[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[Publication:] Akhbar-e Amri [Baha’i News]
[Date:] Bahman 1328 [January/February 1950]
[Issue No.:] 10
Second - Text of letter number 9423 from this Assembly, dated 19 Sultan 106, coinciding with 17 Bahman 1328 [6 February 1950], which was written to Mohammad Sa’ed, prime minister, and copies of which have been submitted to all of the ministers:
Dear Mr. Sa’ed, Prime Minister
With utmost respect, we convey the following:
This Assembly has informed Your Highness in numerous letters about some of the injustices being inflicted upon the Baha’is of Iran, and has unequivocally reminded you that the negligence and laxity of the government agents in preventing the incitement being committed by prejudiced individuals and the sedition and perversities committed by malefactors and spiteful people will eventually lead to horrific incidents and deadly events, spilling the blood of innocent people and endangering the life, property, and families of a group of loyal and benevolent servants of the imperial government, and ensnaring them in personal vendettas and the religious prejudice of others.
Regrettably, the predictions of this Assembly were once again borne out. On 14 Bahman [3 February 1950], Dr. Soleiman Berjis, the chairman of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Kashan, who was an erudite and honourable servant, and―based on the testimony of the fair and impartial local residents of Kashan―was regarded as one of the equitable and effective members of society, was brutally killed in the most atrocious and tragic manner by a few members of the Preachers of the Islamic Association. The spilled blood of the innocent Baha’is of Shahroud and Sarvestan had not yet dried when yet another meek and innocent soul was martyred in Kashan.
If the relevant authorities had paid attention to the longstanding appeals and complaints of the Baha’is, and had not given free reign to the depraved inciters of violence in their opposition and enmity toward the Baha’is, and had not allowed personal motives, worldly desires, and religious sentiments to interfere with their sacred administrative duties, and had punished and reprimanded every assailant and aggressor under the rule of the law, people like Torbati and Tasaloti, who consider themselves to be wise men and preachers, would never have encouraged and enticed ignorant people from atop their pulpits to commit murder, plunder, genocide, and predatory behaviour. The authorities would have admonished and counselled them and prevented them from inflicting trouble, and would have invited people to observe goodly manners and morality. In such a case, they would not have prepared the circumstances and provided the causes for such a horrific incident.
In addition, at this exact historic moment, when the government of Iran, based on the wishes of His Highness the Shah, has unequivocally announced the full emancipation of all of the religious minorities of Iran to the nations of the world, and has given all manner of written and verbal assurances in this regard, they would not have committed such a heinous act as to endanger the reputation and status of the beloved country of Iran.
It appears excessive to refer to the articles of the Constitution and the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights one more time regarding this matter. However, it would not be without merit to point out that once this unfortunate news spreads around the world and the inhabitants of the planet read and hear that, in this luminous century and in the ancient country of Iran, people are still being cut into pieces on the basis of religion, and that the criminals and murderers are not punished for their sinful actions by the executive branch and assailants and oppressors are not punished and chastised—as was clearly the case with the incidents in Shahroud and Sarvestan—what will they think about this sacred country and how will they judge our beloved homeland?
Truly, to this day, it is not clear to any of the Baha’is of Iran, why it is that the imperial government treats the country’s largest religious minority so unkindly, and why it is that the Baha’is—who excel others in performing all of their civic duties and carrying out their social responsibilities, and are among the honest servants of the country and worship dear Iran—are being subjected to so much persecution and their appeals and complaints go unheeded. Most surprising of all, some of the authors and heads of publications are also following in the footsteps of a few prejudiced preachers and, instead of trying to improve the manners and correct the behaviour of their readers, prod them implicitly and explicitly toward disunity, separation, hostility, and enmity, and fuel the fire of conflict and religious prejudice.
For example, we can point to the article, “One Hundred Years before the Assassination Attempt of 15 Bahman [4 February 1949],” which was published in the Tehran Mosavvar magazine, number 339, dated Friday, 14 Bahman of this year [3 February 1950]. A deep reflection on this article shows clearly and unmistakably that its writer had no other object or motive but to arouse the angry sentiments of the people and incite them against the Baha’is. For this reason, in an astonishing manner and against the basic principles of logic, he has twisted historical events and, in essence, has connected two unrelated events to each other.
At this juncture, it is our moral duty to mention that the commander of the Army, Mr. Zahedi, esteemed head of the National Police Force, had issued strict orders and clear directives to the head of police in Kashan prior to this incident regarding prevention of such incitement by the troublemakers. However, unfortunately, the head of police of Kashan, Mr. Fatemi, based on his personal motives and religious prejudices, has befriended and colluded with the local malefactors and his negligence and laxity in punishing them has resulted in this injurious atrocity.
In conclusion of this letter, we beseech Your Highness to issue clear orders to the relevant authorities to prosecute and punish the perpetrators and murderers and emphasize that they must not continue to protect the criminals, nor add to the audacity and shamelessness of the troublemakers and hooligans who usually, in such cases, anticipate and expect harsh reprisal from the government. In addition, please issue strict orders to all areas of Iran for the prevention of incitement of prejudiced people and provocation of depraved actions, so that order will not be disturbed and the life and property of a large number of innocent people will not be placed in danger, and such ferocious actions, which have no result other than debasing the status and station of the people of Iran in the eyes of the prominent countries of the world, will not be repeated.
With expressions of respect,
Chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran
Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran