Allegations of Baha'i involvement in BBC

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bbcIn an attempt to distract the public from Iran’s real issues, anti-Baha’i propaganda is once again flourishing. Baha’is have previously been scapegoated for political conflicts and are a recurring element in Iranian conspiracy theories about the British, Americans, Russians, and Israelis.

Shortly after Iran’s foreign minister Mottaki accused the British government of supporting the “wayward Baha’i sect”, banners are now being carried through Tehran’s streets displaying “BBC: Bahai Broadcasting Company” – an attempt to connect the Baha’is with the British news agency, an unfounded and blatantly false claim.

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43 Responses

  1. Edward K.

    June 21, 2009 5:41 pm

    Oh, of course. And when Neitzsche wrote Thus Spake Zarathustra, was he actually writing about the return of Zoroaster in the person of Baha’u’llah? Yesterday looked very much like a recurrence of 1850.

    Reply
  2. E.S.

    June 21, 2009 7:24 pm

    When i posted the video here, i went back to look at again and became very skeptical. Just being excited to see the the previous video of the protesters mentioning Baha’i surprised me.

    Thanks for posting on this topic. I later saw the sign as being sarcastic against the BBC and also realizing that it is anti-Baha’i propaganda.

    One thing that the people carrying the signs don’t realize is that the world has seen it. Some people may wonder in the world,..”Hmm what does Baha’i mean?” Then they look it up and see that it is a peaceful religion that has suffered much oppression & persecution.

    So what the sign carriers are doing is actually spreading the word,..Thus furthering the Cause.

    Reply
  3. Lorenia

    June 21, 2009 9:19 pm

    E.S. – My thoughts exactly. They’re trying to put the Baha’i Faith in a bad light, and what they’re doing is putting it in the light, period. Anyone who is informed will think that the propaganda is ridiculous without even knowing what “Baha’i” means, and they may end up looking it up out of curiosity. So I guess thanks are in order… haha

    Reply
  4. Andrew Turvey

    June 21, 2009 10:34 pm

    “BBC: Bahai Broadcasting Company – an unfounded and blatantly false claim”

    Two points:

    First, the banner actually reads:

    “BBC Persion: Bahai Broadcasting Company”

    The allegation is not that the BBC as a whole is managed by Baha’is, rather that the BBC Persian service is managed by Baha’is.

    Second – “unfounded”?

    Actually, no. When BBC Persian was set up in the 1940s, one important figure was a certain Hassan Balyuzi, the Chair of the British Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly and later Hand of the Cause – one of the most senior Baha’is in the world at the time.

    So, exaggerated and distorted – yes. Unfounded – no.

    Reply
  5. Navid A

    June 21, 2009 11:23 pm

    Andrew, your analysis is flawed in just the same way as Iranian conspiracy theories of Baha’i involvement in the Shah’s regime. That a Baha’i was involved as an individual in an organization does not make that organization a Baha’i organization. Do all the Muslims who also worked helping in setting up the BBC Persia make the BBC Persia a Muslim organization; of course not. The Baha’i Faith had no editorial control over the broadcaster then, and none whatsoever now.

    That there are certain people in the Iranian population that are connecting the BBC to the Baha’is is a result of long-term policy to redirect the blame to long-demonized extra-national groups to increase nationalistic sentiment.

    Reply
  6. admin

    June 21, 2009 11:24 pm

    The comment by an Iranian MP on Iranian national television which sparked this was such:

    “Now BBC claims that it wants to help the Iranian people? And this BBC which is filled with Baha’is? The BBC wants to take its revenge on the Iranian people. The founders and executives of BBC Persian are all Baha’is. I think the Iranians should know BBC not as the British Broadcasting Company, but rather as the Baha’i Broadcasting Company. This is the voice of the Baha’is, but it doesn’t matter really, because the British invented the Baha’i Faith themselves. The people should not trust the BBC and its like, and should not interview with the BBC to have their voices heard.”

    First: As such, the allegation IS that the entire BBC is run by Baha’is.
    Second: BBC Persian was launched in early 2009, NOT in the 1940s.

    Please check your background info.

