Baha'i News -- Letters [The Iranian]

Letters Part II

July 11, 2002

See Part I



* What WE have done against Bahais

Ref: [Heechee kam nadaaran]

I am not Bahai. That's why I started to know the faith in recent years . My first contact with Bahai was in high school as I found out that one of my close friends was Bahai. I can't even mention his name (for his safty). We knew about the faith from Shah-time but our knowledge wasn't so clear, only speculations about them. We knew later that they have been very successful in business, education, etc. So in the mind of average Iranian the success was related to cooperation with the system which was another fact of mistrust, but for us, the life of our friend was a sad reality.

We got all graduated from high school. Some went to university. Our friend couldn't even get to national exam(Konkoor). Some went to military service, but our friend was expelled because he might have made the holy service dirty(Najess). So you don't do the service, you are out of everything. You need it if you want to buy properties, you can't do any official and legal transactions, you can't even marry someone.

Our friend started his own unofficial business, running a chicken farm (Morghdari). It wasn't that bad. I didn't hear from him for long time. Months later he moved to Turkmen Sahara to live and work in a farm with his cousins, because a buyer(a Hajji Bazari) found out that he was Bahai and rejected to pay him. So he was ruined. He couldn't go to the court. He couldn't do anything in his OWN COUNTRY.

What makes me so sad even after so many years is that he never complained. We were always swearing at Mullahs, but he never said even a single word against them or anybody else. He was so loyal to his country and his religion. We left the country but he is still in Iran(as far as I know) working in his farm.

In the year 1364(1985), I worked as a student in summer for one the organizations of ministry of Culture and higher Education (Sazman e Sanjesh e Keshvar). Our duty was checking the received application forms for universities national-wide. In the application form, there was a section about religion. In that section you had a choice of selecting one of the recognized religions of the country(Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, ...) and of course no place for Bahai faith.

So Bahais had mentioned their religion beside the line and we were told to pick up those applications which were sent directly to Ministry of Information(secret police)!!! That's the meaning of equal rights in the eyes of Islamic Republic. Everybody is being mistreated these days in Iran (Christians, Jews, Soniis even Shiee clergy, women, gays, teenagers, etc...you name it!), but what WE (not the system or foreign powers, or...WE WE WE) have done against Bahais is a SHAME for ever.

Reza Izad



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* Until we recognize Bahaism

Dear Mr. Javid,

I read with interest your article [Heechee kam nadaaran] (which was forwarded to me by a friend) and I must say that I am impressed that a non-Bahai who seemingly has little knowledge of what that Faith is about would have such a fair and open mind regarding the intolerance of the Iranian government and people towards any ideology or religious belief which they know so little about.

I once heard an Iranian say (and by the way he was not a Bahai) that unless and until we, the Iranian people and government, recognize the Bahai Faith and it's followers, we cannot move forward. Meaning that the mere recognition that there is a religion whose roots stem from Iran and that this religion has followers in all corners of the globe, just that recognition alone will have advanced us from a closed minded and fanatical society to one that allows room for other ways of life.

This recognition does not mean that one agrees with or believes in an ideology or religion, however, it is symbolic of the maturity of a society.

Once again I want to reiterate how interesting I found your article and your thoughts.

Thank you,

Guilda Seradj



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* Secular Iranians place Bahais outside the fold

Dear Jahanshah,

Thank you for sticking your neck out and writing the article on how most secular modern Iranians treat Bahais as if something foregin to the nation [Heechee kam nadaaran].

As a historian, I just want to say that this problem goes all the way back to late-nineteenth century. When opponents of reform-minded modernists began to use the lable Babi as an "accusation" of bad faith against them, their defense was invariably "we are not Babis."

This kind of defense, inadvertently, confirms the unacceptability of a Babi being part of the modern nation. Negar Mottahedeh's Ph. D. dissertation has a wonderful discussion of this issue.

In the twentieth century, this process of locating the Babi and by then Bahais outside the fold of Iran continued. Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi has an article on this topic in an issue of Iran Nameh (I think Vol. 19, No. 3) that shows the politics of this process. His article is focused on some of the later Islamist currents, but I think you are absolutely right to emphasize that secular Iranians place Bahais outside the fold just the same.

I hope you got back from your jogging safe!

