Falsafi, asking him to meet with the shah and negotiate with him. The ayatollah wrote in the letter, “I would like to inform Your Excellency that, a while ago, a letter arrived from some humble deputies from Abadan, stating that the Abadan oil administration was almost in the hands of the Baha’i sect ... I do not know where the situation in Iran will lead.”
In any case, since none of Ayatollah Borujerdi’s actions were effective, Mr. Falsafi suggested that an anti-Baha’i campaign be launched during Ramadan 1334 [May/June 1955], when his speech would be broadcast live on the radio station. Ayatollah Borujerdi liked the proposal, and added that it would be better to inform the shah that, “later, he would not be able to sabotage and cut off the radio broadcast, because it would be very expensive for the Muslims and would make the Baha’is more and more audacious.”
Mr. Falsafi met with the shah and informed him of Ayatollah Borujerdi’s opinion. The shah responded, “Go and tell.” Mr. Falsafi also informed the preachers of Tehran that during the month of Ramadan, all mosques should preach against the Baha’is.
The month of Ramadan arrived. According to the Taraghi weekly newspaper, “This year, since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, which is the month of worship and gathering of Muslims in the mosques and prayer rooms, and listening to the sermons and the preaching of clerics and preachers, the issue of fighting against Baha’is and the danger of Baha’i sect was discussed at the top of all topics by the gentlemen preachers and clerics. The coordination of the clergy in the campaign against the Baha’is, and especially the harsh remarks of Falsafi, the well-known preacher, which were broadcast live on Radio Tehran, gradually attracted the attention of the public, so much so that a week after the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, the issue of the danger of the Baha’is and the struggle against them overshadowed all political issues and current events in the country.”
The people who were fed up with the courage and hostility of the Baha’is seized the opportunity and destroyed many Baha’i centres in the cities, and in Tehran they captured the Baha’i centre, called the Haziratu’l-Quds. Following the closure of the Haziratu’l-Quds and the intensification of the clergy’s struggle against Baha’is, a flood of petitions and telegrams in support of the campaign flooded in. Ayatollah Agha Seyyed Abd al-Hadi al-Shirazi from Najaf issued a statement confirming Ayatollah Borujerdi’s fight; Mr. Falsafi read it from the pulpit and it was broadcast on the radio.
Meanwhile, Ayatollah Behbahani, in a telegram to Ayatollah Borujerdi, called the day of the capture of the Haziratu’l-Quds, “Eid” [festive holiday]. On the other hand, some clergy from Tehran came to the shah and thanked him for closing the Haziratu’l-Quds. Ayatollah Borujerdi, who was continuing his diplomatic efforts, sent a message to Mr. Safaie, a member of Qazvin who was a pro-Ayatollah Kashani cleric, urging him to legalize the campaign against the Baha’is, but the government intervened and the minister of the interior, Alam, issued a circular and appeared in parliament to explain. He announced, “The government believes that there are enough laws in place to prevent the harmful activities of such groups, and we can do this effectively.” Seyyed Ahmad Safaie delivered Ayatollah Borujerdi’s message. Some members said, “The Baha’i sect is illegal and does not need the law.”
On the one hand, Baha’i sect was not mentioned in the interior minister’s circular; on the other hand, it was a double-edged sword that threatened both the Baha’i sect and the clergy as “inciting the people against public security” and the people as “perpetrators”. The government’s two-pronged approach made Ayatollah Borujerdi angry and the relations between the ayatollah and the regime became cold. The month-long struggle of the clergy had a relative effect, and many Baha’i circles were destroyed throughout Iran.