[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

[Emblem]

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran

Number: 564

 

Date: 11 Kalimat 101 B.E.

1 Mordad 1323 [23 July 1944]

 

Mr. Saed, Prime Minister,

As you are no doubt aware, a large group of Iranians, provoked by influential people and religious leaders, blindly and with no investigation or research, have long been seeking vengeance in their hearts against the Baha’is and whenever opportunity has presented itself, have risen in atrocities and oppressions towards them and have refrained from no hostile act, even from murder and looting.

During the first century, from the inception of this Faith, more than 20,000 people were killed and 100,000 homes crumbled and [were ruined]. Various Eastern and Western history books, such as the “Qajar” volume, an addendum to “Nasikh al-tavarikh”, “Rawzat as-safa” by Naseri, a history book on the royal court, “Vaghaye Ettefaghieh”, a newspaper published in Tehran, compilations by Lord Curzon, Monsieur Nicolas, Comte [Arthur] de Gobineau, Dr. Genie, Markham, Sir Francis Younghusband, Lady Sheil and many others, all testify to the truth of this claim. And if at times Baha’is enjoyed certain security and comfort in this blessed land of Iran, and their lives and possessions were not threatened by the hostile people, it was for fear of punishment from the government and its might and power.

At times when the public found the government to be weak or the authorities supportive of their intentions against the Baha’is, they immediately ignited the fire of conspiracy and sedition and dyed their hands with the blood of these defenceless people. Recent events, too, indicate that the religious leaders and fanatics, enjoying full freedom, and even, in some places, support from government authorities in their aggression against the Baha’is, have once again instigated agitation among the public and the simple-minded people, who have in turn repeated the previous atrocities and subjected this defenceless group to a plethora of persecution under various pretexts. In addition to battery, assault, looting and pillage, they have committed such acts that our pen is ashamed to divulge and the reader [would be] ashamed to wade through.

Brief accounts of vicious acts by the perpetrators have been brought to your attention through numerous letters, requesting that these aggressions be stopped. Rather than [restraining] the villains and the malefactors and preventing the savage attacks by the malicious fanatics, the Office of the Prime Minister has recently issued a memorandum addressed to all government ministries, reading: “Among the Baha’i teachers and their leaders, there are a number of government officials and employees whose penetration into cities and towns and whose activities have led to undesirable outcomes. According to Article 8 of the Public Services Employment Act, any political expression or action in administrative affairs, or any propaganda against the official state religion or against the national government, is strictly forbidden and will lead to dismissal. You are therefore requested to issue prompt orders to prevent officials and employees in those ministries from [spreading] their propaganda, and in case of violation, to treat them according to the law.”

The contents of this memorandum are completely devoid of facts and of any truth. This Assembly, prompted by its conscious obligation, wishes to categorically and unequivocally refute these statements. The reasons are: Baha’i individuals, one and all, based on their religious belief, are strictly forbidden from any involvement in political affairs; interference in these matters is considered to be a grave transgression and gross wrongdoing; violators of this principle are never recognized as Baha’is; they do not carry out any propaganda against the official state religion; they consider the Prophet Founder of their Faith to be the Promised One of Islam; they recognize and testify to the unfailing truth of the blessed religion of the Lord of Mankind [Mohammad PBUH]; they never engage in actions other than strictly within spiritual spheres and have successfully passed their test over the past century, compelling both friend and foe to confess to its evident truth.

Now if the ill-wishers and the perpetrators, with hearts filled with animosity and hatred towards the Baha’is, provoked by the influential religious leaders who seek any opportunity to ignite the flame of sedition and mischief―especially during these critical times when various groups are in search of every opportunity to promote their own selfish interests―[were to] be informed that such a decree (which is far from the truth and contradicts facts) has been issued by the government of the time and by the Office of the Prime Minister, then they [would not] hesitate [to commit any] shameful act, and there would be no end to their exploitation of this memorandum in every corner of the country and in distant localities, as well as further attacks against the defenceless Baha’is under various pretexts. As the poet [Saadi] says, [Persian poem][1]

This Assembly views these types of communication as a direct signal by the government to provoke the malicious and ill-wishing groups against the Baha’is and considers this to be a policy completely counter to the stability and security of the land and protection of the rights of the minorities. It is further not in line with the standards your honourable position wishes to uphold, and is in contrast with the previous orders issued by that sublime office in protection of defenceless citizens. It is a source of grave concern that, should the issued memorandum reach towns and villages and be exploited and misinterpreted (which will definitely be the case), perpetrators will commit atrocities that will truly bring shame and embarrassment to the Iranian community in the eyes of both the foreigner and the compatriot.

We therefore wish to ask for your kind attention to protecting the lives and properties of a group of honest, peaceful and tolerant subjects of this country, who have constantly manifested the qualities of uprightness, honesty and obedience and never taken any action against the interest of the land and of the state, and to take necessary measures to remove this misunderstanding and rescind this strange decree, which is unparalleled in the annals of past history―even during the dark period of the reign of Naser-al-Din Shah, such a communication regarding Baha’is was not issued to government offices―and in doing so, prevent a new wave of persecution and pressure against the Baha’i community.

With respect,

Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, Ali-Akbar Foroutan

[Signature over official stamp]

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran

 

 

[1] [Saadi: The original text is as follows:]

"حریف مجلس ما خود همیشه دل می‌برد         علی‌الخصوص که پیرایه‌ای بر او بستند"