[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

[Publication:] Akhbar-e Amri [Baha’i News]

[Date:] Dey 1326 [December 1947/January 1948]

[Issue No.:] 9

[Pages:] 10 – 12

 

Fifth – Extract from letter number 1311 from the Spiritual Assembly of Tabriz:

Respectfully, further to telegrams dated 18 and 21 Dey 1326 [9 and 12 January 1948], we give an account of the painful events of Miandoab and Maragheh for information of those trustees of the merciful:

As previously mentioned in our letters and those from the Spiritual Assembly of Miandoab, a clergyman by the name of (Mohammad Vahidi) has been provoking and instigating the public against the Baha’is, encouraging and inciting them to harass and persecute the believers. The above-mentioned [clergyman] left Miandoab in the month of Dhu’l-Hijja with the intention of [making a] pilgrimage to Karbala. In his absence, as usual, the inhabitants treated the believers with love and amity and nothing malicious happened. However, after his return from pilgrimage, he utilized the mourning gatherings in the months of Muharram and Safar to incite the fanaticism of the ignorant and to prepare the ground for the uprising of the malefactors against the Baha’is.

Gradually, towards the end of Azar 1326 [December 1947], the slanders against the Baha’is led to face-to-face insults, and finally on 11 Dey [2 January 1948], they resulted in the burning of the door of the house of one of the believers. Throughout all this, the matter was reported locally by those who were insulted to the Office of the Deputy Governor and the police. The governor's office in Maragheh was also informed and asked to take serious steps in order to prevent possible [harmful] incidents, which could occur in future. Those authorities gave favourable responses.

However, the local officers’ carelessness and negligence, having been conditioned, led to a public uprising in Miandoab against the Baha’is, on 16 Dey [7 January], from 12:00 noon till 9:00 p.m., where a large crowd were commissioned to gather in the streets and in the marketplace to harass and persecute the Baha’is.

First of all, in the middle of the marketplace, they seriously assaulted Mr. Jafar Sadeghi, a member of the Spiritual Assembly of Miandoab, who had approached relevant authorities to report the matter and request intervention. They also attacked his companion, Mr. Enayatollah Astani (a pioneer from Mahabad), who had immediately started walking towards the police station to demand justice, in such a way that he took refuge, while injured, in the mentioned office. At 4:00 p.m., they seriously hit Mr. Bahar Vojdani, secretary of the above Assembly, and fractured his head. They wounded Mr. Ahmad Hemmati, who was returning from work, and Messrs. Amir Nowrouzi, Balal Jabbari and Zekrollah Pakrou, in the street, and attacked the homes of the believers. Messrs. Ali Azami, Zaman Ighani, and Ahmad Ighani, as well as grandmother Ighani, were also assaulted and their belongings pillaged. A number of the believers, who were working in the sugar factory, were attacked on their return home and they went back to the factory and took refuge there, and later that night they went to the police station, escorted by two policemen.

The Miandoab Haziratu’l-Quds was not spared, either. Its door and windows were broken, and all its furnishings were trampled upon and its library books were burnt in the centre of the city. Late at night, they plundered Mr. Jamal Sahandi’s house, and he reached the police station seriously injured. Mr. Akbar Bahadori’s orchard, adjacent to the city, was also attacked and the building within it was burnt down. Despite continuous reporting to the police, and even though the officers witnessed everything, the attackers were not stopped. It was late at night when the police officers interfered, and the city reached some calm. The police allocated a guard at the entrance of the homes of the Baha’is and the Haziratu’l-Quds. The believers who were at the police station were then able to go home, escorted by the officers, and those who were injured received treatment.

When the commotion began, the believers went to the telegraph office in order to inform this Assembly and the Spiritual Assembly of Maragheh; however, their communication did not go through and they couldn’t make a telephone call either. Since, two days ago, two members of the Spiritual Assembly had gone to Maragheh to take necessary steps and another two members were seriously injured and bruised, the Spiritual Assembly was unable to meet; hence, one of the devoted believers, by the name of Ahmad Khademi, volunteered to go to Tabriz that same night. This person, going on back roads and undergoing great difficulties, entered Tabriz on the night of 18 Dey [9 January 1948].