All the best,

Afsaneh Najmabadi
Harvard University



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* Most important challenge

I really enjoyed your piece on the Bahais and I think you are right that Iranians have a major moral blind-spot when it comes to Bahaism [Heechee kam nadaaran]. The problem, of course, stems from the fact that the Bab got his start in the Twelver Shi'ite context. Initially, he was heralding the arrival of the Twelfth Imam and seems to have been given a moment of serious consideration by Iran's clergy in the 19th Century before it was decided that he and his evolving movement were a threat to din o' dowlat.

So, right from the get-go Babism (and later Bahaism) had the twin problem of being heretical and an ideological enemy of the State. The spread of Babism beyond Iran's borders (when are autocrats going to realize that exiling religious leaders out of Iran does not work?) gave it the additional (and somewhat ironic) taint of being "foreign." Bahaism was Iran's home-grown "fifth column" well before communism and other "begaaneh" ideas came within the cross hairs of anyone's secret police.

I remember reading an early debate on the Iran's Election law (ca. 1911 or so) in which the issue was whether or not somebody could be barred from election for being "known to be corrupt" or "proven [via some sort of hearing] to be corrupt."

A deputy arguing for due process drew the President of the Majles' ire when he posed a hypothetical argument. It went something like this:

Deputy: Mr. President, we really need to prove that someone is corrupt. It is not enough to imply saying "it is well known". What if someone were to say that you were a Babi and...

P.O.M.: How dare you?! I am not a Babi!

Deputy: I did not say that you were, but what if someone were to -

P.O.M: I AM NOT A BABI!

Well, you get the picture. The Pahlavis, for all their secularism, presided over a state that still had Twelver Shi'ism as Iran's official religion and Mo (Better?) Reza Pahlavi was perfectly happy to let persecutions of Bahais be undertaken by clergy in the 1950's in order to shore up conservative support for the Court in the wake of Coup of 1953. And now, of course, the Bahais are the ultimate Civil Rights problem for the Islamic Republic.

In traditional readings of Islamic law, they simply have no standing (right up there with Hindus, Animists, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists and other well and truly damned non-peoples of the book). What is worse is that they are seen not just as "beyond the pale" by the clergy but as heretics, illegitimately grounding their faith (in the beginning anyway) in Muslim theological soil. In some ways, it is a miracle that a more complete "open season" on Bahais has not been declared by the IRI.

Where traditional Islamic theology is concerned, the treatment and very conception of Bahais destroys the notion that "Islam champions human rights." For the government to treat Bahais well requires a revolution (dare I say a reformation) in Islamic thought or its abandonment as the ideological basis of a state.

The sad part of all of this is that the intolerance in which Babism/Bahaism was incubated has become part of Iranian diaspora reactions to Bahais (as you've noted) and also ( I'm slightly afraid to report) part of the Bahai culture as well.

A former Bahai colleague of mine came under vigorous attack (rather like critics of Scientology) by official Bahaidom when he criticized church policy and began to explore the more expansionist and theocratic aspects of Bahai doctrine.

Bahaism may just be the most important challenge for an Iranian solution to human rights abuses and the best hope for a pluralistic Iranian society. But only if non-Bahais (and Bahais) take a hard look at themselves.

Thanks again for your article.

Best,

Cam Amin
Assistant Professor of History
University of Michigan-Dearborn



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* Not free to act natural with Bahais

BAHAIS KEEP A DISTANCE AND SECRECY AND "GOROUH BANDI" VA GHEYREH, IT SEEMS THAT THEY FEEL TO BE THE ONLY INTELLECTUALS AND THE REST TO BE DUMBS TO STAY WITH WHAT THEY FORCEFULLY ARE. [Heechee kam nadaaran]

BUT I GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE OF WHY ONE CAN NOT BE FREE TO ACT NATURAL WITH BAHAIS. IT WAS IN THE YEARLY PUBLICATION OF MY DAUGHTERS' SCHOOL, IN THE RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS COLUMN : MARCH 21ST "EIDE NOW-ROUZ" IS BAHAI RELIGIOUS HOLLIDAY.???? IS IT REALY AND I DID NOT KNOW THAT IN THESE FIFTY YEARS???

I HAD TO WRITE LETTERS TO EVERYBODY RELATED IN NEW JERSEY TO CORRECT THE MISTAKE, BUT STILL IS HAPPENING. IT SEEMS THAT THEY TRY TO REPLACCE OUR NATIONALITY WITH ANOTHER "SHABIIH SAAZI". HOW CAN I SEE THEM DIFFERENT THAN ARABS WHO TRY TO RECALL "PERSIAN GULF" ARABIAN GULF?? HOPE YOU WILL GET MY VIEW WITH THIS RAW LINES.

