The Greatest Sin

Being a Bahai in Iran


The Greatest Sin
by Fariba Amini

In 1952, an emissary went to Ayatollah Boroujerdi (the highest ranking Shi'a cleric) to ask him to tell members of the Fedayeen-e Islam not to engage in disruptive and violent acts. Boroujerdi did not relent. After all, he and Ayatollah Kashani were the spiritual leaders of the Fedayeen. Since long before and during the 1950's, members of the cult were engaged in acts of violence including the murder of historian Ahmad Kasravi, PM Razmara, and members of the Bahai faith. That emissary was my father who had been given the task by Mohammad Mosaddeq.

Even though many Bahais had supported Reza Shah, he had chosen to close down their main schools, Tarbyiat. Historians interpret this move differently, some arguing that in his decision to close the Bahai schools the Shah was motivated less by anti-Bahai sentiments than by a suspicion of anything beyond his control. Bahais at times suffered discrimination, but they also grew in number under his rule, encountering less violence than under the Qajars.

Nearly four decades later, a General, who had broken down Mosaddeq’s house door and was involved in the coup against his government, was given clemency by the newly established Islamic regime. Under Mohammad Reza Shah, he was given the task of desecrating Hazirat ol -Qods, the main shrine of the Bahais. The General’s name was Nader Batmanglidj. After the fall of the Shah, as a number of generals were executed, his life was spared because of his role in the destruction of the shrine.

Recently I came across an informative but disturbing article , “The stabbing of Dr. Berjis,” from the hand of Nasser Mohajer, published in Baran, Spring/Summer 1387/2008, regarding the killing of a Bahai doctor in Kashan. This happened in 1942. Dr. Sulayman Berjis, whose ancestors had come from Hamadan, had moved to the city of Kashan with his family. He was a physician doing good deeds for the community and saving lives in his practice. He had a pharmacy where poor people could get free medicine and treatment. He was also the head of the Bahai community in a city where Bahais once thrived. He had acquired a good name because of his compassionate work. One day, a few young men entered his practice, asking him to come and help a sick person. He left his patients and went with them to a location where he was met by another man. They threatened him that if he didn’t abandon his faith, they would kill him. Realizing that he was trapped, he tried to escape to a nearby house. But the four killers went after him with knives. They caught him, threw him down and viciously stabbed him to death. Rasoul Zadeh, their leader, (In June 1988, Kayhan published Haj Rasoul Zadeh’s obituary as having been a devout Muslim and a true follower of Navab Safavi, who had engaged in the heroic act of killing a Zionist element in Kashan!) then cut his throat. Blood was everywhere. Dr. Berjis had done nothing wrong. In fact, he was an exemplary citizen and a dedicated doctor in a place where his services were much needed. He had saved lives and was in the prime of his life (he was only 54 when he died) but he lost his own life because he was a Bahai.

The murderers went to the police and confessed to the killing. They were proud of their action and had no remorse. After all, the killing was done according to a Fatwa (religious decree) issued by Ayatollah Gharavi , the local Grand Mojtahed ( highest cleric in town). A trial took place and after 8 months of investigation, upon the orders from Tehran, all four (and an additional four more who were co-conspirators in the crime) were acquitted. All the young men, ages 17 and 18, barely having grown a beard, had been members of the Fedayeen-e Islam. Kashani and Boroujerdi (the latter being a staunch anti-Bahai ) had intervened on their behalf and had asked that they be set free. Their request had been granted. The killers went free while an innocent doctor had been given the death sentence. His family never got any form of justice. They had quietly buried him in a cemetery designated for Bahais. (See article that details the entire episode and the trial).

