[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] Rooz Online
[Date:] 7 Khordad 1387 [27 May 2008]
Announcing the Official Existence of An Anti-Baha’i Organization
Kayhan and Fars Announced a New Round of Religious Restrictions
[By:] Arash Motamed
Despite remarks by Gholam-Hossein Elham, a spokesman for the Ninth Government, about the arrest of Baha’is and the insistence that “these arrests had nothing to do with their religious beliefs,” the Kayhan Newspaper and the Fars News Agency officially announced the launch of an internet site to fight against Baha’is. The news comes as ten citizens of Shiraz have been arrested on charges of “divergence from the religion of Islam” and some have been released on heavy bail.
In the new round of individual restrictions in Iran and with the prevalence of accusations against Baha’is in the country, yesterday, the Kayhan Newspaper, quoting Fars News Agency, wrote, “The popular anti-Baha’i movement will soon be launching an Internet site.”
According to Fars, this movement will “publicly fight against the underground movements of the perverse Baha’i sect.” According to the same news, the first activity of the website is “signing a petition condemning such movements.”
Seyyed Rasoul Pourahmad, an expert interviewed by Fars News Agency, without referring to Ayatollah Montazeri’s recent comments about the Baha’is’ wish to exercise their citizenship rights, said, “The true religious jurisprudential authorities have never compromised with the Baha’i sect.”
He added, “The marja’-i-taqlid [religious jurisprudential authorities] have taken such movements seriously and have never compromised.”
The mentioned expert, pointing out that the position of the religious jurisprudential authority has always been a sensitive and influential position in Islam and the Shiite religion, said, “There has always been a danger that opportunistic individuals and sects, including the Baha’is, could infiltrate the homes of some religious jurisprudential authorities, in order to achieve their filthy goals and intentions.” [These are] words that refer indirectly to the house of Ayatollah Montazeri.
This source of Fars News Agency continued, declaring danger to the nation of Iran and the Muslims of the world, and emphasized that the Holy Quran and Islam are in danger. He said that the independence of the country and its economy are exposed to the Zionists. He added, “With this deadly silence of the Muslims, it will not be long before they [Zionists] will seize the entire economy of this country with the approval of their agents, and will overthrow the Muslim state, depriving it of its existence in all aspects.”
The escalation of public and private clashes with the Baha’is of the country coincides with new arrests among Iranian Muslims who have recently converted to Christianity. In this connection, ten citizens of Shiraz were arrested last week. Mr. Goudarz, one of the “servants” or administrators of the Iranian Church in Dubai, told Radio Farda about the details of these arrests: “On 11 May, the security forces arrested 48-year-old Homayoun Shokouhi Gholamzadeh and his wife, Fariba Nazemian, at Shiraz Airport; they were planning to attend a congress in Dubai. After that, Hosein Bab Anarb, 25, was arrested, along with Fatemeh Shenasa [also] 25; they were released on bail three days later.”
He added, “According to the information received, on 14 May at 7:00 a.m., the police raided Hamid Alaeddin’s house. While conducting a full search of the house, [they] confiscated his computer, tapes and personal belongings, and took him away with his three children, Fatemeh, 28; Mohammad, 27; and Mojtaba, 21. The day before that, two other new Christians, named Arash Mir-Bashad and Mahmoud Matin, were arrested in a park in Shiraz.”
According to Mr. Goudarz, “The security officials have asked for commitment from the detainees not to talk about their interrogations, but one of the home churches in Shiraz has informed human rights activists of their arrest.”
According to him, “In order to be released from prison, these people were forced to register with the authorities a title deed in a name other than their own. By making such a commitment, they forgo the right to speak to anyone and must refrain from attending religious ceremonies in their church. Then they returned home.” Earlier, other citizens were arrested in Mashhad, Karaj, Tehran and Rasht on similar charges.
These arrests have come as the Islamic Republic has previously detained citizens in Mashhad, Karaj, Tehran and Rasht on charges of “divergence from the religion of Islam”. The clashes take place at a time when Elham, a spokeswoman for the Ninth Government, has rejected criticism of such detentions and has stressed that, “It is a mistake to turn some security concerns into religious ones.”
It should be noted that after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, various people were executed in the country on similar charges, which provoked the reaction of human rights organizations.