[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:] Mohsen Kadivar
[Date:] 5 Shahrivar 1390 [27 August 2011]
Oppression of the Baha’is
Questions and Answers / Religions and Beliefs / Oppression of Baha’is
Question: Do you think the Baha’is deserve all the crimes and oppressions that have been committed against them in Iran over the last century and a half? Do the Iranian people take responsibility by remaining silent about things that have been done wrongly against the innocent part of their society? Or are you only saddened by the oppression and crimes committed against the Shias? How do you deal with the destruction of your cemeteries, your children being deprived of education, and the unjust imprisonment of thousands of your fellow believers with irrational punishments? Not responding is interpreted as hypocrisy.
Answer: In the winter of 1394 [2015/2016], in response to similar questions, I commented explicitly and transparently in cyberspace. This answer has been published for the second time on page 163 of the book “Haqq al-Nass, Islam and Human Rights (Tehran 1387 [2008/2009])”. Muslims (and not just Shias) agree, with no contradiction amongst them, that Islam is the last religion of God and Muhammad ibn Abdullah (PBUH) is the last Messenger of God. The religious belief that violates this basic teaching of Islam from the point of view of Muslims is invalid, ungodly and erroneous. In addition, the mentioned religion contradicts the Shia belief in the issue of Mahdism and some historians consider the formation of this religion to be a political matter, [that its purpose is] to fight against the independence of Iran. Baha’is also consider it obligatory to express their religion.
But [there are basic rights for] every human being. Religion, belief, gender, race, colour, political position, and … do not interfere with the enjoyment of these basic rights. Every Iranian has citizenship rights, whether Muslim (Shia and Sunni), People of the Book (Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish), as well as atheists, or believers in other religions (including Baha’ism). Deprivation of the basic rights and citizenship of every Iranian, including the Baha’is, is rejected. Oppression and crime [against all people], including them, are condemned. Baha’is, like other Iranians, have the right to study, work, and enjoy the protection of the law and a fair trial. It is against the Sharia law to destroy a cemetery because the dead did not have the correct belief. Violators of the citizenship rights of individuals (due to religious or political beliefs, including the Baha’is) have been acting, and still do act, contrary to Islamic precepts.
If the enjoyment of divine blessings does not depend on faith and righteous deeds, how and for what valid reason and [with what] motive does the enjoyment of social rights become subject to belief in a particular religion or faith? Scientific critique and the presentation of evidence in religious and doctrinal issues, along with the observance of the basic rights of all, even those who are not religious, or who believe in false religion, mean tolerance and Islamic mercy. (Refer to violent and oppressive methods, whether past or present, against the Baha’is or against any other sect, rejected and condemned).
To get acquainted with the principles of freedom of belief and religion in Islam, see three introductory articles on the relationship between religion and the idea of tolerance and the limits of freedom in religion, in the book, “Concerns of Religious Government” (Tehran, Ney Publications, 1379 [2000/2001]), and the article, “Freedom of Belief and Religion in Islam”, and documents on human rights in the book, “Haqq al-Nass”.