[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:] Ettelaat Weekly
[Date:] 5 Khordad 1334 [ 27 May 1955]
[Issue No.:] 716
The Fight Against Baha’i Sect is Said to Continue
Public order and the vigilance of the Iranian people in the case of the Baha’is was [proof] of great honour for Iran, which has attracted the attention and surprise of the world.
On Sunday, this week, the last day of Ramadan, the demolition of the Baha’i centre and the Haziratu’l-Quds building began, on the orders of Commander Bakhtiar, the military governor of Tehran. In an interesting ceremony, the first sound of a pickaxe, which was struck on the nine-part dome of the Haziratu’l-Quds in order to destroy the edifice, echoed in space. In addition to the staff and workers who had previously gathered, there were also people who were present or visiting, such as Mr. Falsafi, the famous preacher, and ordinary people, as well as the officers and soldiers, each of whom, by hitting the building a number of times with a pickaxe, took part in the operation of destruction.
The demolition of the Haziratu’l-Quds, if done normally, would have taken more than a month, because it was built very strong, with reinforced concrete. In addition to destroying the bricks, foundations and columns and dismantling the skeleton of the building, in which iron rods were used, this required an oxygen welding machine to open the reinforced concrete structure with heat and to separate the rods.
Dismantling the long, thick iron beams is a lengthy process. Usually, wherever it is necessary to destroy the strong iron foundation beams, they must first install strong wooden structures to facilitate the dismantling process. Therefore, in this regard, from Sunday, it was decided to use the army engineering company and the large cranes that were used by the army engineers in order to expedite the demolition of the Haziratu’l-Quds building.
It was almost an hour after the start of the demolition of the building when several residents entered the Haziratu’l-Quds holding a large green flag. With the permission of Colonel Hariri, who commanded the troops in the area of the Haziratu’l-Quds, they placed the green flag on top of the roof. The phrase “Allah’s Hand is over theirs.” was written on this flag; currently, it seems the flag will remain flying on top of the roof of the Haziratu’l-Quds.
Our reporter contacted Mr. Falsafi and inquired about the cleric’s opinion regarding the Baha’i employees and what will be the government’s decision. Mr. Falsafi replied, “Of course, you know that in the laws of our country, whether in the employment act or in other laws, it is stated that a government employee should not be known for corrupting beliefs and having harmful ideologies, and when the National Consultative Assembly, which is the legislative authority, approved the explicit report of the government, there is no longer any doubt that the Baha’i employees should not remain in the government system. But Islam orders one to look at the appearance and considers the statement of a person as sufficient evidence, and we are by no means an agent of inquisition. We only consider the Baha’i employees who have stated that they are Baha’i in their service form.
This week, it was rumoured that Ayatollah Borujerdi had intended to issue a fatwa against the Baha’i sect; [however,] an informed person said, “This rumour is clearly not true, because the orders of Ayatollah Borujerdi, who is the marja-i-taqlid [religious jurisprudence authority] of the Shiite world, are obeyed without any doubt and question and every Shiite Muslim follows and obeys the orders and opinions of His Holiness. There is no need to issue a special fatwa.”
With regard to the Baha’i Faith, the shah himself, the ministers, the law enforcement officials, and the general public, all were in full agreement with the views of the ayatollah and the religious authorities. And as it was observed, the shah personally issued strict orders and the occupation of the Haziratu’l-Quds was the result of the same explicit and emphatic royal support.
Our reporter asked Mr. Falsafi whether, since it had been heard, Mr. Falsafi was still planning to go to the pulpit after the month of Ramadan and follow the struggle against the Baha’i sect through the pulpit sermons. Mr. Falsafi stated in response, “It was suggested by various people that I should go to the pulpit after Ramadan. But I answered that they should not make such a request because at the moment, it is not necessary to go to the pulpit. The struggle will continue through legal means, and by observing the laws and the interests of the country and the nation and maintaining public order and peace, and we will move forward step by step. Of course, if it is necessary for the matter to reach the people through a pulpit sermon, I will not refuse to go to the pulpit with prior notice to the people. But with the vigilance of the people and the support of the government, I do not think it will be necessary to go to the pulpit.”
Regarding the next steps in the fight against the Baha’i sect, Mr. Falsafi said, “One should not be satisfied with just an unofficial recognition that the Baha’i sect is illegal; our request to the government is that it implement an executive guarantee of this illegality through the legal channel.”
Another [request] is for determination of the fate of the public property of the Baha’i sect―whether it should be determined by preserving the right of an individual to property ownership and observing the laws of the country, since (the public real estate of the Baha’i sect is apparently registered under the name of Shoghi Effendi). Another is the dismissal from government offices of Baha’i employees who confess to Baha’ism.