Mainstream Baha'i Faith is heading for a vertical split.

Persian Baha'is vs the Rest

The Baha'i Faith the youngest of all the Faiths and supposedly the most united is now suffering from existential crisis. Already divided into many fractions and sects, the Faith is now faced with its existential threat of a power struggle between the Persian Baha'is and the rest. This crisis may lead to the already decimated Faith into vertical split shaking the roots of the faith.

There is no denying the fact that the Baha'i Faith is born in Persia and Persians have had a great sacrifice in spreading the Faith across the globe.

We will have to go back into the history to recollect that the Persian Baha'is pioneered to places far and wide and have devotedly served the faith. The progress of the faith in golden era from 1970 to 2010 was mainly due to the efforts of Eidelkhanis, Nakhjawanis, Razavis, Afshins, Rouhanis, Mohajers, Azadis and so on. All familiar names to the Baha'i community, known for their selfless services. While these individuals offered their service they also led administrative positions – so we had people who had practical experience for managing the affairs. 

Subsequently the faith saw some unfortunate developments. While the Persian front-runners toiled, a big section of the Persian Baha'is felt that it was their right to govern the affairs. They had a sense of superiority and prided that they were connected to the cradle of the faith. Perhaps as a result of this, resentment crept in amongst other sections. Added to this was the fact that growing tension between Israel and Iran, made Israel suspicious of the Baha'is of Persian background visiting Israel. And the crack widened.

During Chile Temple inauguration in 2016, many Persian Baha'is used to boast that Faith is spreading in Iran and many family members of the former Iranian President Ahmadinejad are taking part in Ruhi curriculum. The non-Persian Baha'is used to take this new-found interest of the Iranians in the Faith as an attempt of penetration rather than acceptance. As Ahmadinejad was seen as the arch-enemy of the Faith.

So today , while superficially Baha'is express perfect harmony, for most of us it is clear that the gap is too large now and cannot be bridged. Administrative responsibilities have started slipping from the hands of Persians and they make no attempt to hide their discontent. After all, they represent a section who has sacrificed most and have had to face severe hardships for the Cause of God. The rest of the community just enjoyed the outcome of their hard work and yet walked away with administrative posts. 

The non-Persian Baha'is feel that the Persian Baha'is have enjoyed enough limelight and it is high time they take a back seat. There have been few cases of disloyalty by some Persian Baha'is which has added to the demand that Persian Baha'is cannot be trusted entirely. 

As this split widens, though ideologically, the mainstream Baha'i Faith will not break, the future will see a risk of Persian Baha'is forming a separate body for governance of their affairs. Much to the dismay of the founding fathers of the faith and to the pleasure of the enemies of the Faith and Covenant-breakers, there is an enemy within. 

The grievances of Persian Baha'is are expressed in this open letter to the UHJ which is being widely circulated amongst Baha'is.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Subject: Persecution of the Persian Baha’is at the highest seat of the Baha’i Administration 

Dear esteemed members of The Universal House of Justice

Paul Lample, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, Stephen Birkland,
Stephen Hall, Ayman Rouhani, Chuungu Malitonga, Juan Francisco Mora, Praveen Mallik 

It saddens me to write this letter to the esteemed members. Members, who collectively are supposed to be infallible in their decisions. For quite some time, some of the decisions of the members are being viewed as being with a targeted agenda –cleansing the Baha'i Administration of Persian Baha’is’ very silent callous Racism and fanatism is engulfing the whole of Baha'i Community. The Persian Baha'is are being persecuted in which ever land they pioneered and surprisingly the Universal House of Justice is mock spectator to this persecution.

One could argue that these steps are seen with prejudice. However, when sequence of similar actions is witnessed the benefit of doubt reduces. 

Let us one by one see such incidences to conclude whether it is co-incidence or otherwise:

1. Recently a prominent Heterodox Baha’i, Omid Seioshansian, who was born in Qatar, was blacklisted in Qatar. Government authorities in the country have levelled criminal and national security charges against him. Mr. Omid now will face severe penalties in Qatar’s judicial system. And will be denied entry. 

Although Bani Duggal, the BIC’s Principal Representative to the United Nations, said that “the Baha’i International Community is saddened that the State of Qatar has chosen to expel members of a community that has peacefully coexisted in and contributed to the progress of the country”, the silence of UHJ has raised concerns. Many prominent Baha'is are of the opinion that UHJ is behind the expelling of Omid as they are in cleansing process of Persian Baha'is and Omid a high ranking Persian Baha'i in Baha'i Administration, who has an eye on selection to UHJ. He has a lot of cloud in countries like India. 