In 1979, shortly after the Iranian Revolution, the Bahai cemetery in Shiraz, one of the largest in Iran, was desecrated by extreme elements. Bahais were rounded up and beaten. Many were arrested. Families were dispersed. Many were not able to attend universities as a few students who were working at a grocery store in the Washington area and had left Iran through Turkey told me. They said they had wanted to stay and continue with their education in their hometown of Shiraz if they had been allowed. But they were denied their basic right as citizens to get an education. “Compared to other religious minorities in Iran, the Bahais lived under much harsher conditions, for they were the only religious minority that was neither officially recognized nor given freedom of worship.” (The Forgotten Schools: The Baha’is and Modern Education in Iran, 1899-1934, Soli Shahvar).

The Islamic Republic is merciless when it comes to members of the Bahai faith. It is the greatest sin to be a Bahai because in the eyes of Islam the idea of divine revelation after the death of the Prophet Mohammad—the Seal of the Prophets— is unacceptable. The regime's Shi'a leaders consider the Bahai faith dangerous; to them it is the highest form of apostasy. The Bahais are also branded as Zionists. One reason for this is that Mirza Hossein Ali Nouri, aka Bahaollah, who was forced to leave Iran, ended up in Ottoman Iraq and by way of Istanbul went to Palestine where he died in 1892 in the city of Akko, now in Israel. Following an anachronistic reading of history, the clergy see him and the Bahais as brothers –in- arms of the Jewish state and its potential ally.

According to a brochure published in 2009 by the International Federation of Human Rights Communities (FIDH) on the history of execution in Iran, there are about 300,000 Bahais in Iran( It is inherently difficult to establish an accurate number). "Not only they are denied their civil rights but the number of executions has been higher than any other religious minority." The same report states that between 1979-1980, more than 200 Bahais had been executed or murdered. Fifteen others had disappeared most likely killed. In 1984, in Shiraz alone, 10 Bahai women were executed after disobeying orders giving up their faith for Islam. One was Mona Mahmoud Nejad, who at the time of her arrest was 16 years old. She was seventeen when she was executed in Adel Abad prison in Shiraz. Another 15 year old boy, Peyman Sobhany, was beaten and then stoned to death.

In recent times, a number of Bahai leaders and community members have been arrested and incarcerated. It is now a repeat of what took place almost three decades ago. Bahais are not just targeted by extreme elements of the Islamic regime. The sad part is that even a Khatami official told me once that Bahais are not to be supported even if they are imprisoned. I shook my head in disbelief and my reply was (I know I am not alone in this respect as many Iranians and Iranian Americans have expressed their outrage): “They are no different from you and I.” They should not be singled out for their faith or way of life, especially if they have committed no crime, are honorable citizens and love and worry about Iran as much as the next person.

I remember talking with those young men while they were packing bags of grocery. They were two brothers and their cousin. I saw sadness in their eyes. They had lost a few years waiting in Turkey for their papers in order to travel to the US. One of them said to me, I wish I could go back and live again in the city of Shiraz where I grew up and had my roots. “I loved Shiraz,” he said.

Hafez and Sa'adi of Shiraz, who wrote about beauty, wine and their love for mankind, are now turning in their graves at the thought of what is happening to Iran. Wouldn't you?


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Fariba Amini

A nice piece on God

by Fariba Amini on



by R2-D2 on


If you get a chance, please visit this blog (click on the llink below):

Where Is God?




Fariba jan

by Shepesh on

Your fantastic article is in Payvand! Congratulations. 

Fariba Amini

Thank you dear friends, I

by Fariba Amini on

Thank you dear friends,

I am touched by your comments. I hope I have contributed to this important issue. One day, hopefully we maybe able to conduct such discussions in Iran. Until that day, let us be tolerant and patient. 



Dariush A

Oh please.

by Dariush A on

Stop the politics and dishonesty !!!  Go read the comments! They are your own who have used profanity and nonsense.   

Ali Najafi

Fariba, from my heart, I

by Ali Najafi on

Fariba, from my heart, I thank you.


Dear Hoshang

by Shepesh on

Other sites delete (do not tolerate) off topic comments. This seems to be acceptable on IC, people are permitted, especially on Bahai blogs, to divert subject and manipulate .



