Moojan Momen’s paragraph about me in his article ‘Marginality and
Apostasy in the Baha’i Community’ (Religion 37  187–209, p. 198),
under the guise of scholarly content and factual statement, is a litany
of falsehoods and distortions about who I am.
Holding two degrees from the University of Michigan, I studied there
with the poet Robert Hayden, who was a Baha’i, and edited both Hayden’s
Collected Prose (University of Michigan Press, 1984) and his
Poems (Liveright, 1985). A man of formidable intellectual integrity,
Robert Hayden loathed fundamentalist Baha’is. Sharing his assessment, I
discuss Hayden’s actual views on the Baha’i Faith at length in my essay
about him in my recently published The Grove of the Eumenides: Essays on
Literature, Criticism, and Culture (2007). I have also published three
other books of poetry and prose, have a forthcoming volume in Spring
2008, and have been a Fulbright-Hays scholar to China and an NEH scholar
on India; but since I’m supposed to be a ‘marginal’ Baha’i ‘apostate,’
Momen, like all zealous Baha’i apologists, can only treat people with
caricature and slander, as has been done by fundamentalists for over a
decade on talk.religion.bahai and elsewhere online.
Implicitly deriding my four years of community college teaching, Momen
conveniently leaves out that I taught English literature and rhetoric
for seven years at Gunma University (Japan), Illinois State University,
and Oakland University.
Momen claims that I had ‘personal clashes with Iranian Baha’is’ (p.
198). Apparently someone thought so and reported something to someone.
What is the accusation and who is my accuser? In Western law, the
accused have the right to know and confront the accuser, in order to
protect the innocent from libel.
Haifan Baha’is have often denied the existence of other Bahai
denominations. Following that pattern, Momen implies that the Reform
Bahai Faith does not exist. The Reform Bahai Faith began August 19,
2004, although its roots go back to Ruth White, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab,
Julie Chanler, and other early Baha’is who were similarly maligned for
not accepting the fundamentalist interpretation of Baha’u’llah’s
Teachings, based on the purported will and testament of Abdu’l-Baha,
written by the family of Shoghi Effendi, and pronounced a fraud in 1930
by Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell of the British Museum:
The Reform Bahai Faith is already much larger than any other Bahai
denomination, including the three combined that the NSA of Wilmette is
currently suing in the US District Court of Northern Illinois. See
My website ‘The Baha’i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience’ may
be the most comprehensive effort made to document the fanaticism that
has taken over the largest Baha’i denomination. See
For further details see my original Response