2. Another high ranking Persian Baha'i, a counselor, Dr. Jabbar Eidelkhani who had served for many years in Bangladesh was also removed from his post and a very insignificant Indian Baha'i was asked to step in his shoes. Was this part of a strategy?

3. Another Persian background lady, a former counselor and member of the NSA of India, Mrs Zeena Sorabjee, was asked to resign/retire from NSA after being elected on NSA. Fate accompli?

4. A prominent Baha'i of the USA, Bahareh Moghaddam has been accused of trying to deceive and misguide the Baha'is of Iranian descent by sowing seeds of discord. UHJ just watched silently.

5. Mr. Ali Nakhjawani was hunted for his misunderstood statement resulting into ignorant Baha'is daring to ask him that why he gave such statement. UHJ could have defended in this situation.

6. The case of Baha'i Scholar Ahang Rabbani has not been forgotten. After working for 15 years at the World Centre, he was heartbroken. UHJ had no comfort to offer.

7. Jamshed Fozdar and Feroz Anarki were on the brink of being declared Covenant-Breakers but some better reasoning prevailed on UHJ and they stopped from doing such an atrocious act. Both these gentlemen have bitterness still.

8. The Late Mr. Hasan Sabri along with Isabella Sabri made fun of Persian Baha'is and used to call them KHAR (donkey) and used to say that Persian Baha'is are misguiding other Baha'is. There are several other such incidences of rebuke. UHJ conveniently ignores these. They use to say Panchami is the centre of deviation.

9. The number of Persian Baha'is as counselors have come down drastically and the story is not different for the ABMs. They were asked to leave their place of pioneer (where they had established themselves, gained respect and involved themselves in Teaching of the Faith) and settle in some other parts of the world. This is nothing but humiliation and harassment. UHJ choses to look the other way.

10. When a non-Persian Counselor retires from his post, he is immediately offered another post in his own country. But if the counselor is Persian, and that too a pioneer, never this opportunity of service had been offered to him or his experience used for promotion of the Faith. This happens under watchful eyes of the UHJ.

11. A sincere Persian Baha'i Mr. A.S. Furudi who took care of the Baha'i property the National Hotel at Pune in India was threatened by one of the members of UHJ that he should come in line with UHJ or face severe consequences.

12. A Persian pioneer a devoted Baha'i Dr. Ahmed Ansari was asked to resign after he was elected as a delegate for National convention. It was feared that he was a sure member of NSA

13. Payam Shoghi - A person of capacity, he served the faith as a counselor but he was sacked by the UHJ and was asked to resign from all his administrative positions, just because he was "accused" for forging Documents? Which was never proved.

14. Shahryar Nooreyazdan - He has such a wide experience about the faith. Has given years as a pioneer to Mumbai Community. A person instrumental in building the Lotus Temple and donating huge amounts of his savings was never given any hearing by UHJ. All his suggestions are ignored and was made centre of mockery.

15. Farida Vahedi - She served the Faith with best of her capacity running the External affair department very efficiently but just some Indian NSA members did not like her success was asked to resign from the NSA of India. In her place a dumb Ram Sevak Yadav was brought to NSA just to appease the Hindu nationalist Government .

16. Afshin and his son Naim now live a life of loneliness. Afshin gave all of his golden years for the propagation of faith in India. Today when he is ill and may be in need of financial assistance, the UHJ is wasting sources on inexperienced, and worthless people like Praveen Kumar Mallik, Rajan Sawant etc. All the "soldiers of Baha'u'llah" are being treated like worthless entity.

17. The Baha'i Academy in Panchgani was subjected to pressure because its Director Mr. Lesan Azadi was a Persian and son of a Martyr. UHJ made his life and of his family miserable. He was sacked as Auxiliary Board Member.

Such examples leave us with a bitter conclusion that those having Persian (Cradle of Faith) background need to sieved. It is as though the UHJ sees the Persian Baha'is being responsible for the formation of so many sects. A thought is prevailing in the Faith that Persian Baha’is are working in groups and are having soft corner for the Persian fourth Guardian Nosratullah Bahremand of the Orthodox Baha’i Faith, who is calling his shots from Australia. Such a suspicion has been prevailing for many years now. UHJ has so far not taken any steps to reject this idea.

While all this is happening, the clout of Baha'is with Jewish background is increasing. Whether it is happening with connivance of Jewish state, is a question that then comes to mind.

Esteemed members do look into the injustice that has crept in functioning of the Faith. Else history would not forget UHJ being cause of moral and population downfall of our Beloved Faith.

A GROUP OF PERSIANS Baha'is

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