[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
We respectfully convey the following. Given that for a while, some newspapers have been making baseless allegations and slanders against the Iranian Baha’i community under such headlines as “Collusion With Foreign Regimes and Zionism”, these baseless allegations might create unfavourable effects in minds of the public, and even be believed as being potentially true and arouse the sentiments of opponents and create danger for this community. Meanwhile, the Baha’is are completely innocent of these accusations and all of these allegations are untrue and unjust. At the present time, when the sacred country of Iran needs, more than ever, to have peace, unity, and national cohesion in order to develop, we deem it necessary to inform you about a number of issues.
The sacred Baha’i religion, which appeared 135 years ago in the sacred land of Iran, has gradually spread throughout the world. At the present time, the Baha’i Faith is a source of fame for our beloved Iran in more than 90,000 localities across the planet and has been accepted by 1,640 races and tribes. Its scriptures have been translated into 680 languages and the Baha’i [International] Community has been accepted as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations. Inside the country, it is established in more than 3,000 cities, towns, and villages.
During these 135 years, the Baha’is of Iran have been subjected to all types of false allegations, persecution, and discrimination and have offered up more than 25,000 martyrs. They have been under continuous pressure, and contrary to religious and legal principles, subjected to various injustices by previous regimes in the social, employment-related, educational, and work-related arenas. One such instance occurred on 18 Dey 1357 [8 January 1979] in Eslamabad-e Gharb. As you are aware, in this incident a group of opportunistic individuals took advantage of the situation and, contrary to the teachings of the sacred religion of Islam, went on to destroy, set fire to and pillage the shops of a number of Baha’is, who subsequently lost everything they had, causing their small and innocent children to become refugees from their homes. At the moment, these merchants are not even able to collect the monies they are owed.
It is necessary to mention that the Baha’is believe in the truth of all Messengers and Prophets and respect and revere the heavenly Books of all divine religions. Among all of the religions in the world, the Baha’i Faith is the only religion that accepts the sacred religion of Islam and believes in the station of the Seal of the Prophets and the pure Imams. Acceptance of the truth of Islam and the verities of the sacred Quran is a prerequisite for being a Baha’i. This community does not interfere in internal and external political affairs under any circumstances and is not connected with foreign governments or alien, anti-homeland, or Zionist regimes and has no relationship with them. The attention paid by the Baha’is to Akka and Haifa is solely because those are the burial places of Baha’u’llah, the Bab, and Abdu’l-Baha. Of course, this did not happen based on the wishes and desire of the Baha’is. It has happened because the government of the time wanted it to be so. [The government] exiled Baha’u’llah from his homeland to Baghdad and then from there, with the collaboration of the Ottoman government, to Istanbul and Adrianople [Edirne], and then ultimately to Akka. They continued in this manner for such a long time that after forty years he passed away in Akka and was buried in that city. Abdu’l-Baha, who lived with his father throughout these forty years, passed away in Haifa after many years and was laid to rest there. Also, the Bab, who was executed in Tabriz by the order of the government of Iran, and whose remains were hidden for fifty years for fear of the actions of the people and the government, were finally taken to the residence of Abdu’l-Baha in Haifa and buried in that place.
Thus, we can see clearly how Akka and Haifa became the resting places of the bodies of the leaders of the Baha’i Faith. This happened as a result of the actions of the Iranian government and at the orders of the Ottoman Caliphate and their insistence and compulsion. At that time, Akka and Haifa were part of the Shaam territories, which were under the jurisdiction of the Ottoman Islamic Caliphate. At the end of Abdu’l-Baha’s life, following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, that area became a part of Palestine, and after more than half a century following the passing of Abdul-Baha, it became a part of the country that took up the name of Israel. The Christians view that land as sacred because it is the place where the birth, ministry, and heavenly ascension of Christ took place. The Muslims of the world hold that land dear because the Aqsa Mosque, which is the first point of adoration for Muslims and the path of Mohammad Mustapha (peace be upon Him) in his Mi‘raj [the Prophet’s nocturnal journey] to the heavens. Also, the Baha’is turn their attention to that land because it is the burial place of Baha’u’llah, the Bab, and Abdu’l-Baha.
Of course, it would not be fair to consider the Christians or the Muslims or the Baha’is to be connected with the government of Israel based on their religious and spiritual attachment to that land. The honourable city of Najaf is the burial place of Imam Ali ibn Talib (greetings and praise be upon him). If this beloved religious city is for this reason also the religious and scholarly centre of the Shia believers, there is no reason to fear—and no one has such audacity as to consider the existence of this centre to be evidence of—a political connection between the Iranian Shias and the government of Iraq.
Baha’is never interfere in political affairs and do not accept political positions, such as being a minister, ambassador, or congressional representative, because they would have to choose between their religion and taking up any of the aforementioned positions. They leave the political decision-making regarding the policies of the country to the government and accept their duty in carrying out the decisions that are turned into law. They undertake the service of carrying out executive administrative actions with trustworthiness and sincerity and consider membership in political parties to be against their belief in the Baha’i Faith. This means that they treat all parties, whether in agreement with them or against them and whether left-wing or right-wing, in the same way. For example, the Baha’is were forbidden from joining the Rastakhiz Party, which, until one year ago, was the only accepted political creed by the government of the time at the height of its power, and no Baha’i person became a member of that party. They have always been obedient to the laws of the country, are duty bound to serve their country and people with trustworthiness, and strive to elevate, advance, and develop the country.
In view of our attention and trust in the government of the Islamic justice that is now dawning, this community is hopeful that you will take action to stop the dangers that threaten this community so that the people of this community will be able to continue their sincere service to humanity. The Baha’is, after the One God, truly have no other protector and refuge except the authorities in charge. We hope that, in view of the lofty goal of unity of word and of the people, which is the wish of the esteemed leader of the Revolution of the people of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Imam Khomeini, and the illustrious government of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, we will be able to attain to equality of rights with our fellow citizens in every arena.
With expressions of respect,
On behalf of the Baha’i Community of Eslamabad-e Gharb
[Handwritten note on top of page one]
2- Hojatoleslam Seyyed Ali Beheshti
3- Islamic Revolution Committee of Eslamabad-e Gharb
(Situation of in Eslamabad-e Gharb) (Shahabad-e Gharb)