[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:] Raja News

[Date:] 14 Tir 1390 [5 July 2011]


Shirin Ebadi’s Lecture Among the Baha’is and Commendation of “Lahiji”

According to Fars [News Agency] quoting Toronto magazine, on Friday, 1 July, the conference of “The Fighting the Dissidents [heretics] and Baha’i Persecution in Iran” was held at the Elizabeth [Isabel] Bader Theatre and by welcoming words of Professor Linda Northrup, the Head of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, at the University of Toronto, started its work. Northrup said in the opening remarks of the conference that the Institute of Iranian Studies of the University of Toronto is an academic leader in North America and then introduced Mohammad Tavakkoli, the Iranian professor of this university.

Tavakkoli, along with Dr. Abbas Amanat and Dr. Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, formed the opening panel and the historical perspective. Tavakkoli gave the opening speech on “Anti-Baha’ism and Islamism from A Historical Perspective”, using the “Babi” and “Baha’i” models. He noted the shift in anti-Baha’i discourse from a religious discourse to a political discourse over the years.

Tavakkoli traced the roots of anti-Baha’i history to the conclusion that, in the end, sadism and xenophobia must become other kinship other friendliness, which is the key to the success of a healthy society.

Ahmad Karimi was the last speaker of the panel, who described the process of destruction as a form of harassment of others and examined it in the context of sending message to the weaker and subordinate [groups]. Examples from, a village in Mazandaran to, the centre of Baha’i worship in Tehran (Haziratu’l-Quds in 1955 with instigations of Falsafi) to the confiscation of Misaghieh Hospital in Tehran in 1979 were shown to the audience.

Hakkak described the destruction of Baha’i and Babi buildings as similar to recent historical events, such as the Taliban bombarding the [temple of] Sumatra, the destruction of the Mumbai mosque by Hindus, and the destruction of Palestinian Arab homes in Israeli-occupied territories. These destruction carries a dual message, such as the rape of war prisoners, which is considered to be supra-military superiority and for complete domination.

The first part ended without questions and answers. Dr. Tavakkoli asked the audience, which numbered more than 300, to go to the Victoria Building (adjacent to the theatre) to pay their respects to Dr. Abdul Karim Lahiji (the lawyer and human rights activist). In this episode, Shirin Ebadi, through a teleconference, praised the good tradition that has recently become common among Iranians to honor people, and by calling Lahiji, ustad [a professor], recounted the history of his struggles for human rights, which led to his emigration and the confiscation of his property in Iran and thanked him. Mansour Farhang also commended Lahiji.

The first panel, entitled “Rejection of the Invitation and the Promised Land”, began with the participation of “Mohammad Afnan” (the researcher) under the title “The Gradual Steps of the Bab’s Invitation” and chaired by “Martha Sismid J. Boa” from the University of Toronto.

Then Behrouz Jabbari, a researcher with a special interest in poetry and humor, spoke about the Baha’is service to Persian poetry. The last speaker, Dr. Kamran Iqbal from Ruhr University, gave a lecture entitled, “Abdu’l-Baha’s Attitude Toward Jewish Migration to Palestine”.

The title of next panel was the Sexual Modernity, chaired by Rivanne Sandler of the University of Toronto. Farzaneh Milani of the University of Virginia described the role played by Tahereh, as the First Baha’i Woman.

Negar Mottahedeh from Duke University spoke about Kashaneh, The future of the Babis and the Baha’is and the Photography in the 19th century. And the last speaker was Siamak Zabihi Moghaddam from Haifa University, who spoke about the “The Baha’i Faith and the Iranian Woman”.