Roach Motel

by Anvar on

*Fariba Amini* - Thank you for the well written and researched blog.  It is informative and a bitter reminder of facts that many try to sweep under the rug - so to speak.  

I enjoyed most of the elegant and well-reasoned comments too.  Of course, there are also those comments by Hojjatieh school dropouts who cannot easily deal with the fact that their time is up and relentlessly pontificate on issues clearly beyond their league!

Clinging to their ever-sinking wrecked boat, they criticize the Baha’is on a jumbo jet that’s actually going places.     

I suppose this thread is a fine example of the cost of freedom to which Mr. Mohammad Amini, in his video interview posted in another blog, was referring.   Just as we enjoy the rational and elegant comments, we must also put up with nonsensical rants.

Next, they’ll dismiss the fact that ISLAMIC Republic of Iran murdered the innocent women pictured above and put the blame for their killings on Baha’u’llah’s “mistakes!”  After all, had He kept quiet and hid in a cave someplace when they came to get him, there would not have been any Baha’is that the followers of the religion of peace would have to hang!

Moving on:   This statement “…many times those who are persecuted become the executioner” is absolutely correct.  However, its placement in response to a baseless comment, by a well known manipulator, may inadvertently give credence to the unsubstantiated and false claim that ‘persecuted Baha’is become persecutors.’   

As for the manipulator - Nima/Wahid/Nur/Aryana/ (and on and on):  Before he was about to get kicked out, he resigned his membership from the Baha’i community.  In his resignation letter, he proclaimed his love and belief in Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha et al.  He had issues with the Administration, as it is not compatible with over-inflated egos.

In return, this is how a National Spiritual Assembly advised the Baha’is to treat him:  “Unfortunately, Mr Hazini has for some time been engaged in attacking the integrity of the Cause. The friends are therefore advised to leave him to himself.”  

No fines or penalties, no hanging, no flogging, no torture, no imprisonment, no force, nothing!  Just leave him to himself!  In addition, we are taught to pray for the souls of the Covenant Breakers.  That is the full extent of “persecution” by Baha’is.  Can someone say ‘naneh man gharibam!?’  And he has the audacity of putting himself on par with the hanged innocent Baha’i women!

Baha’is do not run a Roach Motel where once checked-in, no one can check-out alive!  Every single Baha’i in the world is one by own choice and can leave by own choice.  Religions with self confidence have a similar policy.



Ms Amini

by bottled-banana on

As a Bahai may I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this thoughtful piece and your noble and humanitarian sentiments.

May all victims of persecution and injustice in Iran, Bahai or otherwise, religious or agnostic, from whatever political belief or ethnicity, one day be able to live in an Iran that cherishes and protects their rights and freedoms as full citizens of that ancient and beautiful land.

My sincere thanks again.


Hoshang Targol

by R2-D2 on

I would like to completely associate myself with the sentiments expressed in your comment, two below mine ...

This article started with a positive, educational, and useful exchange ... with people who did not necessarily agree with what was said in the article ....

However, some of the comments below are so over-the-top, nasty and personal,  that they have essentially, for all intents and purposes, ruined this blog ...

I would like to ask Jahanshah to please completely remove (delete) some of the more incendiary and personal attacks that appear in the comments below ...

Fariba went through the trouble of putting this blog together to encourage a discussion ... I don't personally agree with everything that she has said, as I have indicated in my earlier comments ... But where is the respect here .....

I have flagged my own comment to get Jahanshah's attention regarding this issue - I sincerely hope that he cleans up some of the vulagarity and nastiness that we see below ...