    Reply
  7. Edward K

    June 22, 2009 3:51 am

    Actually, it would be more historical to attribute the British news system, and British liberalism in general, to the influence of the Sikhs. Conquered India took the conqueror captive. The mode of British intellectual life had already been transformed by contact with Sikhs, Ismailis, and other schools of thought in India, long before any accurate information on the Baha’i faith ever reached Europe

    Reply
  8. johnny jazz

    June 22, 2009 4:07 am

    May God confirm the day when a score of ministers of the churches may arise and with bared heads cry at the top of their voices that the Bahá’ís are misguided. I would like to see that day, for that is the time when the Cause of God will spread. Bahá’u’lláh has pronounced such as these the couriers of the Cause. They will proclaim from pulpits that the Bahá’ís are fools, that they are a wicked and unrighteous people, but be ye steadfast and unwavering in the Cause of God. They will spread the message of Bahá’u’lláh.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 429)

    Reply
  9. Renard Olivier

    June 22, 2009 9:08 am

    The baha’i community thanks a lot the foreign minister of Iran Mottaki and Ayyatollah Ali Khamenei for widespreading officialy the cause of Baha’u’llah on international medias !

    Reply
  10. sb

    June 22, 2009 11:14 am

    “However, such denunciations . . . made publicly against you and the Baha’i Faith can do no harm to the Cause at all; on the contrary they only serve to spread its name abroad and mark it as an independent religion.”

    – Shoghi Effendi
    From a letter dated 7 February 1945 to an individual believer

    My gratitude to Foreign Minister Iran Mottaki and to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for heralding the Baha’i Faith while unwittingly acting as effective “couriers of the Cause.” Many Iranians at home and in diaspora listen to and esteem the BBC’s Persian service. Perhaps this linkage will not appear in as bad a light as the purveyors of this falsehood may hope.

    Reply
  11. Sean h

    June 22, 2009 2:49 pm

    They are trying any name, country and religion other than their own fanatical beliefs, to blame. The world is much smarter than you guys, the world is forward thinking unlike you guys (clergy).

    Reply
  12. Andrew Turvey

    June 22, 2009 8:20 pm

    > “The comment by an Iranian MP … was such:

    > “…The founders and executives of BBC Persian are all Baha’is…”
    > First: As such, the allegation IS that the entire BBC is run by Baha’is.

    Extraordinary. You write a quote without realising it disproves your case. Care to read that again? “The founders and executives of __BBC Persian__ (emphasis added) are all Baha’is”

    > Second: BBC Persian was launched in early 2009, NOT in the 1940s.
    > Please check your background info.”

    Again, extraordinary. BBC Persian TV was indeed founded in 2009. BBC Persian, the radio service was founded in the 1940s. I am not aware of any evidence that any Baha’is are involved in BBC Persian TV. I _am_ aware that a leading Baha’i was also a leading personality within the BBC Persian service.

    These allegations and myths often have grain of truth at the centre, which is normally blown out of all proportion. Knowing the grain makes it easier to refute the propaganda.

    Reply
  13. afshi

    June 22, 2009 8:43 pm

    Why don’t BBC people announce that they are not Baha’is? Don’t they know that the IRI is using this accusation as an excuse for further persecuting Iranian Baha’is? BBC must make that announcement just for the sake of the innocent Baha’is.

    Reply
  14. sheri

    June 22, 2009 9:00 pm

    that’s fantastic! if only they realized the real result of this type of behaviour. the bbc doesn’t need to denounce this, any more than the baha’is need to. just like how the brits and americans are now being targeted as meddlers in this revolution, even after they’ve publicly announced that they’re staying out of it.

    this is the sign of a government in peril, grasping at straws.

    Reply
  15. Kathy

    June 22, 2009 10:19 pm

    I was waiting for this to happen. The government of Iran has blamed everyone else why not the Baha’is. After all is seems that the Faith has been the scapegoat for a long time now.

    Reply
  16. sb

    June 22, 2009 10:26 pm

    Blaming the effectiveness of the BBC Perisian Service on Baha’is only looks like a bizarre accusation to the outside world. Again the benighted accusers only work against themselves, showing the world how out of touch they are . . .with reality. Also , it shows how lofty is the behavior if the Baha’is if this is the most “damning” accusation they can find. As accusations go, it ‘s almost flattering!

    Reply
  17. Henry

    June 22, 2009 10:42 pm

    What is the British Broadcasting COMPANY ?

    and why is the banner like a Wrigleys chewing gum wrapper?

    What do the Bahais do with all that TV licence money?

    What a lovely compliment for the BBC

    Are facts, logic and rationality now redundant?

