[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Saturday, 9 Jumada-i-Ula 1399 AH [7 April 1979]
To the Attention of His Holiness Grand Ayatollah Taleghani,
With utmost respect and reverence, the following is submitted for your attention:
Members of the Baha’i community have been in this country for one hundred and thirty-six years. They testify to the truth of the sacred religion of Islam and believe in the rightful mission of the Seal of the Prophets (PBUH). They praise and cherish the blessed soil of Iran. They have passed the test of obedience to laws and regulations, and refrain from involvement in politics. They avoid any affiliation, directly or indirectly, with any foreign, anti-national or non-patriotic policies. A clear example of their non-involvement in politics is that, in the past, none of the adherents of this community consented to be a part of or take membership in Rastakhiz Party, the so-called prevailing party of Iran, which was mandatory at the time. In return, in that entire period, they were deprived for the most part of their civil rights and all sorts of freedoms, and, in most cases, their lives and possessions were subject to every form of violation.
In the events preceding the final stage of the revolution, thousands of families were dispersed from their homes in the various provinces of Fars, Azerbaijan, Hamadan, Mazandaran, Gorgan, Khorasan, Yazd, Kermanshah, and other regions. Over seven hundred homes and businesses were completely destroyed, razed, or burnt to the ground, after being looted and plundered, and several people were killed. At this time, in the reign of a government that prides itself in the exalted name of Islam and the implementation of the Sharia laws, in addition to previous atrocities and dangers, they [the members of this community] have become subjected to new, blatant persecutions. Among the baseless accusations is that certain individuals associated with this community had collaborated with the previous regime, were involved in government policies and SAVAK, and, God forbid, had political affiliations with foreign governments and supported Zionism—[allegations] that began circulating some time ago without a shred of evidence in newspapers and various publications, causing heightened agitation and zealous opposing sentiments toward this obedient and faithful community. This led to numerous tragedies in all regions and corners of the country, and causing astonishment and disbelief for this oppressed and defenceless community.
While it is explicitly stipulated in the Qur’an that “Indeed some assumptions are sins” [49:12], these sins are committed on baseless suppositions and pure conjectures. These same individuals have attributed torture of some innocent people in the previous regime to the members of this community, who, unequivocally and strongly, deny such false accusations; in fact, the members of this community are exceedingly saddened by these savageries and turn to the All-Encompassing God in grief.
In regard to [accusations of] Zionism, such misconceptions are based solely on the fact that a number of the holy places sacred to Baha’is are located there. As recorded in history, over one hundred years ago, the Founder of this Faith was exiled to this location by the orders of the government of Iran and the Ottomans, where He spent the rest of His earthly life. Just as Muslims send funds for the maintenance and construction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy places in that location, so did the Baha’is in the past send money, with sincerity and longing, for the construction and maintenance of their holy places. Although their archives and documents were recently seized and, God forbid, there is the risk of forgery, the existing documents, records and proofs all testify that these accusations are baseless and the allegations mere slander. And since they have been denied the right to defend themselves, they have become subjected to all kinds of calumny. Given that this defenceless community has had no opportunity to present facts and refute attacks, it has had no recourse but to rely on divine justice and the fairness of those eminent authorities and the law of the state—who have all refrained from taking any action—and practice strict obedience towards the authorities and put their full trust and hope in the defender of the masses, as in the holy verse, “Be just; that is nearer to righteousness” [Qur’an 5:8].
We therefore wish to request, as Your Holiness has, time and again, declared your support for the rights of the minorities, [that you] take appropriate action to remedy their concern and restore safe conditions for their continued existence in their treasured homeland, so that under the shadow of the government, this community’s freedom of conscience, expression, and religion will not be violated and the social integrity of this community may not be harmed and desecrated, and that they will not be under constant threat of mob attacks, instigated by continuous provocations, and subject to the increase of terrifying conspiracies in the three thousand cities, towns and villages where they reside. No doubt, a thorough investigation by Your Holiness, the advocate of justice, will clear them of all these types of tyrannical accusations and enable this community to play its part in this period of development of various national services and to carry out its conscious duties and patriotic obligations.
With most sincere respect,
On behalf of the Baha’i community of Iran
Dr. Hosein Naji