Sahameddin Ghiassi

With Love to ten angels of Shiraz who have been killed cruelly

by Sahameddin Ghiassi on

 To all these ten angels, who are killed by the ignorant people? For the God that they believe, and that is the same God that Moslems believe. There is no other God and Bahai is based on Shia only in a modern form, but people without study it are against it.  The people act without knowing anything about it. Bahai is a modern form of Islam and is emerged between the clergies of Shia religion and believe Mohammad and all the eleven Imams. It is closer to Shia of twelve imams that for example Shia of Ismaeili who believe just seven Imams. 

  Bob said he is the twelve Imam.  The systems which control the world will this hate between our people. And we should pay the costs of this hate. It is very sad that in 21 century the people especially young people are killed, because they born in a Bahai family? That is not normal, that government of Iran expects the people who born in a Bahai family will be Bahai. They cannot be Moslem. I was born in a family of two religions, Bahai and Moslem. One time I was persecuted as a Bahai by some Moslems and one time persecuted by some Bahai as a Moslem. It is wrong to persecute people, because they are born in a family of Moslem or Bahai. That is very cruel and not human to kill innocent people because they have other religions or other believe. I hope the cruel people are punished. 


Hoshang Targol

The 11th Commandment?

by Hoshang Targol on

All serious, substantial, historic discussions on ALL Iranian websites, MUST degenerate and be turned into utterly meaningles personal vitriol, and nonsense.

So shall it be said? So shall it be done?


Dariush A


by Dariush A on

Damn, how did you find out?   Wrong man, Wrong place!!! 

Is that all you've got to say? Anything about the subject, Iran, world?

What is your point and  Why are you shaking?


Dariush A

Some Christian

by Dariush A on

Some Christian fanatics have found a new way to express their love.  The plan is drawn by Zionists and the results will be catastrophic for Christians and Muslims. It reminds me of the mistakes Baha'ullah made.   Wake up America!!!


A few words about Dariush A (Abadi)....

by AryamehrNYC on

This mental midget is a redneck Hezbollahi from Texas.  You cannot talk logic to an illogical person.  Save your breath.  His fate is already sealed once his Islamic Republic goes down in flames...


I am referring

by Aryana-Vaeja on

To myself, dozens of other ex-bahais as well as Baha'is who have left the official organization and joined other Baha'i groups. I officially left the organization in 1996 (unofficially in 1993). Since that time due to my outspokeness regarding the corruption and religious fascism of the main Haifan Bahai leadership, I have been the relentless target of said organization, have been defamed by it publicly more times than I care to remember (including on this site), was declared by it an apostate (mortad) in print, etc etc etc. I have never shied away from sharing my story nor have I ever fallen silent in denouncing the organization either.


May we be amongst those who are to bring about the transfiguration of the Earth - Zoroastrian prayer

Fariba Amini

Aryana, I am not sure who

by Fariba Amini on


I am not sure who you are referring to. Unfotunately, many times those who are persecuted become the executioner. It happened in 1979.  Many of today's clerics and people like Shariatmadari of Kayhan were tortured during the Shah became the torturers themselves.  Khamenei was in the same prison cell as many individuals who, after 1979, were arrested, tortured and even murdered by the new regime. 

The problem is we have never been tolerant at anytime in our history of other ideas, religions, etc. This is what needs to change.


Dariush A


by Dariush A on

Unlike your other postings, this one had some valid information,  then you must have gotten exited and used profanity. Out of respect for Fariba Amini, i am not going to answer you on this blog, but I will speak your language and make you cry in another blog.



by Aryana-Vaeja on

I am on the same page with you regarding the Religion of Love 100%. And, no, none of those women deserved to die, or deserved anything else those animals (no offense to animals) might have done to them before they murdered them. 

But do you believe it is justified that just because Baha'is are persecuted in Iran (and no more and no less IMV than any other minority religious group in Iran whose ideology differs from the Usuli mullahs) for the adherents of the religion of those women to then turn around and persecute former  or schismatic adherents outside of Iran? Do not victims of persecution in one locale need to learn not to become persecutors elsewhere? This is not just a rhetorical question, either, since it goes to the very heart of the cycle of persecution itself.