After this Assembly had been informed of the matter, it immediately sent a telegram to inform your noble Assembly and also, by telegram, reported the matter to the Azerbaijan governor general, the gendarmerie and police departments as well as Lieutenant General Shahbakhti and Brigadier General Karzan, and requested investigation and prevention. In addition, letters to the above-mentioned authorities, copies of which are enclosed, were prepared and submitted on 19 Dey [10 January]. The Azerbaijan governor general issued prevention and prosecution orders for the offenders and Lieutenant General Shahbakhti, too, after receiving this Assembly’s telegram, issued the necessary orders to Mahabad military headquarters and one colonel, accompanied by a number of soldiers, immediately entered the locality.

Martial law was established in town and investigations began. According to phone information received, the situation in the city has relatively calmed down. The Spiritual Assembly of Maragheh has also undertaken suitable steps in regard to this matter, and, after being informed of the situation, has sent a representative to the governor’s office and requested prevention; however, the governor has contented himself with just issuing a phone order. On 19 Dey [10 January] a representative from the Spiritual Assembly of Maragheh, together with the two members of the Spiritual Assembly of Miandoab, who had gone to Maragheh to complain, as well as Mr. Sadeghi, who had been assaulted, entered Tabriz and submitted their private complaints to legal authorities.

The memories of this sorrowful event still lingered in our minds when a phone call was received, informing us that on 20 Dey [11 January] the same events had occurred in Maragheh and a number of devoted friends in that locality were assaulted by malicious individuals. We heard that this act had been instigated and provoked by the town clergyman, Mr. Haji Mir-Habib. Around five individuals were seriously injured and are undergoing treatment at the infirmary, and others have fled. The doors of a number of houses were also broken, but police officers intervened and prevented further actions. The matter was relayed to your Assembly by telegram, and also to the Office of the Provincial Governor General and Lieutenant General Shahbakhti through two more telegrams, and they were requested to prosecute the offenders.

For the sake of brevity, we refrain from describing the events and occurrences of Shazand in Arak, Bandar Shah, Kucheri in Golpayegan, Hesar and Nameq in Khorasan, Yazd, Shahi, Sari, Pol Sefid and Shahsavar in Mazandaran, Safarabad Pishkuh in Yazd, Rafsanjan, Kerman, Borujerd in Lorestan, and others which have unjustly happened previously to the friends of God, who have approached official authorities and have taken the necessary steps in a timely manner. The best consolation for the oppressed friends in Iran is these kind words from our beloved Guardian, may our spirits be sacrificed for his favours, written in his most recent letter, Tawqi’at-i-Mubarakeh. [Persian verse][1]

 

 

[1] [The authorized translation of this text is not available in English. The original text is as follows:

 "این عبد در احیان زیارت و فراغت، لیلاً و نهاراً به کمال توجّه به یاد آن ستم‌دیدگان مشغول و مألوف و از محبوب ابهیٰ و مولای توانا، رفع بلایا و فتح ابواب رخا را بر وجه آن غم‌زدگان سائل و تحقّق وعود الهیّه را در آن سامان به کمال عجز و نیاز طالب و هدم بنیان ظالمان و دشمنان امر یزدان را متمنّی و طلوع شمس عزّت و اقبال اهل بهاء را از افق آن اقلیم پر بلا راجی. مطمئن باشند و یاران را به صبر و شکیبایی و تحمّل این مشقّات و متاعب و مصائب دلالت نمایند؛ إلی أن یَنجزَ اللهُ وَعدَهُ و یَرفعَ أَمرَهُ و یَشتتَ شَملَ أعدائِه و یُحقّقَ آمالَ اولیائِه وَ أوِدّائِه" ]

Tawqi’at-i-Mubarakeh (1922-1948, page 310)