[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]

 

[Adapted from website:] Gooya News

[Date:] 9 Mordad 1392 [31 July 2013]

 

Shutting Down of the Baha’i Schools; A Page From the History of Iran,

N. Baharan

On Thursday, 15 Azar 1313 [6 December 1934], which coincided with the day of the martyrdom of His Holiness the Bab, the then director of the Kashan School of Vahdat-e Bashar, Mr. Abbas Mahmoudi, closed the school. The Kashan Education Department asked the reason; Mr. Mahmoudi gave the reason in writing. The school was closed and police interrogated Mr. Mahmoudi. The text of the interrogation is quoted by him in the book, Masabih Hedayat, Volume 9, pp. 334-338:

Q: What is your name?

A: Abbas.

Q: Father’s name?

A: Mirza Mahmoud.

Q: Where are you from?

A: Vadeghan; resident of Kashan.

Q: Which neighbourhood?

A: Sarpelleh neighbourhood.

Q: To what government do you belong?

A: Subordinate of the eminent government Iran.

Q: What is your job?

A: I was the director of the School of Vahdat-e Bashar.

Q: How old are you?

A: I was born in 1275 [1896/1897].

Q: What is your religion?

A: I am a Baha’i.

Q: The Baha’i belief is not official and the government does not recognize or accept it as official. The official religions of the government are Islam, [Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism].

A: Religion is a matter of conscience and is not something that the government officially recognizes or does not recognize. The government has not manifested religions and beliefs. The legislators of religions are divine prophets and holy manifestations, and the government also believes in one of the divine religions―that is, it is in the shadow of religion; religion is not in the shadow of the government, and individuals are free to practice their religion.

Q: Did you write this letter to the Department of Education?

A: This is a copy of the letter I wrote on behalf of the school.

Q: Is this your own signature?

A: Yes, it is my signature.

Q: You did not have the right to introduce yourself as a Baha’i in response to the official government office and to mention the Baha’i name and state that there are nine Baha’i holy days in the year.

A: Because the Baha’i does not lie and is obedient to his own government, and the administration has questioned the school, the same truth has been written.

Q: You had no right to write.

A: We have written; whatever the law implies, you should apply it to me.

The dossier was written, signed and closed in this way, and then the head of security began to say that the holy religion of Islam is as bright as the sun, people leave it and get themselves into trouble.

I said, “Mr. Manager, you said that the religion of Islam is as bright as the sun; there is no doubt about it and the Baha’is do not deny Islam, but they are the promoters of Islam, and because over time the laws of Islam have disappeared and the people have become corrupt, so God Almighty, who is the creator of religions, renewed the religion and revealed the Baha’i Faith, and the people were saved from affliction and confinement.”

The security manager said, “Now you are a true Baha’i, but I cannot accept that you call yourself a Baha’i for leadership and politics or when you want to deceive a group of people.

This servant said, “I swear to you, I am a Baha’i servant, and I do not know what politics and leadership are. In the holy religion of the Baha’i Faith, there is no such thing as leadership or directorship. All are brothers and equal, and whoever enters politics must leave the Baha’i Faith.”

The security chief said, “How many years have you been a Baha’i?”

This servant said, “It has been ninety-one years since the Baha’i Faith appeared, and since that date my ancestors accepted it, and I was born Baha’i. But I myself have thoroughly researched and accepted it, and I am ready to prove to anyone the truth of the Baha’i Cause.”

The head of security said, “These are all fantasies. Two or three people speak about childish matters. I will bet if I bring each one of them, they will deny their belief.”

This servant said, “You think that it is a childish matter because you are uninformed. 20,000 Baha’is have been martyred and not even one of them has recanted their faith. If you bring one of the least important Baha’is and set all the forces of the state against him to [force him to] deny his opinion, he will not deny it, because today he is commissioned to express his belief, and if he denies, he is not a Baha’i, and the Baha’is will expel him from the Baha’i Faith.”

The security chief said, “Now I am convinced that you are a real Baha’i because it is clear from your words that it is not fabricated. Now that you have been arrested, go to the detention section.”

This servant went to the mentioned section. The chief of staff complimented him and consoled him, saying, “It does not matter, do not worry.”

I said, “I am full of joy and happiness, because my confinement is in the way of God, truth and religion; it is not based on error, crime or criminality. All the great men of the world have been detained, imprisoned and finally martyred for their religious beliefs. This same is my honour and pride.”

Finally, one hour before noon on Thursday, 22 Azar 1313 [13 December 1934], corresponding to 2 Masail, 91 B.E., I was detained and kept in the police station till the evening of Saturday, 24 Azar [15 December 1934], for a total of 54 hours, with full joy and happiness. During this time, talks were held with most of the police officers and constables. Dinner and lunch were sent from home. On the last day, they brought Dr. Soleiman Berjis and Mr. Mousa Yousefian to the police station and kept them for a few hours and then released them.

Finally, Baha’i schools in Iran were shut down that year.