Baha'i inquisitor 'Hartmut Grossmann' is dead.

By Juan R. Cole
Written on Wed Apr 30, 2003

While I wish Hartmut Grossmann and Faridun Javaheri well, I don't want something to pass without comment. "Counselor" Stephen Birkland of Minneapolis called me up in April of 1996 and informed me that the "ITC" had found some my "statements" on talisman-1 to be "contrary to the covenant." "I am very sorry, Juan," he said. "I had always liked you." (He did the same thing to John and Linda Walbridge, Steve Scholl, and several other dedicated, long-time Baha'is).

That is, Birkland, at least, blamed the Inquisition of 1996 on the International Teaching Center. This was a gross misuse of the Baha'i Covenant as a means of intimidating thinking people into silence or of forcing them from the faith. And, both Grossmann and Javaheri were members of the ITC at that time. So these are Inquisitors who have been involved in the serial murder of the spirit among Baha'i thinkers. They helped drive me from the faith I loved because my vision of it differed from their narrow-minded power fantasies.

It is, moreover, *highly* objectionable that the National Spiritual Assembly members around the world have *abdicated* their responsibility to prayerfully elect persons in whom they have confidence, and have instead accepted some sort of behind the scenes Diktat that they must put male ITC members on the House at every election.

Look at the elections since 1987 (an off-year election because of a death): Hooper Dunbar, Peter Khan, Farzam Arbab, Kiser Barnes, Hartmut Grossman and Faridun Javaheri are all male ITC members and all have gone from there to the UHJ. In all this time, only Adib Taherzadeh (a continental counselor and popular author) and Doug Martin (called to Haifa as the UHJ's publicist) were not from the ITC. *All* of these electees had been appointees of the sitting UHJ. It is completely circular, as though future Presidents of the United States had to come from George W. Bush's cabinet.

The "counselors" at the International Teaching Center in Haifa have often made their bones as Inquisitors chasing people out of the faith. They run the ABM snitches. They are often, in short, cultists. They are, moreover, appointed by the sitting members of the Universal House of Justice. The current procedure violates Shoghi Effendi's prohibition on nomination. Appointment to the ITC now functions as a nomination. And, worse, the nomination is being made by sitting members, of people they agree with. So the UHJ is becoming more and more rightwing, more and more narrow-minded, and more and more dictatorial. Hartmut Grossmann and Faridun Javaheri have been part and parcel of these violations of Baha'i law and of the Baha'i spirit.

It is no accident that since this shell game began in 1987, the Baha'i faith has ceased growing world-wide, and fallen into a profound stagnation. Now the big news is of intellectual regimentation of people through the mind-numbing "Ruhi Institutes" (an Arbab favorite). Birkland boasted to me of how many "institute" members had been trained, and predicted, hollowly, that entry by troops was around the corner. They are killing the faith with this cultism.

Grossmann and Javaheri have harmed individual Baha'is, and they have profoundly harmed the Baha'i faith as a community, helping destroy its intellectual and spiritual life. Maybe they can redeem themselves. But they begin as criminals--guilty of electioneering and of conducting un-Baha'i Inquisitions--and have a lot of work to do.


Juan Cole

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