[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran]
Date: 13 Baha 101
Corresponding to 13 Farvardin 1323 [2 April 1944]
The Honourable Mr. Prime Minister,
With utmost respect, this is to convey that, as in periods of commotion in the past, a number of religious zealots have recently been stirring up mischief against the Baha’is in various localities in the country and are harassing and persecuting them. They have no qualms about inflicting any forms of assault and attack, burning the doors of buildings, looting some homes, and even assaulting women. They have caused all kinds of damage, and in some areas, have caused individuals to flee.
Even though the relevant authorities in the capital were contacted, and while orders were issued for their agents to attend to the complaints and to protect the rights of the innocent, unfortunately, there have been no results, and the local authorities failed to do what was required to stop these events. In some parts, they themselves even promoted the unrest.
According to accurate and detailed information received from some regions, a while ago, without any reason or cause, the Ministry of Interior issued a circular and ordered the prevention of the Baha’is from propagating their faith. This order, in and of itself, became a motive to incite the zealots and troublemakers to arise against the Baha’is, while your honourable self and other authorities are well aware that the fundaments of the beliefs and ideologies of the people of Baha are based on peace and harmony, obedience to the laws of the state, good will towards others and association with all peoples, lack of pretence in religious matters and peacefulness and non-violence, and that they never have, nor ever will be, engaged in any deed or action that would be contrary to the general security and which would lead to corruption and sedition.
The issuance of the above-mentioned circular, as well as the ambiguous and ineffective orders and regulations that were subsequently issued by the authorities, have all contributed to the grievous incidents that have recently occurred, and, contrary to the text of the Constitution and the principles of civil laws and social welfare, have compromised the security of life, property, and general welfare of a number of peaceful and obedient citizens of the country, only for being Baha’is. If these incidents are not prevented, the flames of sedition will gradually burn fiercer and the domain of its spread will become wider. It is our fear that the horrifying memories of the past will recur and a group of Iranians, who have been known to the civilized and cultured nations of the world as the well-wishers of all, will be subjected to murder and looting. Of course, the decision as to how this line of action might be contrary to the best interest and harmful to the prestige of the nation is that of the respected authorities.
Up until now, the Baha’is have endured all kinds of hardships and adversities. Even in cases where the local authorities have been unkind and remained silent before the oppressors, or have, secretly or openly, assisted and accompanied the perpetrators and failed to arise in the defence [of the Baha’is], they [the Baha’is] took no action other than making appeals to the authorities. Now, in order to prevent the continuation and the spread of the oppression and turmoil, and to stop the cruelty inflicted upon numerous Iranian families, we bring our plea to you to issue a strict and explicit order to the relevant authorities to categorically stop the actions of the evildoers and stirrers of sedition, and ask that the perpetrators be prosecuted and brought to justice.
We have provided for your information a brief summary of the treacherous events that have occurred in various regions and ask for your prompt and special attention to each one. May the days of honour and prosperity continue.
Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, Ali-Akbar Foroutan
[Stamp of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran]
Anti-Baha’i notices have been put up on walls in Khomein, seriously threatening all individuals who enter into business transactions with or rent properties to them.
During the period of Moharram, the inhabitants of Gilan arose in riot and sedition against a number of Baha’i residents in the region, and gathered in the mosque, requesting their eviction from the area.
On Friday, the tenth of Ashura, a crowd of local mischief makers raided the homes of the Baha’is in that locality and broke the doors and windows. They physically assaulted several individuals and looted the belongings of some. A few days later, they returned to their orchards, uprooted the trees and trampled on their agricultural crops. Violence against the Baha’is continues, and the inhabitants refrain from any business transactions or dealings with them.
In Mahallat, one of the Baha’is was severely assaulted, and the doors of the house and carpentry workshop of another were burnt down. [People] refrain from any business dealings with them and continuously threaten and humiliate them.
In Damghan, the inhabitants have declared any transaction with the Baha’is unlawful and against the Sharia, and continue to threaten and assault them, and [in some cases] to murder them. They openly claim that, according to the fatwa of the local religious mujtahid, the shedding of the blood of the Baha’is is lawful and permissible.
The inhabitants of Barzok, Kashan, treat the Baha’is with the utmost aggression and severity. They cut down their trees and subject them to every possible harm and harassment. In Natanz, Kashan, the thugs stoned the homes of the Baha’is, and one of the famous local louts, by the name of Mohammad Hamideh, is constantly harassing the Baha’is and disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the few Baha’is who live there.
The inhabitants of Rudsar constantly find ways to make life difficult for the Baha’is. They viciously vandalised a shop belonging to a Baha’is and threw out its inventory.
Mobarakeh and Ghahfarrokh, Isfahan:
In Mobarakeh and Ghahfarrokh, the thrill-seeking mobs constantly insult, humiliate and threaten the Baha’is. They assaulted one of the Baha’is in Ghahfarrokh and forced him to flee the area.
In Saman, Isfahan, the thugs raided the homes of Messrs. Ebrahim Mahrou and Navardeh, who had recently moved to that area, and looted and plundered their books, assaulted them and expelled them from the locality.
In Bandar Jaz, a preacher by the name of Sadr incited the mobs and hooligans against the Baha’is. He writes and distributes night letters against them.
