[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]

 

[Adopted from website:] Universal Tolerance Organization

[Date:] 1 Mehr 1392 [23 September 2013]

 

Former President of the University of Tehran Consoles a Baha’i Girl Deprived of Education

“This time, when you visit your mother, tell her Dr. Mohammad Maleki, 81, the first president of the University of Tehran, came to our house and bowed down to our oppression and that of our fellow religionists.” These are the words of Dr. Mohammad Maleki, the first president of the University of Tehran after the Revolution of 1979 and one of the long-standing political and human rights activists who, along with Mohammad Nourizad, visited several Baha’i families on the eve of the new academic year.

The members of these families have been in prison for several years due to their academic activities. The text of this meeting has been published on Mohammad Nourizad’s website:

Dr. Maleki apologizes to “Taraneh” for being deprived of education

It was last night that Dr. Mohammad Maleki informed me that we should go somewhere together. And we went together. Where? The home of Taraneh Taefi, a seventeen-year-old girl whom our holy Islamic system has returned [expelled] from the entrance of the University of Tehran, claiming that she had an “incomplete case”. As soon as we sat down and drank tea, the doctor asked Taraneh, “Where is your mother?” Taraneh, who thought we were aware of the news, was initially sceptical, but immediately, looking into the doctor’s eyes, said, “She has been in prison for five and a half years”. For what crime? For teaching at the Home University [Baha’i Institute for Higher Education]. What did she teach? Psychology. In these five and a half years, has she been on leave? Never! The doctor took a breath and got up and brought Taraneh to himself and kissed her on the head, and with tears in his eyes said to her, “My daughter, I apologize on behalf of all those who do not understand and with this misunderstanding have put you Baha’is in a tight spot [stranglehold]. I thought your problem was ‘the unreasonable and cowardly deprivation of education’. But now I see that you are also doubly hurt.” He continued, “This time when you go to visit your mother, tell her, ‘Dr. Mohammad Maleki, eighty-one years old, the first president [chancellor] of the University of Tehran [sic], came to our house and bowed down to our oppression, as well as that of our fellow religionists.’

The doctor bowed to Taraneh a long bow and in silence. And we all cried silently.

Apologies to a mother

We went from Taraneh Taefi’s house to Afagh’s house. A heartbroken woman whose husband was executed by the “holy order” on a pre-determined charge, and whose two sons, Amir Keyvan, Amir Kamran, and his bride, Faran, are still in prison. The crime of all three is teaching at a Baha’i Home University. Dr. Maleki put his hand on the hand of Afagh and said, “Dear lady, I am an academic. I am a Muslim. I am a Shi’ite. I swear by God, studying and teaching in any vocabulary is not a crime against any human being, let alone Islam, which encourages and urges everyone to learn it from the cradle to the grave, and basically considers learning to be a duty.” On the way back, Dr. Maleki bowed his head towards me and said, “Mr. Nourizad, had you not made a prior call?” This too is the old man’s acceptance.

It was late at night when I dropped the doctor in front of his house. He entered and waited. When I got in the car, he waved his hand. And then he raised his head to the sky. He seemed to see the stars, which wanted their tears to be shed with his trembling fingers.