KH



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* Because there religion is a load of crap

This email is in regard to the article you wrote on Bahais. [Heechee kam nadaaran] First of all, let me just say that just because you or others don't believe in Islam and are always putting it down, some of us here give a damn about Islam and don't like its name used in disgrace.

You want to know why bahaiis are not thought about, why they are put down? Well let met tell you. It's because there religion is a load of crap! their religion is only 300 years old, they have copied everything from the Quran! and just changed it around, they dont even have a proper book like the Bible, or Quran.

They think that islam is a stupid religion and that everything they do is right, when they have just copied us, and they advertise their religion like crazy! i live in a place where the majority of iranians are Bahais and ever since childhood at school, and now at university these Bahais have been trying to convert me to their religion! They send their children away for 1 year as a service to places like India, and Africa and other remote areas to spread Bahaism, they stand around in shopping centers trying to get people to become Bahais!

They are all idiots as far as I'm concerned. We don't need to feel sorry for them.

Nazy



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* Where you got that idea?

I don't know where you got the idea from that Iranians don't consider Bahais Iranian; or, for that matter, that we only respect Jews "when we're in a generous mood". [Heechee kam nadaaran]

Surely any difficulty Muslim Iranians have with Bahai Iranians is a result of our similarities not differences. As for Jews, they've been living in Iran as long or longer than non-Jews. We have no business feeling magnanimous towards them.

Behzad Fazel



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* House burning festival

I just wanted to drop a small note to agree with your point of view [Heechee kam nadaaran]. The Bahais have truly suffered for no reason.

I remember when I was a child during the revoluotion in Shiraz and all the Bahai homes were burnt to the ground. The next day people were touring them like it was a carnival. Some were actually looking at these peoples papers looking for evidace of their British connections!!!!? What where they thinking? When I think of that time I truly become ashamed of being an Iranian.

Thank you

Ali



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* When "towel heads" go

It all starts when the "towel heads" are driven into obscurity in Tehran [ Heechee kam nadaaran]. Anything and everything will happen once this is accomplished!

All the best,

BK



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* Must be eliminated with time

Javid, I am amazed and astounded [Heechee kam nadaaran]. I for one have always considered all Bahais who are Iranian-born, Iranian. What were you thinking? Religion does not consitute nationality with the possible exception of Israel.

I kow that there is prejudice and animosity toward the Bahais in Iran but like any other cultural deficiency must be fought and and eliminated with time and education.

FQ



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* Flavored non-biased stance

Good stuff jj, [Heechee kam nadaaran]

Really enjoyed your insight and flavored non-biased stance as you looked at the issue.

Regards,

Farrokh

PS: I am not Bahai



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* Iran should recognize Israel

* Sensitive to the cause of minority groups

My father was a religious Muslim philosopher, and yet my mother was a principal of a Jewish high school, Soleyman e Hayyem, when I was growing up in Iran for the first 20 years of my life.

I am glad you kept correcting yourself, and that not everyone follows the hegemonic ideology of the current regime, disregarding the rights of the minority groups, such as women, homosexuals, Bahais, Jews, and Zoroastrians.

I always remained sensitive to the cause of our minority groups in Iran. I thought they were always exploited legally, socially and politically. I am glad you wrote your humanistic piece about the Bahais in Iran [Heechee kam nadaaran]. I am attaching a short biographical essay that I wrote some time ago:

The Bahai faith was founded a century and half ago. It has grown from an obscure movement in Iran to the second most widespread of the independent world religions. It now has more than five million followers in at least more than 200 countries and dependent territories. Its extension reflects dedication to the ideal of world citizenship. Bahaism embraces people from more than 2,100 ethnic, racial and tribal groups. Its unity challenges prevailing theories about human nature and the prospects for a common future.

To find a unifying vision in the nature of man and society, Baha'u'llah, the leader of the cult, asserts that the driving force behind the civilizing of human nature is successive interventions of the Divine. The advancements in civilization have gradually developed by the innate moral and spiritual faculties of humanity. The mission of such transcendent figures as Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad is an everrecurring one; it is without beginning or end because it is fundamental to the evolutionary order itself.

