Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Harassment and terrorizing of Bahá’ís... Bahá’ís in Iran continued persecutions

Incident: an attempt to burn a Baha’i alive in Shiraz

Mr. Masoud Imani is a fifty-three-year-old Bahá’í in Shiraz owns a business that manufactures automobile filters. In early March 2008, his workplace was defaced with a slogan stating “individual teaching, revolutionary execution”. Mr Imani lodged a complaint with the police, and the slogan was photographed and the wall then cleaned by members of the local Basij (the mobilization resistance force - a paramilitary organization connected with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps). A few days later, the following threatening letter was sent to Mr. Imani:

In the Name of God, the defender of the blood of martyrs and the demolisher of the wicked and the aggressors

Mr. Masoud Imani

Yet another page will be recorded in the golden tablet of the Islamic revolution, so that future generations may know that Islam and Muslims are vigilant and will never be deceived by the agents and spies of Israel and will not allow the followers of the pure religion of Muhammad to be deceived by impostors like you. Therefore, as a result of the investigations of the unknown soldiers of the Promised One, situated in the city of the martyr of Mihrab, Ayatollah Dastgheib, you and eight other evil ones are sentenced to a revolutionary execution, which will soon be carried out in public. O ye followers of the false prophets, Baha’u’llah and Sayyid-i-Bab, if They are truly of the Truth, then ask Them to prevent the execution of this verdict and, God forbid, just as [the Prophet] Abraham for whom God turned the fire cold, also to turn this fire cold for you. Let this be a lesson for your co-religionists.

In the afternoon of 19 March 2008, two days after receiving the above letter, as Mr. Imani was walking towards his car, an individual approached him with an empty gasoline container and asked him for fuel, claiming that his family was in the car and he needed some gasoline to get to the nearest petrol station. Mr. Imani saw a woman in a black chador sitting in the passenger seat; reassured, he allowed the man to siphon four litres of gasoline from his own car. When that was done, the man put the container down and grabbed Mr. Imani firmly from behind, placing one hand over his mouth. At the same time, another person who appeared to be just a passer-by on the sidewalk, quickly came forward and helped carry Mr. Imani to a nearby tree to which they securely chained him. They then poured the gasoline over him. The first individual returned to his car while the other person struck a match, which did not light; a second match that went out immediately after it was lit; and a third match that lit but was extinguished when it hit Mr. Imani’s clothing. Finally, a fourth match was lit but fell harmlessly on the ground, and Mr. Ímání was able to put it out. At that point, a cyclist became aware of the situation and came over to help, causing the assailant to run away. People in the neighbourhood ran to assist Mr. Imani , freed him, and notified the local police.

Incident: threatening letters brought in the darkness of the night

On 10 April 2008, the following shabnameh (Flyers normally distributed secretly at night to spread opposition, literally “night letters”) signed by Jannitharan-i-Fada’iyi-Sahibu’z-Zaman (the Life-Shedding Martyrs of the Promised One), was left at the home of Mr. Esfandiar Rakhshandeh, a Baha’i from Abadeh:

In the Name of God, Defender of the blood of martyrs

Mr. Esfandiar Rakhshandeh,

Based on the investigation carried out by the Sarbazan-i-Fada’iyi-Ṣaḥib-i-‘Asr va Zaman (martyr soldiers of the Promised One) in your neighbourhood, you have been identified as one of the followers of the evil Bab and Baha, with your allegiance and guidance from cursed Israel, deceiving a few naive and immature ones to the path of fallacy and deception, like the lambs who lose their flock and fall into the hands of the wolf.

Therefore, based on the ordinance of the Holy Qur’an and the sacred laws of Islam-i-Nab-i Muḥammadi (the most pure form of Islam), you are identified as mufsid-i-fil arḍ (corrupt on earth) and, therefore, condemned to death.

But given that Islam is a religion of pardon and forgiveness, you will be given fifteen days to clarify any doubt and misunderstanding you have created by repentance in the presence of one of the exalted religious leaders or by expression of your regrets in one of the city newspapers in order to clean this disgraceful stain off of your forehead and return to Islam, which is the only path to salvation. Otherwise, following the end of this deadline, await the divine judgment which will be carried out by the Jannisáran-i-Ṣahibu’z-Zaman. May this be a lesson to those who spread sedition and revolt within the nation of Islam.

Incident: setting alight the home of Baha’is in Babolsar

At midnight on Friday, 4 April 2008, the home of the family of Mr. Mohammad Ali Moazzami Azad in Babolsar was set on fire by unknown persons. The family was away at the time and neighbours immediately called the fire brigade, the police, and one of Mr. Moazzami Azad’s relatives. The fire was put out in the early hours of the morning but had already caused extensive and costly damage to this family’s home. Preliminary inspections confirmed that the fire was intentional and that nothing had been stolen. The incident is still being investigated by the authorities.

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