[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]

 

[Newspaper:] Toloo

[Date:] 4 Khordad 1334 [26 May 1955]

 

How Was the Baha’i Centre Destroyed?

Our photojournalist, who was present during the demolition of the Haziratu’l-Quds from very early in the morning until late in the evening, describes his observations as follows:

“It was 8:00 in the morning when they were informed by telephone that they wanted to demolish the Haziratu’l-Quds. I immediately arrived at the scene and saw a large number of reporters who had gathered there before me and were waiting for the work to begin. A large crowd surrounded the Haziratu’l-Quds; everyone wanted to know what was going on inside the building, but no one was allowed to enter.

“A large number of workers and builders with pickaxes and shovels had already arrived there, and the law enforcement officers did not allow them to leave so they would not contact the ordinary people.

“It was about 9:00 a.m. when several people came in a hurry and informed the relevant officials who were present that Mr. Falsafi would be there within half an hour to observe the situation of the Haziratu’l-Quds and be present during this valuable action.

“Reporters were in a frenzy; telephone calls started and each of the reporters were informing their offices of this news, which was important in terms of journalism. The reporters thought the destruction work would not begin until the arrival of Mr. Falsafi or other prominent law enforcement officers who were supposed to be present. But suddenly the sound of the first strike of the pickaxe was heard.

“This sound dislodged the journalists like a flood; all were moving towards the great hall under the dome and tried to keep up with each other. When we got there, we were surprised to see that the work had begun and fifty workers were destroying the foundations around the dome with sledgehammers and pickaxes, but the building was so strong that it was not damaged by these blows’

“We were photographing the activities of the crews when suddenly the sound of ‘salawat”[1] was raised. Many people were loudly sending salawat, and in the interval between the two salawat, others would say ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ [God is Great].

“Suddenly, it was reported that Mr. Falasfi had arrived with a group of his friends and followers. Again, reporters and photographers rushed to the exit door to take pictures of him. Mr. Falsafi was walking in front and a large number of people from different classes were following him towards the building, sending salawat and saying ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ loudly.

“Mr. Falsafi left the others, and guided by one of the officers, he went to the steps behind the dome. The dome was so high that one just had to climb a ladder, since there was no other means. Mr. Falsafi climbed the ladder with difficulty and with the help of several law enforcement officers got himself to the place where they were destroying [the dome]. He seemed delighted to see that the month-long struggles of the people and himself were bringing about results.

“With an encouraging smile and warm words, [Mr. Falsafi] encouraged the employees who were working and gave them new strength and power. He later expressed his appreciation for the cooperation of the military governorate and the military officials who had respected the wish of the public in this critical situation. Then he came down the same way as they had gone up and visited the other parts of the Haziratu’l-Quds. After a full visit to all parts of the Haziratu’l-Quds, he said, ‘Well, thank God, with this act, the last nest of this misguided sect has been destroyed,’ and then he left as he had entered. Again, people circled around him with a green flag that was flying high with the writing that said (‘help from Allah and an imminent victory.’)[2] They left that place while they were sending salawat. The progress of the destruction of the Haziratu’l-Quds was reported step by step over military radio to the military command; on behalf of the governor, the work was regularly reported to the chief of staff of the [Iranian] Army, Major General Batmanghelich.

“It was about an hour and a half [later] in the afternoon when suddenly one of the photographers said, ‘They are here’. He meant to say that the commander-in-chief, General Batmanghelich, chief of staff of the Army, had arrived with Commander-in-Chief Brigadier General Bakhtiar. The photographers and reporters went to welcome them. Commander Batmanghelich, together with Brigadier General Bakhtiar and a group of twenty or thirty people, lined up and came towards the building. At the same time, Commander Batmanghelich wanted some explanation, which was given by Commander Bakhtiar.

“All the rooms and different parts of the Haziratu’l-Quds were visited and then they visited the library. The library of the Haziratu’l-Quds had over 5,000 volumes of Persian and foreign books. Overall, the total number of Persian books in this library was less than the total number of the books available in English, French and German.

“After visiting other parts, Major General Batmanghelich, chief of staff of the Army, climbed the stairs and watched the dome and its destruction process closely. At this time, some people who were there asked him to take part in this goodly deed, so he also took the pickaxe from one of the crews and destroyed some parts of the dome.

“Commander Batmanghelich, after observing the condition of the roof and its grandeur, ordered an army crane to be carried there, and, after destroying the foundations of the dome, to remove the dome in one piece and place it in the middle of the courtyard.

“At 2:00 p.m., Commander Batmanghelich and Commander Bakhtiar left the Haziratu’l-Quds, and thus the demolition work was temporarily stopped, so that after their break, workers could return in the afternoon and [continue with] their work.”

As our correspondent [found in his investigation], it is currently planned to destroy the Haziratu’l-Quds and no decision has been made for this building. Also, it is unclear for what purpose they will use the building.

Baha’is also have major centres in some parts of the world, including Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom, of which, in terms of importance, only the Haziratu’l-Quds in the United States of America is equal to the Haziratu’l-Quds in Iran.

 

 

[1] [Salawat upon Muhammad, it means that God is sending blessings on him]

[2] [Quran 61:13] https://quran.com/61