[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:] Jam-e Jam online
[Date:] 21 Aban 1393 [12 November 2014]
Anti-Baha’i Cultural Centres From Polemic Writing to Debate
One of the deviant movements that grew under the auspices of the previous regime and overshadowed many of the country’s political and economic pillars was Baha’ism.
Believers in this sect, especially since the 1320s [1940s] onwards, by expanding [their] activities, held important positions in government. Baha’is progressed to administrative and executive positions, to the point where, in the early 1340s [1960s], after Amir Abbas Hoveyda took office and formed his cabinet, about half of his cabinet ministers were Baha’is. Along with their success in holding administrative and operational positions, their cultural and ideological propaganda also increased.
This situation led many Islamic scholars to writing polemics, statements and books [against them], and while they propagated the true religion of Islam, they proved the reasons for the refutation of the beliefs of the Baha’i sect and the weakness of its opinions and thoughts. In addition to those in charge of religious affairs, the religious sector of the Iranian society felt that, by launching intellectual and cultural gatherings and forming organizations, they would engage more effectively in the fight against Baha’i elements. One of the characteristics of such a movement was that they thought of a more coherent and organized presence in this field and wanted to create an organization with a specific constitution and code of conduct, in addition to expressing religious opinions and ideas and defending Islamic beliefs, to teach the reasons for the invalidity of Baha’i ideas and explain the ways to suppress them in discussion and debate. In addition to these activities, anti-Baha’i associations and organizations, led by religious groups, were formed in many parts of Iran, including cities where Baha’is were more prominent.
The Jafari Religious Society, the Iran Parastan [Pan-Iranist] Community, and the Sarvestan Islamic Union were among those that took action in this regard and even organized gatherings.
The organization of Fadaian-e Islam, also in the margins of supporting anti-regime activities, took action against the Baha’is, and this movement was in line with the message of Seyyed Mojtaba Navvab Safavi. In the message, he called on his colleagues to indirectly support the anti-Baha’i campaigns.
One of the most important groups that came to the fore against the Baha’is was the Islamic Propaganda Association. The establishment of the association dates back to the transfer of political power from Reza Khan to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
One of the important centres of intellectual confrontation with the Baha’i sect was the City of Mashhad. Although the city was the most important religious centre in Iran, Baha’i activity in Mashhad had expanded during the 1320s and 1340s [1940s and 1950s]. The number of Baha’i families was on the rise in the city, and even Baha’i students were present in schools and educational institutions.
It was even heard that Baha’i elements were operating in Astan Quds Razavi [Management of the Imam Reza’s Shrine] as employees, and while Seyyed Jalal al-Din Tehrani was the governor general and was the head of Astan Quds Razavi, he ordered the dismissal of 70 Baha’i employees. The above report indicated the spread of Baha’i activity in various parts of Iran, including the religious cities.
Naturally, if their propaganda was effective in attracting individuals to the Baha’i sect by using certain psychological tricks, and even by promises to the oppressed and financially disadvantaged Muslims, in the socio-political conditions of that period, their position against Muslims, and even religious scholars, would have been strengthened day by day. Thus, activity against the Baha’i thoughts increased dramatically from the 1320s [1940s] onwards. The main focus of these activities was on sermons and lectures, as well as the holding of religious ceremonies by religious delegations. In Mashhad, these delegations were very active; in this regard, associations and communities were formed.
During the second Pahlavi period, religious groups made extensive efforts to confront the Baha’i movement by expanding cultural activities in the form of meetings, expressing suspicions about the Baha’is, appearing in the print media, and holding debates with Baha’i elements, and they achieved a lot of success.