Ordeal of a Baha’i Family
Editor’s Note: The following essay by Amil Imani, who is not affiliated with the Baha’i community, was posted on the PDMI site and is reposted here for the information of readers of Iran Press Watch. IPW is not in a position to independently verify the accuracy of this report, nor is it aware of the identity of the Baha’is being referred to. However, the pattern of mistreatment reported here fits other known incidents of persecution in a long and tragic history of persecution of the Baha’i community in the land of its birth.
By Amil Imani
It is not true that the Islamic Republic of Iran lacks compassion. It is not true that the Islamic Republic hangs people without a hint of mercy. Here is the proof.
Recently, I met Mrs. M at a gathering of Iranian ex-pats in a park. I would also like you to meet this elderly widow, who is suffering from a variety of brain, neurological, and vision disorders. She is a lonely woman without a country, moving from one shelter to the next on her way to the final resting place to which we all are destined.
One dreadful day, Mrs. M and her husband were arrested by IRI [Islamic Republic of Iran] agents in the city of Qazvin for being active members of the Baha’i Faith. The litany of charges included being members of the ferghe zalleh (misguided sect), mohareb (fighters against God), propagandists for their sect, and agents of the Great Satan and Israel. The couple’s three young children were spared imprisonment, and ended up as wards of other Baha’i families in the town.
Neither is it true that the Islamists don’t give people an opportunity to mend their ways and see things the Islamic way. First, the clerics reason with the candidate and offer a tempting package of incentives such as immediate release from prison, the possibility of a secure job, becoming a local celebrity to be paraded around for the benefit of other infidels, so they may also see both sides of the deal — a menu of horrific punishment for refusing to bend and a set of attractive offerings for complying with a simple thing like accepting Islam as the one true and final religion of Allah.
In the case of Mr. and Mrs. M, all attempts by the Islamic authorities to reason with the couple to deny their religion and convert to Islam failed. The pair insisted that their faith was the most precious treasure to them and that no inducement or threat could rob them of it.
The Islamists authorities were terribly angered by the couple’s “obstinacy” and initiated their fall-back plan, a plan of cruel psychological torment as well as severe physical torture; the kind of IRI treatment that brings to mind the worst of the Inquisition era of centuries ago. The authorities felt that they had exercised great patience, to no avail, to persuade the couple to abandon their blasphemous belief and adopt the one and true faith of Allah — Islam.
Exercising patience is highly commended in Islam: Allahoma yejezi al saberoon be ajron min ghyre hesab (God compensates those who are patient with infinite rewards). Yet, they eventually ran out of patience and it was time to deal with them as the repentant kafirs (unbelievers in Allah) that they were judged to be.
After many months of incarceration, interrogation, and persuasion came the trial. All along, the couple had been denied access to legal representation of any kind. A barely literate mullah in a perfunctory meeting condemned the couple to death by hanging. Yet, the sentence was not carried out for many months. The couple languished in separate jails with no visitation rights of any sort, either with each other or with their children.
The couple was condemned to death by hanging on the charge of apostasy. The same decree ordered that all their property and possessions, including household furniture, be confiscated, since taking away the possessions of an apostate is halal (religiously approved).
Once a person is judged as an unrepentant kafir by the religious authorities, he or she becomes a target of an unending variety of severe torment, since a kafir is viewed as an enemy of Allah and it is the duty of good Muslims to punish the kafir in any way that their sadistic cruel hearts lead them.
It is beyond the scope of this essay and too heart-wrenching to detail the kind of prolonged torture the couple suffered. There is no reliable information regarding what transpired with regard to Mr. M. during the long months of incarceration before he was hanged.
But Mrs. M was, from time to time, denied her prison ration of food. She endured long periods of thirst in the deadly heat of summer. She was even periodically denied access to the washroom for days. All along, she was severely beaten by female jailers. The jailers’ favorite way of beating Mrs. M was to hit her with frying pans on the head, although they also used soda bottles, clubs, and even their bare fists. The beatings were so severe that, on several occasions, blood popped out of her eyes. Head bumps and injury became routine, as she languished, waiting to be hanged.
The women jailers were intent on matching and even surpassing the brutality of their male counterparts. These fanatical Islamists are brainwashed into believing that tormenting non-believers will earn them great merit points from Allah. They truly believe that the greater the suffering they inflict, the greater is their reward.
Months later, she was informed that the sentence would be implemented at dawn the next day. This presented the last chance for the jailers to beat her as severely as they could before she died. They were intent on making the most savab (performing religiously meritorious acts) they could while they had the chance.
The beating she received on that day was so severe that she lost consciousness. When the executioners arrived to hang her, they could not revive her. They faced a serious problem. How can an unconscious woman who cannot stand on her feet be hanged?
A temporary stay of execution was ordered. In due time, Mrs. M regained consciousness only to suffer many more months of the dreadful ordeal. On several occasions, the order to hang her was re-issued. But the severe repeated beatings had shattered her body as well as her mind. She could no longer stand on her feet. She got around only by crawling. The jailers were relentless in their viciousness. On several occasions, they staged mock hangings. They would come to her cell and say the fatehe (prayer for the dead), place the noose around her neck, and hold her up and let her collapse on the ground.
Eventually, no one knows why, she was released from prison, barely able to walk. She did not get to die in one day, as did her innocent beloved husband. The demonic agents of the Islamic Republic saw to it that she got to live a life of dying every day for the rest of her life.
The Islamist’s credo is fairly straightforward in dealing with religious minorities or infidels living in their midst: if you can’t reason with them to change their belief, then literally beat some sense into their heads. And if that doesn’t work, then a bullet to the head or a noose around the neck ought to put an end to the “problem.”
What happened to the children? All three are in different parts of the world. One son is in England, a daughter is in Spain, and another son is in Texas. Each is trying valiantly to survive and make a new beginning, thanks in large part to all the “infidel” nations and organizations that come to the rescue of the world’s persecuted people. The more fortunate ones end up in refugee camps. Some of the even more fortunate individuals eventually find sponsoring host organizations or countries.
Yes, the Islamic Republic of Iran does exercise compassion. They didn’t hang the severely-beaten incapacitated woman who was unable to walk to the gallows to be hanged. They simply dumped her on the streets to suffer a painful slow death for every day of her remaining life.
[Posted on Saturday, September 19, 2009, at: PDMI. Text slighted edited by Iran Press Watch.]