[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[Publication:] Akhbar-e Amri [Baha’i News]
[Date:] Bahman 1326 [January/February 1948]
[Issue No.:] 10
The text of the letter submitted to the Ministry of Culture regarding the polemic books and publications about the [the Baha’i Faith] and the lack of freedom for Baha’i publications.
Date: 17 Sultan 104
Coinciding with 14 Bahman 1326 [4 February 1948]
Dr. Ali-Akbar Siassi, esteemed Minister of Culture
With utmost respect, we convey the following:
As Your Highness is aware, freedom of the press has been granted to the minorities in all the civilized countries around the globe, and the Baha’is have also partaken of the right to the freedom of the press in all advanced nations of the world, even in Islamic countries, such as Egypt. However, regrettably, in our dear and beloved Iran, despite the fact that the number of Baha’is is larger than all other religious minorities, they are deprived of this basic right. Baha’i books and publications that are published outside of Iran, and are mailed under the names of individuals in accordance with postal standards, are often confiscated at the border and are even, at times, set on fire with special ceremonies. Yet, the opponents of the Baha’i Faith continue to insult and revile that which Baha’is hold sacred and continue to slander them with false accusations to their hearts’ content, with boundless freedom. Some of the writers, without the slightest hindrance, declare Baha’is mahduru’d-dam [a person who deserves to be killed and his blood can be shed without any fear of punishment] and consider that the taking of their lives and property by Muslims is lawful on the basis of religious law. With their repeated statements, they excite the hostility of the fanatics. There is no doubt that the recent painful incidents which have placed the lives and property of a group of Baha’is in dire danger, with one person even being martyred in Sarvestan, have had a direct link to these propagandistic incitements. This Assembly, on behalf of all of the Baha’is of Iran, beseeches Your Highness, as one of the intellectual, open-minded and erudite men of this sacred country, to [undertake the following]:
First: In order to prevent the publication of books, articles, and statements that are full of abusive language and profanities and rooted in violation and assault on the station of individuals and groups, and even the honour, reputation, and sacred beliefs of the Baha’is—with reliance upon the unequivocal text of Articles 34, 37, 38, 39, 46, 47, and 48 of the Press Law and section (D) of the chapter (Duties) of the Office of Publications—please issue strict cease and desist orders. As you are fully aware, the press office, under the publications department of the Ministry of Culture, is responsible for supervising the execution of the aforementioned law and investigating and prosecuting in a competent court the publisher and distributor of any book, article, magazine, or newspaper that attacks the honour, reputation, and credibility of individuals or groups or belittles or diminishes their status and publishes profanities and obscene words. Given that the principles of justice and equity promoted by the imperial government and the relevant democratic standards have received so much attention and have become the foundations for the Atlantic Charter, which has also been signed and approved by the government and parliament of Iran, the proper execution of the law and prevention of written attacks, slander and insult by one group against another is required.
Second: Please issue firm orders not to prevent the Baha’i books and articles—the contents of which are truly aimed at promoting human morality and nobility and affirming all prophets and messengers of God—from entering the country from abroad, and not to interpret the press law in the opposite manner. As Your Highness is fully aware, nowhere in the Constitution or the press law is there any reference, whether implicit or explicit, to confiscation or to setting fire to any books and articles with moral and religious contents that affirm the oneness of God and the truth of the divine messengers.
Third: Allow the Baha’i books and articles to be published freely, as is the case with other publications in the country, since the press law clearly states, “In accordance with Article 20 of the Constitution, all publications, with the exception of perverse books and contents that are harmful to the sacred religion, are free, and discrimination against them is prohibited…”
It is obviously clear to your erudite highness that such an exemption will not apply to Baha’i publications, because Baha’i books and articles neither lead people astray nor harm the sacred religion of Islam. In all of the Baha’i scriptures you will not find one word or letter against Islam or anything that can cause people to go astray from the path of morality and religion. In fact, it is quite the opposite; the Baha’i writings uphold the oneness of God and the truth of the divine messengers and promote goodly deeds and praiseworthy manners and human perfections and virtues. If your enlightened highness were to take a glance at the Baha’i books, albeit briefly, you would immediately affirm this point. Therefore, we beseech Your Highness to take action regarding the three above-mentioned requests; namely, preventing vulgar publications, discontinuing the prohibition of entry of Baha’i books into Iran, and granting freedom to Baha’i publications―all three of which conform with the Constitution and the press law―and in so doing, receive the gratitude and appreciation of this Assembly and all of the Baha’is of Iran. Perchance, God-willing, in the course of Your Highness’s ministry, this injustice against a large number of the servants of the monarchy will be alleviated and equality of rights for all Iranians under the law, which is based on the Constitution of our beloved Iran, will be truly realized.
With expressions of respect,
Chairperson of the Assembly
Secretary of the Assembly