Bahai religion is a reformation of Islam, the shi'ite sect. Its followers believe that the twelfth Imam (Imam Zaman) was resurrected as Baha'u'llah, the twelfth Imam (leader). Their holy book isthe Quran and they believe in Prophet Muhammad. Baha'u'llah's liberal interpretation of the script granting equality and fair treatment to women has enraged the Shi'ite Muslims, whose patriarchal social domination has been questioned by many Bahais. The commitment to social justice and unity in diversity has been the slogan of Bahais, who have radiated their faith around the world, surpassing every religion but Christianity in its geographic reach.

In terms of marriage and family life, Baha'u'llah outlawed the Islamic practice of polygamy. Baha'u'llah understood that the family is the basic unit of society. Unless this essential building block is healthy and unified, society itself cannot be healthy and unified. Monogamous marriage stands at the foundation of family life. The Bahai International Community on Women in Development welcomes the effort and has made significant contributions along with UNICEF to focus attention on the plight of female children. Their faith, however, does not entail an involvement in partisan politics.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Javid.

Fatima Farideh Nedjat



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* FULL citizens under Shah?

Dear Mr. Javid,

Thank you for writing that article about the plight of Bahais in the Islamic republic [ Heechee kam nadaaran]. I am not a Bahai, but I despise the way that the Mollas and their thugs treat our Bahai compatriots. And same as you again, I don't believe in any religeon and believe that they are all nonsense.

However, I much prefer a peaceful and modern religeon to a bloodthirsty and backward one. Finally, I would like to remind you that the Bahais like all other religeous minorities enjoyed full citizen's right during the Pahlavi era.

Best Regards

Kaveh Ahangar



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* Yes we do exist

I am an European Bahai. I have just read your article [Heechee kam nadaaran]. Thank you for our Persian friends and for all the Bahais in the world... Yes we do exist, and we don't have to be Persian to be Bahais... We are Europeans, Africans, Asians and Americans... We work for love and unity in diversity, to end war and for the progress of women and universal education...

Thanks again

A reader



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* Problems with the Bahais

The only correct observation, among all the hilarious ones, you made was your "cheap shot" [Heechee kam nadaaran].

These are the problems with the Bahais (and I should know because most of my best friends are of that belief. Why they believe what they do is the more astonishing, because they are an intelligent and educated lot. More important they are very decent people). However:

1- They are worse than Moslems when it comes to "Amr e beh Ma'aroof, Nahye az monker".

2- They are relentless in propagating their faith, no matter how many times you tell them you don't believe in that sh.

3- They don't particularly subscribe to the notion of nationality. They are global.

4- They fool themselves in declaring that they don't believe in politics, at least, that is what they used to tell me in Iran. Never mind that some of the most influential figures, in all matters, were Bahais.

5- They do not celebrate NoRouze, a decadent ritual in their view. How much more Un-Iranian can you get?

6- Last but certainly not least, they are as ridiculous, religiously that is, as Mormons. In the days when most intelligent people rejected the blasphemous notion of "talking to God", the Bahiis claim that somebody did. The Mormons also believe that somebody (Smith, of all names) talked to God, almost at the same time, certainly in the same decade, as the Baha or whatever his name was. The Mormons actually believe that after Smith, the other Charlatan, all the subsequent leaders talk to God on a daily basis to get advice on the "current affairs" (not the magazine). I am reminded of the Arab who also talked to Allah about the same "current affairs" when he got stuck.

Lastly and this has nothing to do with the Bahais, if you want a truly Iranian, Non-Semitic religion, the mother of ALL religions, study Zartosht. Not the Sassani version, but the unadulterated original one, scholarly researched and described by Hashem Razi (ISBN: 964-6677-32-2)

Regards,

Baraitna



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* I don't feel any less Iranian

I guess you get a lot of random e-mails, but I just wanted to write to you to thank you for the really quite gutsy article you wrote about Iranian Bahais being contantly overlooked by non-Bahai Iranians [Heechee kam nadaaran]. You can probably guess that I am a Bahai and you are so right that I don't feel any less Iranian than anyone else.

It is funny how most Iranians, who are not Bahais don't really know what to say when they find out that I'm not Muslim. In fact, what is even more intersting is that you can take the most secular, non-religous Iranian who by no means practices Islam and when they learn that I'm a Bahai turns into some radical fundamentalist mullah.

Funny the hypocracy of the whole thing, and quite frankly most Iranian Bahais know so much about the Quran and Islam that it would put many Muslims to shame. Anyway, sorry about the long-windedness of this whole thing. But thanks again, your article was great. I hope you get any crazy back lash from our fellow Iranians who may think you are too sypathetic to the plight of the Bahais.