    Reply
  18. Salma

    June 23, 2009 1:26 am

    Hah! Way to go, guys! I’m a Baha’i from Canada and you have my total support! :)

    May one day we see a big change in Iran, with liberty and justice for all! The day when Christians, Muslims, Jews, Baha’i’s, Zoroastrians etc. march down the streets, united by the bonds of brotherhood and love! That day will come, and it shall be a happy day!

    Reply
  19. Sergio

    June 23, 2009 4:49 am

    Friends: The name of the old game is “create distraction from the real issues”.
    ISSUE #1: the brutal repression of the government of Iran against
    the Iranian people.
    Do not play their game.
    Pray for them too.

    Reply
  20. Heshmat Moghaddam

    June 23, 2009 7:26 am

    Well If Baha’is is not a faith in thier eyes then why are they putting the word out thier. To me this looks that they are promoting the Bahai faith. The truth is out and they know it and they can not hide it peace.

    Reply
  21. Esther

    June 23, 2009 9:18 am

    I’m sorry for my english, but I did not want to stop to pass the occasion without ordering a message of spirit all the bahá’ís of Iran. From Canary Island we they send an embrace and have them present in our prayers. That the God’s Glory accompanies them.
    A todos los bahá’ís de Irán y a todas aquellas personas que están sufriendo acoso, vejaciones y martirios a causa de sus creencias les mando un cariñoso abrazo desde las Islas Canarias. Tengan la certeza de que les tenemos presente en nuestras oraciones. Que la Gloria de Dios les acompañe.

    Reply
  22. Lachlan

    June 23, 2009 9:54 am

    Wow, this is amazing. Any informed person would instantly know this is ridiculous (besides the fact that it is a Bahai law to abstain from being involved in politics). the anti-Bahai movement trying to blindly scapegoat the Bahai faith for everything are not actually hurting the faith, but would indivertibly bring light to the faith. Intelligent people would see this and ask “what is this Bahai”, then after some brief researching would see the wrongful persecution of the most peace-loving people in the world.

    Reply
  23. Anahid

    June 23, 2009 10:42 am

    Mr Ahmadinejad and his supporters have allways said that Baha’is are the enemy of Iran!!
    Sir (Mr. Ahmadinejad), how many innocent Iranians have been killed by Baha’is?

    Sincerely
    Iranian citizen

    Reply
  24. Derek Sithole

    June 23, 2009 2:34 pm

    It is mind boggling how the holy Writ is fulfilled. We all have a choice of what role we want to play in this divine Plan. But no-one must look for blame elsewhere when the day of reckoning befalls us. Which religion is it which would ask its followers to foment hatred toward another creature of God instead of fostering love and fellowship! The last comment by Anahid is profound indeed!

    Reply
  25. tooba

    June 23, 2009 2:40 pm

    Anahid-i aziz,
    May God protect you there. That was smart–what you said. good point!
    take care,

    Reply
  26. lomeharshan

    June 23, 2009 5:04 pm

    My Dearest Bahai’s
    My prayers are always with you. Just remember to be steadfast is the Cause of Baha’u’llaha and like the blessed Abdul-Baha, continue to show love to all, for one day they will realise. Pray for them open their spiritual eye and always be there to give them all your unconditioned love, support and guidance.
    My lovely Bahais, you are all amazing and spiritually powerful people.. I am always amazed and filled with happiness when I think of your love for the Cause and the high standards you set.
    Be happy always and steadfast.
    Love Lall
    Baha’i from Guyana

    Reply
  27. I'm Nonpartisan

    June 25, 2009 3:18 am

    Wow, this is exciting! I’m a Baha’i, do you think I can get a job with the BBC Persian service?

    These mullahs are so retro. They think that by linking the Baha’is with the BBC that the ordinary Persians will be repelled. Just the opposite. Just by making this claim, the Iranian people will know that their rulers are scared to death by the BBC, just as they are terribly frightened by Baha’i teacherings and beliefs: the equality of men and women, the unity of all religions, the creation of a world language, human rights and a free public education for every boy and girl, the elimination of racism and that there is only one God and one humanity. Oh, they are so scared.