In Qorveh, Kurdistan, the door to the house of Mr. Faraj Abdi was set on fire and the local mobs attacked him and his family. At the provocation by Mr. Hadaie, the education representative, Ustad Gholam-Hosein Khayyat was severely beaten, and his belongings and household possessions were looted. As a result of this evil act, his poor wife was severely traumatised and passed away a few days later.
In Zabol, Mr. Ataollah Shabrokh was severely beaten, and a few of the locals went to the home of a Baha’i in Zabol, entered by force and severely assaulted him as well.
Teachers and children insult the Bahá’í students and use profanities against them. On the instruction of the teachers, other students assault the Baha’i children to the extent that the Baha’i children have stopped going to school in the last while. On several occasions, the thugs and hooligans have tried to pillage and plunder the shops of the Baha’is and have tried to break the locks; fortunately, they have not succeeded. The homes of the Baha’is have been repeatedly stoned, and several women have been injured.
Nine of the inhabitants have been badmouthing and insulting the Baha’is on the streets and in the bazaars. When encountering [the Baha’is], children shout abusive language at them and incite others to call them Babis as an insult. The Baha’is have been banned from public baths. The local Friday prayer leader, as well as a few of the clergymen, encourage the inhabitants from the pulpit tops and incite them against the Baha’is.
On Thursday, 4 Isfand 1322 [24 February 1944], the inhabitants of Azarshahr, incited by Mirza Mohsen the preacher, while beating their chests and yelling and screaming, raided the homes of Mr. Hosein Chitsaz and Mr. Zayn al-Abidin Balazadeh with clubs and bats, plundered their homes and looted their belongings and furniture. The main provokers, in addition to Mirza Mohsen the preacher, were Mulla Mohsen (the prayer leader), Asgar Sabzehchi, Shafiezadeh Khabbaz (the baker) and Sadegh Salehi.
Through the provocations of Mulla Mirza Hasan, the preacher, and other clergymen, the inhabitants of Gavgan have revolted against the Baha’is. The door to one of their homes was broken and they are constantly under threats to their lives and their belongings.
In Osku, false announcements have been distributed, purporting to be on behalf of the Baha’is, in order to provoke the inhabitants and common people and turn them against the Baha’is.
A group of hooligans set fire to the door of a Baha’i home and attached a threatening notice to the entrance. The local Baha’is are being constantly harassed under different pretences.
As a result of the machinations of Sheikh Esmail, the person in charge of the marriage and divorce registry office, the locals of Zolfabad, Mashhad, have arisen against the Baha’is and denied them access to the public bath. They continue to harass and harm them [the Baha’is] in various ways, especially in Mashhad; the brother of the said sheikh forcefully took a Baha’i by the name of Mahmoud to his own home and tormented and tortured him until he was near death.
A certain person by the name of Mokhtar, the chief of Akbarabad Village, came to Varqa and under various pretexts tied up Ali-Hosein Mozaffari and took 500 rials from him. He made threats to the Baha’is of Varqa, demanding that they leave the village within 24 hours and also close their [illegible]. Later, the mobs and thugs raided the homes of the Baha’is at night, forced them to flee and wounded some with knives.
In Shahabad, also, incited by influential people, the inhabitants created trouble and harassed the Baha’is in every way possible.
The local learned, incited by Mr. Mohammad Ali Negahban, the treasurer, and Mr. Abdol-Karim Amouzandeh, the representative of the Ministry of Education, as well as the commander of the garrison, First Lieutenant Bagheri, initiated troubles and riots against the Baha’is, to the extent that some of the Baha’is could no longer stay in that locality and had to move to Shiraz.
In Tuyserkan, incited by Yousef Ali Shakibie, head treasurer of Tuyserkan, the locals have prevented the Baha’is from entering the public baths or going to the barbers. They have been declared najis and unclean.
In Manizan also, the locals harass and harm the Baha’is in every possible way.
Doogh Abad, Khorasan:
In Doogh Abad, Khorasan, the locals have collectively raided the homes of the Baha’is, broken down the doors to the yards, and entered the rooms and uttered threats to their lives. Most homes were vandalised by throwing stones. They assaulted one of the Baha’is severely, and broke his arm.
In Golpayegan, the corrupt ones and zealots, incited by a certain Fakhreddin Safi and his father, insult and humiliate the Baha’is. They post threatening notices on doors and walls, and the mobs vilify and spread gossip against the Baha’is on the streets and in public places.
All the inhabitants of Soghad raided the homes of the Baha’is, assaulted and injured several them, plundered and destroyed the homes of some and looted their furniture. This chaos and disorder also spread to the neighbouring villages, such as Bahman and Eghlid. In the Maamoureh District of Abadeh there is also ongoing commotion and unrest.
In the Ghaleh Hasan Khan District, as a result of the fatwa issued by Mulla Mohammad-Ali, the Friday prayer leader, the wife of one of the Baha’is was considered a divorcee without having been divorced. She was forced out of her home and her belongings and furniture were taken and [they] made her flee.
[Handwritten note on the margin of page 1]
Issue orders to the Ministry of Interior, governor general and the office of the local governor to stop these actions.
30 Farvardin 1323 [19 April 1944]
[Handwritten note on the margin of page 2]
Receipt by the Office of the Prime Minister
Date 12 Ordibehesht 1323 [2 May 1944]