May we be amongst those who are to bring about the transfiguration of the Earth - Zoroastrian prayer



by thexmaster on

Saret ba koonet bazeemeehkone.   You asked for a hospital, I gave you a hospital. Your lame response was...It's mostly helping them jooos....typical copout by a mindless IRI goon..

"Part of that coexistence has been gratitude for the Dr. Sapir
Hospital, a Jewish charity hospital that would have closed years ago,
but for subsidies from Jews inside and outside Iran, doctors say.

the 1979 revolution, the hospital refused to hand over those wounded in
clashes with the security forces of the pro-West Shah Reza Pahlavi.
Ayatollah Khomeini later sent a personal representative to express his
thanks. Ahmadinejad, too, has made a $27,000 donation."

And here:

It's for all Iranians, but this hateful bigotry inside you will not allow you to accept this reality.

You asked for poets, writers and scientists and I gave them to you.  For someone who has been searching endlessly for jewish contributions, you couldn't even bother to look at the individual contributers.  You simply saw 'Israel' after a few names and your brain went into lockdown.  Here is some of the contributors, for the 2nd time:

Here is your challenge, just in case you forgot:

"I cannot find any contribution from the Jewish community other than
robbing Iran, whining and helping and supporting Israel.  Unless you can
name some poets, writers, scientists, any school or hospital and etc
that they dedicated to the society.  you can go as far back in time as
you like."



I'm not sure how fruitful it is to be arguing with someone who doesnt even understand percentages.



Fariba Amini


by Fariba Amini on

I would like to make on more comment. Just look at the photos of the women on top of the article. Look at the smile on Mona's face. Did she deserve to die?

Does anyone deserve to die because they are different, either in gender, creed,  and ethnicity ?  Does anyone deserve to be persecuted or stoned because they sinned? 

We cannot build a democracy until we believe in human rights for all. 

It is time to have a government that will implement it fully in its laws and for its citizens to practice it. 


Be certain in the religion of love,

there are no believers or unbelievers.  Love embraces all.  Rumi





Sour "fundamentalist" grapes & historical facts

by Aryana-Vaeja on

I trust folks are noticing the malicious vindictiveness in every one of Faryar's posts and his persistence in not letting the matter go and his continual stoking of the fires of sectarian hatred. This should adequately demonstrate for everyone the nature of the one-track mind of the brainwashed Baha'i zealot and how it is a dangerous mentality no different from that of the most lock-jawed Hezbollahi zealot in Iran. This specific mentality demonstrated by Faryar here was responsible for the murder of Azali Babis at the specific command of Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri during the late 1860s/early 1870s, and it is a mentality that brooks no compromise with anyone who dares oppose it. While it is laudable that people have defended the principle of human rights and the right of people to exercise their beliefs without interference and abuse, please note also that you have been supporting an organization full of Faryars who do not reciprocate the gesture with others when the shoe is on the other foot. In other words you have been supporting religious fascists of the most despicable sort. The true face of the Haifan Bahai organization is the one Faryar is showing here. Faryar is who these people mostly are.

That said, the real nature of the imprisonment of Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri in Acre is documented and it is not how the Baha'i sources have spun the episode in their hagiographies and sanitized, fantasy pseudo-histories. This article summarizes the facts:  S. G. Wilson BAHAISM AND RELIGIOUS ASSASSINATION Muslim World Volume 4, Issue 3, 1914. 

Now yesterday Faryar quoted a piece claiming it to be from a Zoroastrian text which is immediately revealed to be a fabrication of the Baha'is themselves. Who are you going to believe here: The demonstrated facts or those who will brazenly fabricate texts and then persist in justifying them?