    Reply
  28. Badi'u'llah Galinkin

    June 25, 2009 12:39 pm

    It’s been said and I am in agreement this is like 1850’s in Iran; nothing has changed. The thing that is different now is that the world has first hand accounts of what is going on and despite the Iranian governments attempt to cover up they can’ this time; so they are desperate. If Baha’u’llah wasn’t the truth than they wouldn’t have to go through such lengths to discredit it, we would fade away. However Baha’u’llah is the truth is the Lord of Host, the Promise one.
    I try to point out to non-Baha’i’s who are shocked at Iran’s behavior that this is how they have always been only now they are seeing it for the first time. I rank Neda up their with the Babi and Baha’i maryters even though she isn’t a Baha’i she was murder for wanting to change Iran. This is an opportunity for the Baha’i community to shine, this is an opportunity for us to show true unity, show love as we brace for the trial of the seven in Evin we should pray for the whole of Iran; even our accusers.

    Reply
  29. Badi'u'llah Galinkin

    June 25, 2009 12:48 pm

    Do not let your hearts be troubled by these defamatory writings! Obey the words of Bahá’u’lláh and answer them not. Rejoice, rather, that even these falsehoods will result in the spread of the truth. When these slanders appear inquiries are made, and those who inquire are led into a knowledge of the Faith. –Abdu’l-Baha Paris Talks

    Reply
  30. César

    June 25, 2009 3:47 pm

    ¿Don’t you think the BBC will help, somehow, by stating they have no link to the Bahá’ís? ¿Would they do that?

    Reply
  31. Ali

    June 25, 2009 11:14 pm

    Dear Cesar,
    BBC was nothing before Ayas said it is Baha’i. Their programing was only a few hours a day. Now their viewership has gone up so much in Iran that they have four satellites broadcasting into Iran 24hrs a day. In Iran anything mollahs attach to Baha’is goes up in value. Two days ago BBC showed a clip from Mollahs’ spokesperson saying CNN and BBC are run by those whose children are serving at Abdul-Baha’s shrine in Haifa. Everybody in fell in love with CNN instantly. No body watches anything but BBC and CNN now. We Iranians are very smart. When we see value in something we grab it. It’s our Aya leaders who have been driving backward in the past 30 years that are lost.

    Reply
  32. World Traveller

    June 26, 2009 3:51 am

    Please pray for the release of the Bahai’s in the Iranian prisons.
    Don’t dwell on some silly poster that just makes us laugh.

    Reply
  33. Ed

    June 26, 2009 10:53 am

    BBC John Simpson: Secret voices of the new Iran: “I had to leave Iran last Sunday, when the authorities refused to renew my visa. But before I left, another former senior Revolutionary Guard came to our hotel to see us. “Remember me,” he pleaded. “Remember that I helped the BBC.” “You can see this reflected on the streets in all sorts of ways. In the protests, for example, where the crowds were bold enough to protect our BBC team from secret policemen.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8116825.stm

    Reply
  34. Ali

    July 9, 2009 1:06 am

    Didn’t you see on YouTube how followers of Shi’a-Khamenei brutally attacked and killed Iranian Shi’as in the streets of Karbala -I mean Iran? There are thousands of sects of Shi’a in Iran from Shi’a-Khamenei to Shi’a Mollah Nasr-idin. 30 years these Ayas couldn’t unite. Now you say Islam unite? There are thousands more sects in Islam killing each other from Taliban to Olaghan. And you want Islam to unite? Baba where have you been? Jails in Iran are so full of Shi’as that Aya Khamenei is hanging Shi’as 20 at a time, children and adults together as he did recently in Karaj.

    Reply
  35. Babak the Baha'i

    July 9, 2009 5:14 pm

    I wonder what other organizations Baha’is control?

    How about NBC=National Baha’i Corporation
    ABC=American Baha’i Corporation
    PBS=Public Baha’i Service (Television Network)
    CBS= Cable Baha’i System… Read More
    CNN= (Baha’i) Counsellors News Network
    or
    FBI=Federal Baha’i Investigation
    NASA=National Assembly of South Australia
    CIA=Counsellors Intercontinental Agency
    IRA=International Ruhi Association
    UNICEF=Unity iN dIversity Can bE Fun

    Accusing Baha’is of world domination is SO MUCH FUN!!!

    Reply
  36. Eric

    July 15, 2009 7:28 pm

    ‘No one throws stones at a fruitless tree’

    I have been seaching for information about the, ‘Seven’
    Yes I laughed at the banner……………..
    but can the mulla’s not see how the Baha’i Faith has spread the beauty of Islam ?
    A Muslim is one who has surrended to God’s Will, are these idle claimants in Iran Muslim? The Days of Ignorance (Jahiliyya) are there. Let them prove different before, ‘The Inevitable.’

    Reply

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