Regards,

Anonymous



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* Threat to mullahs, not Islam

I heard a facinating talk given last year by the great [...], where he said that, even though he himself is an agnostic, he considers the Bahai Faith to be one of the good, progressive religions, who's only crime was not that it threatened Islam, but that it had the temerity to threaten the "dokoon-e mullahaa" (the mullah's livelihood), hence from the beginning it was maliciously slandered and violently persecuted.

That the Bahai Faith has grown to become the second most geographically widespread religion in the world today is truly - and mysteriously - something quite remarkable.

JD



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* Forthright

I enjoyed reading your iconoclastic views, even your choice of selected English words [ Heechee kam nadaaran].

I support your right to believe that all religions are a bunch of crap and I enjoyed your forthright way of expression yourself. I appreciated your thoughts opposing Bahai persecution in Iran.

I don't know who you are or where your live, but I sure would like to be placed on your e-mail list.

Warmest regards,

Clifton W. Wolf
Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist
Kansas City, Missouri
USA



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* Salute

Dear Mr. Saleh,

You are one hell of a courages and open minded fellow [Heechee kam nadaaran]! I salute you!

Farzad Nakhai



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* Lord knows I seldom hear them complain

One of my Texas redneck Bahai friends sent me your article [Heechee kam nadaaran]. I'm a forth generation Anglo-American Bahai. In fact all of my grand parents were American Bahais as were two of my great grandparents.

I never thought of the Bahai Faith as being a Persian thing any more than I think of Christianity as being Jewish or Palestinian, although persecution of the Bahais in the past few decades has resulting in many Bahai Persians emigrating to the US.

I appreciate you sticking up for your fellow Bahai countrymen. Lord knows they are patriotic Iranians who I seldom hear complaining about what they have been put through at home.

Dr. Grant Suhm

College Station, Texas, USA



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* Welcome to their company

Not a bad piece [Heechee kam nadaaran]. You sound like you don't subscribe to any "religion." As an "irreligious" person, you certainly put to shame many religionists by your somewhat unconventional defense of the Bahais. It is always easy to defend one's family, clan, compatriots.

It is only a decent person who defends the rights of total strangers or "out groups". I believe that this piece is a reflection of your inner decency. As an Iranian Bahai, I appreciate your sense of fairness.

I have known numerous Iranians, mostly secularists, who have voiced their displeasure with the way Iranian Bahais are treated in the cradle of their Faith. Welcome to their company -- the company of the truly just.

Regards,

a.k.a. Doostdar



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* May God, Mohammad, Ali, Husyan, and.... bless you

I'm Australian born around your age of Persian/Indian origin but not really conversant of either of those languages. I am also a Bahai. I have read you recent article as it was sent to me by a friend serving at the Bahai World Centre in Haifa.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally acknowledge you profound insight and sagacious judgement [Heechee kam nadaaran]. Baha'u'llah indeed spoke highly of the journalism profession and exhorted them to speak forth of the injustices and the truth that this may be as a balm to the long suffering. Your remarkable clarity of the facts would have made any well researched Bahai proud.

I do not know of your religious leanings, but may God, Mohammad, Ali, Husyan, and all the Holy Imams and Angels bless and guide your noble life and efforts.

Your Friend,

Arvid



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* First step: Less ignorance

Your recent editorial of July 3, 2002 at Iranian.com, "Heechee kam nadaaran" caught my attention. As a member of the Bahai Faith and an American I'm happy to read your editorial especially in regard to proposing the idea for people to open up and become more tolerant towards those of other religious thought, including the Bahais.

I know there is plenty available these days online, especially at official Bahai websites, like www.bahai.org, where one can learn the basics. Perhaps the first step, as you suggest, is for people to become less ignorant of the subject and read about it from its source, instead of listening to others.

Regards,

Robert Stauffer



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* What took you so long?

My compliments on another Iranian.com "first" [Heechee kam nadaaran]. What took you so long?

I hope your humorous and candid piece on the recognition of Bahais will invite some useful discourse, and perhaps be a pioneering effort by an impartial entity in dispelling some of the well known and baseless (some laughable!) accusations thrown at Bahais.

I commend you for having put the spot light on this notorious silence on the subject, and hope that as a result Bahais will be able to fill this void to their fellow Iranians.

