[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:] Pishine

[Date:] 20 Esfand 1391 [10 March 2013]

 

Hojjatieh Society In An Unpublished Interview With the Late Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Rouzati

Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Rouzati, a famous contemporary historian and documentarian, spent most of his life researching, correcting, and compiling indexes for some important sources…

The Hojjatieh Society is a religious organization. In your opinion, to what extent did this organization use the pulpit media to advance its goals?

At some point in history, the Baha’is came to power in Iran. The propaganda apparatus of the clergy, both inside and outside the seminary, thought of responding to this deviant cult. At this time, the pulpit also had its own special position; due to its general popularity, it was used by many groups, including the Hojjatieh Society. [The Hojjatieh Society’s leader] insisted on holding propaganda meetings in areas inhabited by Baha’is. Of course, at that time there was a suspicion that some of the gentlemen of the pulpit were affiliated with the [royal] court and had associations with Mohammad Reza (the shah). The reason for this suspicion was that generally in these [Hojjatieh] meetings, they were not criticizing the government and would only attack and criticize the Baha’is. The pulpits of Sheikh Mahmoud Halabi in Mashhad are very famous for spreading doubts about the beliefs of the Baha’is. One of the serious objections to the Hojjatieh [Society] was the escalation of religious differences between Shiites and Sunnis.

They raised the tensions and highlighted them, even acting in the manner of Shiite exaggerators, and exaggerated inappropriately the station of Imam Ali (PBUH). At one point, the Hojjatieh Society seemed to have abandoned the campaign against the Baha’is and replaced them with Sunnis.

Apparently, there was cooperation between the Society and the shah on the issue of the Baha’i Faith. Some believe that there were security links between them and that the Society diverted the young militant force from the struggle against the regime and led them to confront the Baha’is.

What was the Society’s relationship with the shah?

The Society insisted that a consensus be reached on the struggle against the Baha’is and that the adventurous power of the youth be used in this direction. In fact, this is the principle and the rest are sub-principle. SAVAK allowed the anti-Baha’i activities of the Hojjatieh Society’s organizations and provided overt and covert assistance in this regard. The coordination of the leaders of the Society with the regime in the direction of confronting the Baha’is, was honuored by people like Sheikh Mahmoud Halabi.

Did the Hojjatieh Society believe in the separation of religion from politics?

Sheikh Mahmoud Halabi and his followers were well involved in the nationalization of the oil industry before confronting the Baha’is, and supported Ayatollah Kashani. They showed that they could play an active role in the community, but this presence of the sheikh’s [Halabi] followers did not last long.