The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


My Response to:

uhj message to Iranian bahais - 26 November 2003 - Day of the Covenant

Passages from The Secret of Divine Civilization that the uhj has
conveniently left out of the balance in its 26 November 2003 message
to Iranian bahais:

O ye that have minds to know! Raise up your suppliant hands to the
heaven of the one God, and humble yourselves and be lowly before
Him, and thank Him for this supreme endowment, and implore Him to
succor us until, in this present age, godlike impulses may radiate
from the conscience of mankind, and this divinely kindled fire which
has been entrusted to the human heart may never die away.

(Abdul-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 1)

One of the principal reasons why people of other religions have
shunned and failed to become converted to the Faith of God is
fanaticism and unreasoning religious zeal.

(Abdul-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 52)

We regard fanaticism and zealotry as redounding to our credit and
honor, and not content with this, we denounce one another and plot
each other's ruin, and whenever we wish to put on a show of wisdom
and learning, of virtue and godliness, we set about mocking and
reviling this one and that. "The ideas of such a one," we say, "are
wide of the mark, and so-and-so's behavior leaves much to be
desired. The religious observances of Zayd are few and far between,
and Amr is not firm in his faith. So-and-so's opinions smack of
Europe. Fundamentally, Blank thinks of nothing but his own name and

With words such as these they assault the minds of the helpless
masses and disturb the hearts of the already bewildered poor, who
know nothing of the true state of affairs and the real basis for all
such talk, and remain completely unaware of the fact that a thousand
selfish purposes are concealed behind the supposedly religious
eloquence of certain individuals. They imagine that speakers of this
type are motivated by virtuous zeal, when the truth is that such
individuals keep up a great hue and cry because they see their own
personal ruin in the welfare of the masses, and believe that if the
people's eyes are opened, their own light will go out. Only the
keenest insight will detect the fact that if the hearts of these
individuals were really impelled by righteousness and the fear of
God, the fragrance of 58 it would, like musk, be spreading
everywhere. Nothing in the world can ever be supported by words

(Abdul-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 55)


The uhj writes, "Protest, even the mildest and most reasonable, was
smothered by a secret police unconstrainted by any constitutional
oversight"! Their hypocrisy clearly knows no bounds. The "personal
files" mentioned by Lena, essentially dossiers of slander and abuse
compiled by spying on fellow Bahais, ought to be considered in this
context, as should the uhj's treatment of many dozens, if not
thousands, of people during the last decade, documented thoroughly
now on a number of websites.

The uhj further writes, "From all sides today one hears cries of
protest against endemic rights and the suppression of thought,"
clearly deaf to the protest they themselves have provoked by their
incessant abuse of Abdul-Baha's Teachings respecting free speech
and conscience.

The uhj goes on to mention "the slander of Baha'u'llah's Cause" as
though they themselves have not participated and supported one of
the most vitriolic and deceitful campaigns of slander against
numerous individuals for well over several years, always "grossly
false and whose sole aim is to arouse popular contempt and
antagonism. No calumny has been too vile; no lie too outrageous. At
no point during those long years ... were ... the victims of this
vilification, given an opportunity, however slight, to defend
yourselves and to provide the facts that would have exposed such
calculated poisoning of the public mind." One need only think of the
treatment of Juan Cole, the Walbridges, Michael McKenny, Alison
Marshall, and many others, by the likes of the lowest creatures of
the administrative order to perceive the appalling degree of
hypocrisy used by the uhj on the Day of the Covenant. (Mirza Ahmad Sohrab and the Chanlers received the same "slanderous vilification" decades ago.)

The uhj demonstrates it knows well how to wield the weapons of
slander and personal abuse and how to train its spokespersons to
their designs: "...the spiritual damage done to the victims.
Deliberate oppression aims at dehumanizing those whom it subjugates
and at de-legitimizing them as members of society, entitled to
neither rights nor consideration. Where such conditions persist over
any length of time, many of those affected lose confidence in their
own perception of themselves. Inexorably, they become drained of
that spirit of initiative that is integral to human nature and are
reduced to the level of objects to be dealt with as their rulers
decide." Few familiar with the record of the "administrative order"
over the last decade or so will think for a moment that such
knowledge was learned by observing events in Iran rather than by
meting out its own tyrannical and dastardly deeds upon all too many

No better than the Son of the Wolf and the other oppressors and
despots who tyrannized over Baha'u'llah....

That the uhj has been successful in deceiving government and
ecclesiastical officials, the general public through its
manipulation of the media, as well as itself, does not change the
appalling record of its own disgraceful, fundamentalist acts of
censorship and tyranny in defiance of Abdul-Baha's indelible
Teaching "that the conscience of man is sacred and to be respected;
and that liberty thereof produces widening of ideas, amendment of
morals, improvement of conduct, disclosure of the secrets of
creation, and manifestation of the hidden verities of the contingent
world." Abdul-Baha's Words were not a tactic; they were and are the
standard by which every tyrant must be judged, including the
corrupted "universal" house of "justice."

The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

Professor Juan R. I. Cole, University of Michigan,
"Fundamentalism in the Contemporary U.S. Baha'i Community,"
Religious Studies Review, Vol. 43, no. 3 (March, 2002):195-217:

Day of the Covenant
26 November 2003

To the Followers of Baha'u'llah in the Cradle of the Faith