FM



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* Your thoughts shed a different light

I am an Bahai who is American. [Heechee kam nadaaran] Thanks for an interesting perspective on the Bahai Faith. I appreciate your sincerity. Your article informed me of how truly cruel the treatment of my Bahai family is in Iran.

The Bahais that have come to the states from Iran do not complain much about the treatment they recieve. We do know that they are treated unjustly, however, your thoughts shed a different light on the atrocities towards the Bahais in your country. We are one race, the human race.

Thanks,

Chris
Boise, Idaho



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* As a Moslem

As a Moslem, perhaps going back to Mohammad himself, I applaud your comments on the inhumane treatment of minorities, particularly Bahais, in Iran. [Heechee kam nadaaran]

Parviz B. Mehri, MD



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* My dad never saw Iran neither did...

You are the first, at least to my knowledge, to show fairmindedness and justice [ Heechee kam nadaaran]. I have read some of what Baha'ullah says, and I paraphrase, "the most beloved in My sight is justice, do not lose sight thereof; this is what He counsels His followers."

The problem you seem to allude to is really nothing but ta'assob, even among the Iranins who claim to be non religious. The blame theories you so rightfully discard is also a brut truism, we need to muster the neccessary courage, and face up to our responsibility, and stop blaming the British , Zionism, the USA, or Russia ands take the reigns of our destiny ourselves.

All the previous deals and conscessions were given by us ( our corrupt rulers) and no one else. I am a Bahai who was born and raised in what is now Israel. My grandparents were Banished from Iran in the 1860's because of their beliefs, but I and now my children, as well as 31 other nephews abd neices, and close to 60 of my immediate extended family consider ourselves, proud American Iranians whose religion is Bahai.

My dad never saw Iran neither did any of my kids or most my relatives, but we are proud of our heritage. Anyway "Affarin bar to".

Best regards,

Hossein



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* Not some cruel nation

*smile*

I'm a girl, just got 18, a Bahai, a world citizen. Thank you! [Heechee kam nadaaran] Even though we hear all the time about what is happening with Bahais in Iran I have never thought that *iranians* are doing it. Not that there is some other nation to persecute Bahais but...

I personally have this great respect for all the iranians. It seems such a great nation...maybe because the Bab and Baha'u'llah were Iranians. And when reading your article then again it shows that (some) Iranians are the way I think they are... not some cruel nation. thank you one more time.

*smile*

Linda



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* For what their worth

Thank you for your July 3 piece in the Iranian about Bahais [Heechee kam nadaaran]. It was about time a non-Bahai said something!!! I had never heard of your magazine, (my sister emailed me your piece). Therefore, I can't judge what kind of publication you run over there...wherever you are.

I am a Bahai and have lived in the US for more than 20 years. I had no idea non-Bahais don't consider us Iranians (that hurts...) but that's ok... that's the least of our problems... I'm happy to say you have most of it right. Everything you said about persecution and how people are ignorant about it is right on the money... But I'd like to give my opinion on why these unjust things are happening. These are just my opinions and not from the central Bahai administration... take them for what their worth.

You say a person's beliefs should not bring punishment, and of course I agree. But why our beliefs bring punishment is the interesting issue. You probably know that first and foremost, Bahai's believe in unity; unity of God and unity of religion. They believe in progressive revelation, that the divine teachings will not stop (for example with Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, the Bab, or Bahaullah). They believe these teachings will continue as they have since the beginning of time until the end of time. They believe in the equality of the sexes, elimination of prejudice...(I won't recite the 12 central teachings..you probably know them).

But my point is that these kinds of beliefs are dangerous to the existence of the people that are ruling our country right now, in their eyes these teachings (which would ultimately result in their demise) are wrong! But, a fair person would recognize the truth in these beliefs. It seems that only fair people are the ones who would recognize the truth in these teachings, because, they would not be threatened, and they would recognize that these teachings have the welfare of mankind in mind. I personally think that these persecutions will continue as long as people feel threatened by them. God help us all...

Thanks again for your piece,

Sharareh



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* Different view than Cyrus's

Just a few words to express my gratitude for your brave expression of support for fairness and justice in relation to religious tolerance [Heechee kam nadaaran]. It takes a lot of fairness and courage to write such words these days. I salute your open mindedness.

I remember reading in our history books in school, as a compliment to Cyrus the Great (Koorosh Kabeer), that when he conquered Babylon, he allowed religious freedom to all inhabitants and allowed them to continue with their religious practices without forcing them to change or persecuting them for not changing.

I remember this to be a point of pride in the book and was always promoted as one of oldest recorded major acts in the sphere of Human Rights in the old world. Our present leaders appear to maintain a somewhat different view.

Regards and greetings,

Amir



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* It's ironic

I enjoyed your article on the treatment of Bahais in Iran [Heechee kam nadaaran]. I am a western Bahai and have been for 30 years. It is ironic that the birth place of my Faith is Iran, and I love that place because of this and dispite what the fanatical elements of Iran are doing to it and to the Bahais. It is a Holy and blessed country that has given civilization many gifts of culture, poetry, music, courtesy!

It was jewel in the world, but it saddens me to see at what depths it has sunk to. It also saddens me to hear what others think of this place. I look forward one day to visiting Iran and seeing the Holy places and the friends and families of Iranian Bahais that I have met throughout my life. They have taught me and my family many many things.

I pray for Iran and for all of it's peoples.

Jim



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* Not all non Bahais are indifferent

Dear Mr. Jahanshah Javid

It is about time to see the questions of how and why Bahais are being treated the way they are by the non Bahais being raised as you did in your article "Heechee kam nadaaran".

Although there was nothing in your article that I could disagree with, there is one point that may need clarification. Not all non Bahais are indifferent to the injustices done to the Bahais in Iran. There is a book written by Olia Rohizadegan titled "Olia's Story".

In her books she clearly states that if it was not because of her non Bahai neighbor warning her that the guards were after her, she would not be alive to tell her story to the world and would been killed as her co workers in the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Shiraz did.

With best regards,

Massoud Fanaieyan,
Orinda, California



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* No Bahai looks toward Iran with anything but complete love

Thanks for the good word [Heechee kam nadaaran]. Bahais believe that Tehran is the "mother city" of the world. No Bahai looks toward Iran with anything but complete love. Hey, the man was born there.

Think of it, the Bahais have spread an understanding of Persian culture and history to every corner of the globe. And, imagine this, Iran and the U.S. are bonded through Bahai belief to a position of equal prominence for the next thousand years. Not a bad gig. Have a great day.

Bruce Tutcher
Oakland, California



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* I have?

Dear Friend!

You wrote so beautiful words [Heechee kam nadaaran]. I just can't say anything. the only thing I want to say is whoever u are and from whatever backround you have understood the MEANING of religion and God. I'm proud of you, my friend "The earth is but one country and the mankind is its citizens."

MK



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* A true Peruvian Bahai

I want to thank you for thinking about others like us the members of the Bahai faith [ Heechee kam nadaaran]. All this time I been visiting the iranian.com and never hear opinions about Bahai faith in a possitive way. All they think and say is bad and cruel opinions and that made me think they don't care about others but you are the exception and I thank god from all this people that really don't accept us is one that really practice the real mining of compasion and religion and the love for people with diferent belive.

I am very happy to be a Bahai and to tell you the truth bahais have giving me their love, understanding , their hand , and teach me the real mining of religion by accepting all the religion together in one we are not triying to be only one we come from one God . Your God too, it is the same in all religions.

Any way I am not a Persian and I can tell you Bahais are growing and I hope some day all of the people that don't respect us realize that religion doesn't matter. It is the love and respect to others and God the only one.

With all my respect,

A true Peruvian Bahai married to a wonderful Iranian Bahai.

Milagros Missaghi



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* Saying what you think

You are a very open minded person and I admire you for that [Heechee kam nadaaran]. Also, you have the guts to say what you think/feel.

Regards,
Ladan



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* Why?

Hello Mr. Jahanshah Javid,

A friend sent me the link to your recent article entitled "Heechee kam nadaaran". I'm curious to know what prompted you to write this piece? You said you've wanted to write about the Bahais for a long time. Why? What is it about them and their persecution that made you want to write this article? I'm also curiou what you mean by "recognize" them?

I have a friend who recently came back from a trip to Iran we were able to watch her video recordings and see many of the Bahais there that she met. I guess I'm curious to know more about the Bahais situation in Iran and to know more about what Iranians think about their persecution and their religion can you help me learn more?

Thank you,

Vanessa Ring



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* I cannot believe Iranians are capable of such hatred

I am an Indian and I came to know the Bahais as soon as I got here [Heechee kam nadaaran]. Coming from where I do, I did not know an Iranian from an Arab. I lived next to an Iranian Bahai and that is when I got to know other Bahais, all Iranians. They are happy people; open, warm and welcoming. As a result all the Iranians I know were such. I don't know any Iranians who are otherwise because I don't know any non-Bahai Iranians.

Once, on the internet, I read about the persecutions of the Bahais and the tortures and the accompanying gory details. Till today, I cannot relate to it in the sense that the perpetrators were Iranians too. I cannot believe that Iranians are capable of such hatred because I have never seen that in the Iranians that I know. Hence, although I am living in denial and I know it, I love Iranians in general. I have not met other Iranians. Some part of me does not want to lest I judge a people as a result. I love the Iranians and I would like to keep it that way. That goes for all nationalities, in spite of the general opinion that tends to badmouth that nationality.

Lasheen Yusuf



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* I didn't know the extent

It was interesting, reading your article [Heechee kam nadaaran]. It shows how ignorant I am on this subject. I knew that Bahi's weren't very popular in Iran, but I didn't know the extent of it. When I was growing up in Iran/Arak we had a neighbor that were Bahai and they were one of the best family in our neighborhood.

Mehrdad



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* Gratitude

Dear Mr. Javid,

I like your website and your columns. This is just a short note to thank you for your work. Perhaps you get some hate mail from time to time but there are many many surfers who like your iranian.com website and its columns but we don't generally express our gratitude to you guys.

So, just thank you so very much.

Warmest greetings,

Iskandar



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* I wish to go back and rebuild that precious land

Dear Mr. Javid, [Heechee kam nadaaran]

As an Iranian Bahai, I would like to thank you for your objective view of the situation of the Bahai's in Iran. Iran is consider a sacred land by all Bahais throughout the world regardless of their nationalities. There are many non Iranian Bahais learning farsi in order to understand the culture, and the history of the Bahai faith.

I have lived in the US for the past 33 years, and built a sizeable manufacturring company in Michigan, however I consider myself as an Iranian Bahai wishing to go back and make a positive contribution to rebuild that precious land.

Thank you for your support.

Shahryar Eshragh



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* Littered with insincerity

After reading your article "Heechee kam nadaaran" dated July 3, 2002, I came away feeling disjointed, and not only because of your writing ability. Although the crux of your article is about recognizing the persecution of and discrimination against Baha?is, you manage to discredit yourself and your message by littering your point with insincerity.

You open with a reason why you're writing. It's not because you felt so moved about how Bahais are being treated, it's because you are waiting for your Internet connection to come back up. You defend yourself in the next paragraph, stating, "Of course I've thought about writing something about Bahais for some time..."

But by then it's too late; we infer that if you had actual writing time set aside, you wouldn't be writing about this topic. You also treat your writing topic like an afterthought by inserting irrelevant phrases like, "Where's my bloody Internet connection'!" and, "God... I hope my Internet connection comes back soon." which reveal where your priorities lie.

The other way your insincerity shows through is how you refer to the Bahai Faith and religion in general. Your use of the word "whatever" and "whoever" ("...the Bahai faith or religion or whatever they call it", "Bab or Bahaulla or whoever...") suggests a disregard for the Faith and its followers as a whole.

If you couldn't take the time to find out the proper name and founder of the religion about which your write, why should your readers even care about your point? You dismiss the Faith again when referring to its principles as, "nice and sweet and goody goody." You also dismiss religion as a whole ("To me, all religion is hocus pocus anyway.") Here's a piece of advice: Save your distaste for religion for another article. You're just confusing your readers even more.

Last but not least, your final blow of insincerity ("And [founder of the Bahai Faith] wasn't an Arab like the other fellow.") is completely irrelevant. I suggest that next time you intend to write sincerely on a topic that you supposedly feel strong about, save your readers the time it would take to read your dribble and go to an Internet cafe.

Shamim Ashment



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* Surprised at your ignorance

Jahanshah you fat little snotty fuck. That [Heechee kam nadaaran] was a pathetic attempt at trying to get the iranians to accept Bahais and at the same time bash Islam. There is nothing wrong with Bahais because they love and follow the same God as I do (I'm a Moslem).

Now if you actually did care about Bahais you would have re-thought your article and realized that your not gonna help them out even more by bashing other peoples religions (AH HEM *Islam*). Don't take it out on Islam because the fundamentalists are on the spot right now.

Yes, Bahai is a faith of peace love happiness, so is Islam. I'm surprised at your ignorance and immaturity towards Islam and religion in general.

Shahrooz Shokraei

REPLY: Fat khodeti o jaddo aabaadet.--Jahanshah Javid



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July 11, 2002


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