[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

Statement of the Baha’i Community of Iran Regarding the Constitution

Dated 15 Mordad 1358 [6 August 1979]

 

In these days, when the election of the Assembly of Experts has concluded and representatives have been selected to give their final opinion regarding the Constitution of this sacred country, we wish to convey the following. The Baha’i Community of Iran, which has existed in this land for over 136 years and is considered the largest religious minority, pursuant to its previous statements, has the duty to make a final effort to appeal to the respected representatives for vindication of its rights and attention to its rightful and sincere requests, and ask all of the people who hold influential positions to be mindful of the presence of God and their own conscience and pay attention to the discrimination inflicted upon this community, and not allow the rights of this community to be subjected to oppression and extremism. As God says in the sacred Quran, “Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”[1]

Baha’is believe in the oneness of God, the truth of all prophets and messengers, and the immortality of the soul, and they affirm all heavenly books. They follow the rules and laws of the country and endeavour to serve the interests of their homeland through cultural and social service. In short, based on their religious teachings, they are promoters of unity and oneness with all of humankind, and consider any type of extremist racial, political, or economic prejudice as unacceptable and against the interests of society. Today, they live all over the planet in 96,000 towns and villages and have more than 25,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies. The Baha’i Faith has spread among 1,640 ethnic groups and tribes around the world, and its books and scriptures have been translated into 685 local and national languages. It has become a member of the United Nations as a non-political and Non-Governmental Organization.

During its existence, since the beginning until today, it has been continually subjected to various forms of persecution, killings and massacres, and more than 20,000 of the followers of this Faith have been martyred. Against all religious and legal principles, various types of discrimination and injustice have been imposed upon them. How many baseless allegations were hurled against this community! They dishonourably made false allegations by fabricating lies and slander without any source or basis, every instance of which has been fully responded to with positive and well-documented proofs. 

Whenever a political or social change happened in this country, a new scheme was devised, and their basic rights were diminished. Before the Revolution, numerous injustices were inflicted upon this community. In different cities, the looting of property and pillaging of homes and burning of the houses and killing of people led to the destruction of more than 700 homes, and irreversible damages were inflicted.

Since the beginning of the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, all of the members of this community have expressed their fidelity and obedience to the government in word and deed. Unfortunately, however, the same injustices were repeated. In addition to the previous unlawful actions, armed individuals in various areas raided the offices and establishments of this community and took all of the documents, papers, books, and publications. Later, they confiscated the places belonging to this community without asking any questions and in the absence of any infraction or holding a trial. They even confiscated a hospital that belonged to this community.

Notwithstanding, the respected speaker of the government openly stated on Saturday, 2 Tir 1358 [23 June 1979], that “Neither the government nor the imam have had any role in the confiscation and impoundment of these properties, and Grand Ayatollah Khomeini has twice emphasized that such actions are against the teachings of Islam.”

Now, despite the past injustices, the Baha’is of this country have the sincere hope that, in this historic moment when the ratification of the draft Constitution is under consideration, they will be allotted their most basic human rights, which include freedom of belief, writing, and speech; official recognition of their administration, schools, and learning establishments; that equal rights will be accepted for Baha’is as it is for other groups; that attention will be paid to their freedom of employment and the barriers to their employment be alleviated; and that they will be protected from the assaults of others in their worship and personal matters.

The path to solving this problem is to either add the phrase, “other minorities,” to the names listed in the second chapter, Article 14 of the draft, or to delete them entirely, to extend the freedoms to all minorities in the abovementioned respects, or to protect the rights of this minority in any other manner deemed appropriate. It must be explained here that the intent of this request is not to enable the Baha’is to have a representative in the Congress, or to enable them to become a minister or ambassador or any such thing, as, based on their inner beliefs, they do not interfere in political affairs. This was illustrated by the fact that in the past a Baha’i individual who became a minister was expelled from membership in the community.

We are certain that with these and other changes that must no doubt be made in the aforementioned law, the commands contained in the verses of the sacred Quran, “You will never see any imperfection in the creation of the Most Compassionate[2], and “Let there be no compulsion in religion, for the truth stands out clearly from falsehood.”[3], and “You have your way, and I have my Way.”[4] will, with the confirmations of God, make the Constitution of the sacred country of Iran stronger and more cohesive. 

His Highness Imam ‘Ali (PBUH), in his book of advice to his dear child, states the following:

“My dear child, judge yourself and others on the same scale, and wish for others that which you wish for yourself, and do not find acceptable for others what you do not find acceptable for yourself.  Just as you do not want to be subjected to injustice, do not be unjust to anyone, and just as you expect good from others, do good to others.”[5]

In conclusion, this community, with utmost truthfulness and purity of motive, announces its desire to participate in working to advance the prosperity of our beloved country of Iran.

With expressions of respect,

Baha’i Community of Iran

 

 

[1] [Quran 5:8]

[2] [Quran 67:3]

[3] [Quran 2:256]

[4] [Quran 109:6]

[5] [This is the unauthorized translation]