[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[Official Letterhead of the Assemblies of the Baha’is of Sanandaj]
Date: 7 Ilm 136 Baha’i Era, 30 Mehr 1358 [22 October 1979]
The Honourable Governor of Kordestan Province
The Baha’i community of Sanandaj deems it an historic duty to convey the following.
Those who notice and investigate issues in a just manner and with the eye of wisdom, and with a heart free from prejudice, are aware that every person, as a human being (created in the image and likeness of God), has the right to be protected by society and have freedom of belief, conscience, and religion. No one can be coerced to renounce a religion or belief through compulsion or force. The sacred verse, “There is no compulsion in religion. . .” enforces and affirms this principle. Just as a person’s house must be protected from infringement, so must the places belonging to different religions and faiths be unequivocally considered sacred and protected from any intrusion. The Baha’is believe in the Eternal Unknowable Essence, they all consider the sacred religion of Islam to be from God, the sacred Quran to be the Word of God, and Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon Him) to be the Messenger of God. In addition, they believe in the truth of all Prophets and Messengers of God and the immortality of the human soul and reward and punishment in the next world. History is witness to the fact that they have offered thousands as martyrs in the path of spiritual brotherhood, equality, unity, freedom, peace, and revitalization of spiritual and moral ideals for humanity. Based on their clear teachings, they consider attachment to any deleterious influences as being contrary to the sacred spirit of their religion, and in order to attain to their sacred goals—namely peace and unity—they recognize love, friendship, and the raising of awareness as the most effective path. They avoid any issues that may create conflict, separation, hypocrisy, deception, or resentment. One of the clear teachings, for example, that has been emphasized in the scriptures and books of this Faith is as follows:
“Beware lest ye harm any soul or make any heart to sorrow; lest ye wound any man with your words, be he known to you or a stranger, be he friend or foe. Pray ye for all; ask ye that all be blessed, all be forgiven. Beware, beware, lest any of you seek vengeance, even against one who is thirsting for your blood. Beware, beware, lest ye offend the feelings of another, even though he be an evildoer, and he wish you ill. Look ye not upon the creatures, turn ye to their Creator. See ye not the never-yielding people, see but the Lord of Hosts. Gaze ye not down upon the dust, gaze upward at the shining sun, which hath caused every patch of darksome earth to glow with light.”
Our intent in making the above statements is not to try to prove or expound on our beliefs. Rather, our purpose is to state the following. We, the Baha’is of Sanandaj, prepared a place in this city, paid for by individual Baha’is, to be used for saying prayers and praising God; to ask for honour, happiness, forgiveness, and bounties to be showered upon humanity; and to promote the Oneness of God, unity, oneness, and love for all. [Illegible] Given the current situation in the country, even these things have not been carried out yet, and the building has only served as a residence for a working Baha’i family.
On 28 Mehr 1358 [20 October 1979], this place was impounded and placed under the control of the Pasdaran. What have we Baha’is done that could lead to such treatment? The Baha’is of the world, who live in more than 102,000 localities, have fixed their expectant eyes upon action by the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As far as we are aware, in our own inner and outer being we are Iranians. We love our country and faithfully obey the orders of the government. We participate in developing and serving our beloved homeland. Now that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has attained the honour of being associated with the name of Islam, and you as the representative of such a government are entrusted with carrying out your duties in the Province of Kordestan, we beseech you to take appropriate and necessary action to vindicate us and put a stop to the assault on the rights of this community. Please inform us of the results.
With expressions of respect – The Baha’i Community of Sandandaj
[Handwritten note on the bottom of the page]
Office – Information about the circumstance of the possession [illegible] of the Baha’i Community be obtained from [illegible] – Governor [illegible]
[Handwritten note on top of the page]
12 Aban 1358 [3 November 1979]