[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:] Iranwire

[Date:] 28 Khordad 1393 [18 June 2014]


ISIL, Hamas, Kayhan and Abu Mazen Baha’i

Mihman [Guest] Blog

According to Al-Arabiya, in a video posted on some jihadi websites, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as Da’ish[1] said, “Palestine is an occupied country with a pre-Islamic era constitution. Islam seeks relief from it, while Mahmoud Abbas, a Baha’i, is a mercenary infidel who rules there.”

Earlier, the Tehran-based Kayhan Newspaper claimed that Mahmoud Abbas-Abu Mazen, the imposed and illegitimate leader of the Fatah Movement, was a Baha’i of Iranian background, descendant of Abbas Effendi. His family had migrated to Haifa in occupied Palestine a few decades earlier, during the reign of Naser al-Din Shah, following the defeat of the Babi sedition. Zionist officials view Mahmoud Abbas as a friend because the Baha’i sect, in the words of the late Imam and according to available documents, is a Zionist party.”

Yasser Arafat initially resisted international pressure to appoint Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, but he eventually agreed in 2003. Shortly afterwards, as the dispute between Arafat and Abu Mazen continued, Arafat’s public relations officials accused Mahmoud Abbas of being an influential figure in the West and Israel and of being of Iranian-Baha’i descent. Two years earlier, the former director general of the Mossad, Shabatai Shavit, had told the Yedioth Ahronoth Newspaper that Abu Mazen had no chance of succeeding Arafat because he “belongs to the Baha’i community.” According to Shavit, if Israel ousted Arafat, Abu Mazen could not succeed him, and the question of Palestine would gradually be removed from world public opinion because it was not possible for a Baha’i to become the leader of the Palestinians. It did not take long for some Israeli journalists to realize the [falsity] of Shavit’s claims and found that he was merely repeating a rumour spread by Hamas to discredit one of the architects of the Oslo Accords.

Mahmoud Abbas tried hard to disprove the accusation and even went on Hajj to prove that he was a Muslim and not a Baha’i, but this rumour was widely reported in the Arabic-language media and continues to be quoted from time to time. Two years before Arafat’s death, after Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a group of young Palestinians distributed night flyers claiming that all of Abu Mazen’s efforts to bring peace to the Middle East would only benefit Israel and the West because he was not a Muslim but a Baha’i.

The fact is that Mahmoud Abbas is a Palestinian Sunni Arab whose family lived for generations in the City of Safed in Jalaliyah, long before Baha’u’llah was exiled to Acre in the second half of the nineteenth century as a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. The Abbas family, like many Palestinians, fled to neighbouring countries during the 1948 war and went to Syria.

Mahmoud Abbas studied in Syria, Egypt and the Soviet Union and had no connection to the Baha’i community. Although Abbas is a common name among Iranians, and Baha’u’llah’s eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha, was also called Abbas, unlike Mahmud Abbas, his surname was not Abbas; only his [first] name was Abbas and he was known as Abbas Effendi. Furthermore, Abdu’l-Baha had no sons, and even if his surname had been Abbas, which it was not, the surname would not have been passed on through his daughters.

Moreover, not only do Baha’is abstain from political activities altogether, but also Shoghi Effendi, the leader of the international Baha’i community from 1921 to 1957, strictly forbade the permanent residence of Baha’is in the land of Israel, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The ban is so strict that if a resident wants to become a Baha’i, he/she must first emigrate from the area and settle outside the [territory between the] Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Only about 700 Baha’is temporarily live in Israel, most of them volunteering for one- to five-year terms at the Baha’i International Community’s administrative and spiritual centre before returning to their home countries. In other words, none of the Baha’is are citizens of Israel, and are only volunteers at the Baha’i World Centre, or go to Haifa and Acre for three or nine days of pilgrimage.

Anxiety or fear is one of the main components of rumours. As a general rule, the more a listener is afraid of a rumour, the more likely they are to tell it to others. As the rumour spreads, the fear of an imaginary threat spreads, a threat that must be addressed for its elimination. Repeating the rumour that Abu Mazen is a Baha’i, Iranian and Arab fighters behind the scenes of other “phobia” dramas help to fan the flames of the Baha’i persecution campaign in Tehran and prepare to eliminate their political rivals in Gaza.

The author’s views do not necessarily reflect the views of Iranwire. In the blog section, Iranwire welcomes the publication of all views.


[1] [Da‘ish:  ISIS, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria]