Bahai News - A report to the Shah
A report to the Shah
On Shavval 1318H [April 1901] the Iranian ambassador to the Ottoman
government at Istanbul filed the following report with the Office of Foreign
Ministry in Tihran which was subsequently presented to the monarch,
Muzaffari'd-Din Shah, who penned his instructions on the margin of the same
report. The original text is published in "Guzidih-i Asnad Siyasy-i Iran va
Uthmani" (Selections from the political correspondences of Iran and Ottoman
government), Qajar volume, v. 5, Tihran, 1370Sh, published by Vahid-i
Nashr-i Asnad, and reprinted in Payam-i Baha'i, no. 187, June 1995, pp 31-2.
The following is a translation:
Written on Shavval 1318H. Report of `Ala'u'l-Mulk, the Iranian
Ambassador in Istanbul, to the Foreign Ministry. Confidential.
The condition of the Babis of `Akka where their leader resides is
improving significantly each day and from all corners of Iran people come
to visit him [ie. `Abdu'l-Baha] and bring with them the collected funds.
In a similar manner, on behalf of the same leader, representatives are send
to all towns of Iran. To consider this situation unworthy of attention [by
the Iranian government] and not exert appropriate influence is unwise and
gradually this problem will become intractable. The solution is not in
imprisoning, beating or slaying them as an increase in application of such
remedies would worsen the situation.
What comes to mind of this servant is that firstly the exalted government
should appoint a Christian agent with a fixed salary, as a Muslim agent of
any kind will attract attention or because of greed will become one of them
and a propagator of their thoughts. This agent should be instructed to
attract their interest and to infiltrate their confidential activities. He
should report the name and details, and where possible, a picture, of
anyone from Iran who arrives there [ie. `Akka] to the Foreign Ministry and
the Office of Ambassador [in Istanbul].
And in like manner, those returning from `Akka on behalf of the Babi
leader [`Abdu'l-Baha] should be followed in secret by the Russian agents
until they reach the border and from there by the custom agents and police
officers who should determine the whereabouts [of Baha'is] and other details
about them. After these [Baha'is] are identified, a few of the learned
tullab [seminary students] should find ways to engage them in conversation
and without showing that they are aware of their beliefs, through wise and
informed exhortations to rescue them from the false path [ie. convert them
to Islam]. In certain instances when necessary, police and authorities are
to stop their affairs.
At any rate, such persons [ie. Baha'is], wherever they are, should be
identified and be known to the general population. In addition, other
schemes should also be formulated by the government authorities and
appropriate instructions be given to the agents as otherwise one does not
know with what sort of people one is associating.
As their number increases day by day, surely in time this will result in
a great convulsion.
[Written on the back of the envelop] From the Office of the Foreign
Minister: This report is to be presented to the most holy threshold of the
King of Kings.
[In the hand of Muzaffari'd-Din Shah]: By the reasons known to his
honored Atabak-i `Azam [ie. the Prime Minister] we should not pursue
such a matter and to the degree possible must remain silent.
©Copyright 1901, Iran Office of Foreign Ministry
Page last updated/revised 060300
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