[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:] The Iranian
[Date:] 18 September 2007
Justification for Iranian Apartheid
In this article we will briefly review the recent remarks made by Mr. Mohammad-Javad [Larijani], Chief of Staff of the Judiciary on the issue of Baha’is in Iran.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, Chief of Staff of the Human Rights, said, “The policy adopted by the Islamic Republic regarding the Baha’is is a correct strategy.”
Mohammad Javad Larijani, Chief of Staff of the Human Rights, in an interview with a reporter of Khane Mellat [Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA)], said, “The Baha’i sect was established with claims of special respect for all religions, especially Islam, an emphasis on friendship, kindness and non-violence even towards those who persecute and steal from the people of this land (i.e., they propagated a kind of passivity and detachment) and promote removal of women’s Hijab (veil) and freedom for multiple sexual relationships.”
It is not hidden from discerning readers that the Baha’i Faith is not a sect. Employing the term ‘sect’ [instead of Religion] for an independent religion like the Baha’i Faith is factually incorrect. Let us start using the keywords correctly and professionally. The Baha’i Faith is an independent religion with its own beliefs and principles, has its own independent book and teachings, and in no way can be considered a sect of any other religious movement. In terms of geographical spread, the Baha’i Faith is the second largest religion in the world. ... We, Baha’is, based on our beliefs, hope that no one will infringe on the rights of the Usuli Shiite sect in Iranian civil society, merely by it being a sect.
Mr. Larijani, if it is not too much trouble, please provide evidence to the scholars and experts and readers of the Internet, of the time and in what circumstances the Baha’is have showed friendship, kindness and non-harshness to those who attack the lives and property of the people of this land? And when and where have Baha’i women acted freely in sexual relations? …
On the issue of the uncovering of the hijab, of course, the Babis and Baha’is were among the pioneers of women’s liberation and the social and political status of women. And the great and honourable women such as Tahereh “Qurratu’l-Ayn” appeared from the same historical context. Of course, this promotion of women’s liberation and equality for half of human society, is considered a great honour for the Baha’i community. The solution offered in the Baha’i faith is the liberation of women whereas the actions of the far-right extremists, is the exponential increase in prostitution and addiction in Iran. Mr. Larijani which solution do you think is best for the pride of Iran and Iranians?
… Many thanks to Mr. Larijani who is raising important issues through his special understanding. It turns out that the Islamic regime believes that they had dealt with the Baha’is on the basis of citizenship rights. It is necessary to point out that the Baha’is of Iran have been deprived of all that we would call basic rights.
To claim that Baha’is living in Iran’s religious apartheid ruling regime, have enjoyed ‘basic rights’…such as employment security for life, education, property, marriage etc. …” can only come from someone who must have spent the past 27 years asleep or in denial of the facts on purpose. What constitutes the necessary and sufficient conditions for citizenship rights? It should be asked that, which job security are you talking about?
Since the beginning of the revolution, there was no job security for the tens of thousands of innocent Baha’is who were fired from government jobs and purged, and whose pensions were cut off easily and simply.
Baha’i students in schools and universities who have been expelled and deprived of their right to education solely because of their religious beliefs, and the Baha’i youth who for more than two generations, have been barred from taking the national entrance exams and entering university, do not find anything but attempts of demagoguery and meaningless slogans in your words. Was it the Islamic Republic who deprived two generations of Baha’i youth of their education? So where are the basic rights and citizenship rights of the Baha’is?
I will not dwell on the issue, but what right to life did the thousands of people you arrested, imprisoned, and tortured unjustly and only because they were Baha’is enjoy? From which authority in the Islamic regime should those hundreds of people, whom you have executed for their religious beliefs, seek the help and justice that they have not found
I should add that according to the basic principles of human rights and the international treaties signed and adhered to by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the right to religious beliefs and practices is the inalienable right of the Baha’is and does not depend on the consent of far-right, short-sighted, anti-Baha’i, minority groups. This is both a God-given right and in accordance with the most progressive opinions of the world’s intellectuals. Presence in the arena of civil society and participating in Iranian social and intellectual discourses and introducing and presenting Baha’i teachings is not only the inalienable right of Baha’is but also their special mission and this is a right that cannot be blocked. Allow me to explain it further and with more transparency. An open, free and pluralistic society in Iran would not be possible without the active presence of the Baha’i community. The government and people of Iran have benefited from the presence of the Baha’i Faith and its teachings in conversations whenever the Baha’i community has entered the current discourses. However, the institutions of wealth, power and religious apartheid, do not like it.
I would like to present an example from the Qajar era. Everyone agrees regarding the suffocation and decline of the Nasserite era. In the Nasserite era, Baha’u’llah, the prolific son of Iran, presented new teachings to Iran and the world. One of his teachings is the necessity of a parliamentary democracy, and Baha’u’llah is the first Iranian who spoke about holding general, free and democratic elections. As in line with the common Iranian habit of eliminating dissidents, he was imprisoned, beaten and exiled and thousands of his followers were killed, because of his noble teachings. But according to his mission, he did not give up his promotion of human development and civilization-building. He passed away after forty years of banishment and imprisonment. In His holy book, Kitab-i-Aqdas, he predicted the constitution and parliamentary democracy system in Iran (forty years before the constitution) and as testified by history, the main protagonists of the Constitution’s activists and intellectuals were of Babi and Baha’i background. Terms such as parliament, lawyer, and revolution, which he had first coined, had entered the political debate of the day and were officially used. It is important to note that to the extent in which the Baha’i teachings influenced the historical process, they were to the benefit of the Iranian government and people and to the detriment of tyranny and oppressive powers. The constitution failed from the moment it distanced itself from the Baha’i teachings. Baha’u’llah had taught that elections should be public and for everyone, but in the constitutional elections only certain guilds and upper class were given the right to vote. Women were disenfranchised because your perception of their freedom and presence in the intellectual and political spheres are so disturbing to you. This is contrary to Baha’u’llah’s teachings. Thus, in the end, constitutionalism failed.
Whenever the Baha’i Teachings were introduced into the Iranian intellectual and social sphere, they were creative and progressive elements, and their presence was beneficial to Iran. However, to stop the Baha’i Faith, the far right does not renounce any heinous or immoral crime.
… Baha’u’llah has taught that the purest form of service to fellow human beings is the service that is only for the benefit of fellow human beings and not for reward and appreciation. This is the manner and the way the Baha’is serve Iran and the Iranians.
It merits the regime of the Islamic Republic to respect this behavior and effort and to stop discriminating and pressuring the Baha’is. Achieving a bright future for Iran requires recognizing the Baha’i Faith so that Iranian civil society can benefit from the presence of new ideas.
He [Mr. Larijani] has noted, “In my opinion the political sect no longer has the necessary influence or efficiency, not only for today but also tomorrow’s generation of the Iranian people, but also, it has lost its appeal to the Baha’is. Therefore, if we do not pay attention to this sect, it will gradually disappear.”
If the Baha’i Faith did not have the necessary influence, efficiency, and capability to rebuild and develop Iran, the far right and short-sighted religious people would not have felt the need to increasingly resort to false propaganda against the Baha’i Faith by establishing websites and media outlets and the Islamic regime also would have stopped harassing the Baha’is and secretly monitoring and spying on them.
Dear compatriots, you must be aware that last year an important and secret order regarding surveillance of all Baha’i activities was issued by the General Staff of the Armed Forces to all law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Republic. …
Thus, Baha’i opponents therefore have no choice but to increase pressure on Baha’is and resort to all sorts of deceits to spread lies about Baha’is and desperately continue these and other anti-human rights activities.