[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Respected Ayatollah Pasandideh,
At this time, while the Baha’i community of Iran is caught in the grasp of oppression and cruelty from every side, with tumultuous winds of tyranny and enmity creating distress and agitation in the individual and social lives of the largest religious minority in the country, this oppressed and wronged community, trusting in the confirmations of the Almighty and with full assurance in the transcendent power of the Word of God, considers it its duty to once again, and in addition to what has been mentioned previously, bring to the attention of respected individuals such as yourself the reality of what has happened, and to call to attention the weighty responsibility that the authorities and the leaders of the people have in defending the oppressed and in eliminating and removing oppression and cruelty—may we all be oppressed rather than oppressors before the court of divine justice.
Baha’is believe in the oneness of Him Who is the invisible and unknowable Essence, in the station of the Prophets, and especially that of Prophet Muhammad, and the authenticity of the Holy Books and that of the Holy Quran; they are enjoined to follow piety and detachment, and warned against all attachment to worldly things and living as slaves to material greed and ambitions—they are forbidden to get involved in political matters and are obliged to sincerely obey the government.
Despite these obvious facts, the 137-year-long history of the Baha’i community in Iran is filled with cruelty and oppression. The mass killings and executions of the Qajar era, and the prohibitions and severe deprivations of basic human rights in the eras that followed, have constantly been inflicted upon this defenceless community, and are what have formed our history within the path of tyranny and brutality. Since the spiritual teachings and the praiseworthy conduct of the people of Baha could not be the cause for any attacks by the enemies, all kinds of baseless accusations and false allegations were brought against this community, which has never had a chance or opportunity to defend itself. These allegations have changed colour and form according to the social changes and chances of the times. For example, after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the topmost accusations repeatedly heaped [upon the community] were the charge of alliance with the previous regime and connection with the country in which the resting places of the Central Figures of the Faith are situated.
Honourable Ayatollah! Every fair-minded believer knows well that, in the same way that the presence of the multitudes of Muslims who worked at various levels in the previous regime does not stain the good name of the religion of God, likewise, the presence of one or two individuals among them who might have been affiliated with the Baha’i Faith would naturally not be a cause for allegations against the largest religious minority in this country. And that is not to mention that those were men who clearly declared their affiliation to Islam, but who, for the sake of supporting the allegations, are still [disparaged] as Baha’is. On the other hand, over a century ago, the blessed Founder of the Baha’i Faith was exiled, by the two tyrannical sultans of Persia and the Ottoman Empire, to the regions of Syria, a land that is now named differently under the present political geography of the world. But this simple historical fact has been made a lame excuse for the agents of cruelty and oppression, who, during the past 18 months, have confiscated all of the Baha’i Holy Places in this country, destroyed the sacred House of the Bab in Shiraz, seized the Baha’i fund and endowments, imprisoned many wronged Baha’is in Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz and Yazd, had thousands of honest Baha’i employees, both from civil and military work, dismissed from their jobs without any fault or failing, and creating distress for their families, and the storm of tyranny and cruelty is still blowing severely. Each day from the pulpits, Baha’is are charged with opposing the government, and the anger and hostility of the masses are provoked against them. The arrest of innocent Baha’is continues, and the dismissal of employees from offices increases.
Honourable Ayatollah! We Baha’is, while placing our full trust in God, stand firm and steadfast before these oppressions, and we testify, through our lives and beings, to the sanctity of the Baha’i Faith from all such false allegations and charges. Yet, we also believe that the men who are in charge of the affairs of the people are responsible before God. As such, we are submitting this letter to you, so that you may consider it with fairmindedness, and rule that which is according to justice and faith.
On behalf of the Baha’i Community of Iran
Dr. Hosein Naji