May we be amongst those who are to bring about the transfiguration of the Earth - Zoroastrian prayer


Nima Hazini, Wahid Azal, Aryana..

by faryarm on

Nothing that comes from you can be trusted,as it is a product of hatred and animosity. Your self made translations and defamatory sources are not trustworthy. Not even your facts match that of history like the length of time Baha'u'llah spent in the Great Prison of Akka.

The Truth has always triumphed; despite hardship and persecution; lies and Falsehood never endure illustrated by AZAL's  legacy your adopted name and you as its follower...





by yolanda on

Thank you, Aryana, for the beautiful Sufi poem.

Here is the you-tube video of the same poem:


I'm in good company jumping from religion to religion

by Aryana-Vaeja on


A garden amongst the flames

My heart is capable of taking on any form

For the idols sacred ground

A meadow for gazelles

A cloister for monks 

The pilgrim's Ka'aba

The Tablets of the Torah

The scrolls of the Qur'an

My religion is Love

And wherever its caravan turns along the Way

That is my belief, my creed, my faith

-- Muhiyiddin Ibn 'Arabi (Tarjuman al-Ashwaq) 


Ushta, Farah khanoom. Good to have found you again as well :-)


May we be amongst those who are to bring about the transfiguration of the Earth - Zoroastrian prayer




by yolanda on

Thank you, Bijan (Obama) for these words:

Bring LOVE of people in your heart regardless of their beliefs!........ WE ARE ...... TO FIND REFUGE IN OUR HEARTS EMPTYING IT FROM HATE, AND FILL IT WITH LOVE! PEACE!


Fariba Amini

mosques and churches

by Fariba Amini on

Dear Dariush,

I did not mean anything in particular when I wrote even mosques.  I have been fortunate enough to have visited many beautiful mosques. Any place where you can sit and find inner peace and talk to yourself or whoever you believe in is a place to cherish.  I am not religious at all but I do think people need to believe in something.   



Dariush A

Fariba Jaan

by Dariush A on

What did you mean by "even Mosques". That "even" was a very meaningful word there. 

I thought, maybe you feel being intimidated by others.

Dariush A


by Dariush A on

How many time should I tell you, take the damn swim goggles off so you can read the comments!

I already answered you. The only one you found is the hospital and that is for the most part helping the Jewish community and used as shield in politics.  The rest of what you have posted are serving Israel for the most parts and US and Europe. 

The question was, serving Iran and Iranian society, not Israel. That was my point. They have been robbing Iran and whining and helping and supporting Israel !!!   You Moron.

It is funny that you with your Goggles, ear plugs and level of intelligence, are speaking of dumb, deaf and blind.

Fariba Amini


by Fariba Amini on

Thank you RD for your comment.  I hope I have opened up a good discussion here.  WE have a religious country-Iran and we live in a religious country-the US.   A great philosopher once said that religion is the opium of the people. He was right, but maybe the masses need some sort of comfort that they seek in religion. But when religion becomes  the ways and means and dictates to us how we should dress, how to think, how to go on with everyday life (like in Iran) , then it is dangerous.  In that respect, I am against the teachings of most religions.  But at the same time, if my next door neighbor wants to practice whatever faith he/she has as long as it does not affect me, I don't care.  I am not a religious person at all, but I do like to go to beautiful churches and even mosques.  I have to admit that I have never been to a synagogue. 

If the Bahais want to practice their belief in whatever capacity they should be let to do so.  Why should a Bahai not be able to send his/her children to universities in Iran.  This is pure discrimination and it is no different than in the 60's when blacks were not allowed to attend the same schools as white folks or even enter the same bathroom in the South.  There is no difference.  Islam should become much more tolerant than it is and the role the clergy plays is very crucial. I have heard that Karroubi in fact had met with members of the Bahai faith and that he is a tolerant religious figure.   Today Islam has a bad name precisely because it is a religion that is supposed to show compassion and mercy but in fact moslem extremists and fundementalists show no tolerance towards those they disagree with.  A good example is Theo Van Gogh who was murdered because he said negative things about Islam.