I feel impelled by the force of various circumstances to share with you the news of recent happenings in those countries of the Near and Middle East which, by the ruling of Providence, are in these days undergoing a transformation which is as startling in its features as it is significant in its bearings upon the interests of our beloved Faith.
I have already in my previous communication briefly referred to the nature and effects of that momentous Revolution which has, with surprising swiftness, substituted a westernized and rejuvenated Turkey for the primitive and decrepit Ottoman Empire. I have also attempted to describe the first stages of that recent and moving episode which has served in a manner that is truly providential to thrust the Bahá’í community in Turkey out of the obscurity of oppressive neglect into the broad daylight of official and public attention.
Recently, however, from the reports that have been received from the elected representatives of the believers in different parts of Turkey, it appears that the investigations conducted by the Police authorities in the capital and provinces of that land have proved but a preliminary to a more official and detailed inquiry into the Bahá’í position with respect to the laws recently promulgated by the Republican government. For no sooner were the followers of Bahá’u’lláh released from detention at the Police headquarters and given the assurance that their Faith was in no way associated with any political design or motive, than an official communication was delivered to their representatives summoning them to appear before the State’s criminal Tribunal on the charge of infraction of the law of the Republic requiring the registration and authorization of all public gatherings and associations within the jurisdiction of the State. To this summons our brethren yielded immediate and implicit obedience. They indeed welcomed this further opportunity to assert not only the innocence of their Faith but to vindicate as well the sublimity of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Realizing that with this fresh development their case has assumed a solemn and juridical character, the undaunted champions of the Cause resolved to seek the assistance of an expert and sympathetic advocate, who would reinforce from a purely legal standpoint the spiritual argument which they reserved for themselves to propound. For a period ranging from a week to eighteen days the attention of the officers of the Court, of the elected representatives of the believers, of their officially appointed advocates, and of the visiting public was focused upon the deliberations of a Court that closely scrutinized not only the conduct and motives of the Bahá’í followers but the laws and principles, the past history and the present position of the Faith itself.
Fortified by the reflection that never before in Bahá’í history have the followers of Bahá’u’lláh been called upon by the officials of a State, responsible for the administration of Justice, to unfold the history and principles of their Faith, our brethren in Turkey decided to assert in their entirety those distinguishing laws and ordinances of the Bahá’í Revelation which the terrors of a suspicious autocracy had so long compelled them to dissimulate and ignore.
I cannot do better than quote in this connection a few passages from the text of the official defense which in a moving language was pronounced by the President of the Constantinople Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly at a plenary session of the Court on that historic occasion: “La Behá’isme est une religion universelle, moderne et absolument independante. Si l’on désiré une désignation plus moderne encore: c’est une institution de Clémence, de bonne entente et d’amour, en d’autres termes, de progrès moral et spirituel. Il n’est ni une secte, ni une branche des autres religions et doctrines diverses. Il est cependant leur aboutissement naturel, logique et pour ainsi dire scientifique. C’est la raison pour laquelle l’on trouve parmi ses adhèrents des personnes, venant de toutes les religions et doctrines existantes dans le monde, et qui se comptent aujourd’hui par millions. …Ces explications ne sauraient toutefois à dévoiler le suffire (?) mystère qui est au fond des sacrifices, consentis dans ce siècle en Orient, par plus de vingt mille martyrs du Behá’isme, parmi lesquels se trouve Qurratu’l-‘Ayn Táhirih (la joie des yeux, la pure), cette jeune femme turque, dépeinté ainsi par notre illustre écrivain Suleyman Nasif, et dont le martyre sans precèdent est cité aujourd’hui par le monde entier comme l’epopée sans pareille de la cause humaine. Je ne sais si ces explications peuvent elucider les raisons pour lesquelles il se trouve à cette doctrine petrié également par le sang turc des amis parmi des hommes de race turque, cette race qui dans tout procès du genre humain et de ses nobles aspirations, n’a pas hesité jusqu’ici à verser son sang.… Toutefois, les Behá’ís n’ont point dissimulé leur présence en Turquie, surtout depuis le régime de la République. C’est ainsi qu’ils se sont fait inscrire comme Behá’ís sur les feuilles du dernier recensement à Constantinople. D’autre part est-il admissible que le Gouvernement ignore leur présence dans cette ville? Cela étant, il ne saurait etre imaginé que les Behá’ís soient sous le régime de la République, poursuivis comme tels, surtout après avoir acquis leur liberté sous le régime de la Constitution qui a suivi celui de la tyrannie durant lequel ils étaient persecutés.… Mais avant de terminer, je ne puis m’empecher de dire avec une entière assurance, que les adeptes en Turquie de cette doctrine, sont surs de la Justice d’un pays régi par la première véritable République pleine de lumière dont s’honore adjourd’hui tout l’Orient.… Ces déclarations d’une part, et la conduite suivie par les Behá’ís, a l’occasion de cet incident qui a commencé par l’interrogatoire auquel ils ont été soumis par la Police, de l’autre, sont la preuve convainquante de la sincerité et de la bonne foie avec lesquelles nous nous comportons tant vis à vis de la Justice que de celui du Gouvernement. Ainsi, nous aurions pu soustraire certaines pièces qui constituent les seuls documents pouvant servi à nous assimiler à des societés. Ne nous voyant pas en contravention avec la loi, nous n’avons rien voulu dissimuler, comme personellement je ne cherche qu’a tout dire ici. Ce n’est lá d’ailleurs qu’une necessité dicté par le Behá’isme et la conformation à une recommendation de Bahá’u’lláh. Lui nous dit: “Devant la Justice, dites la Verité et ne craignez rien.”
To these hotly contested debates two circumstances of unexpected character lent color and force, and must have contributed in no small measure to the successful conclusion of the issue. The participation of a noted Turkish publicist and author whose expressed sympathy for the Cause had identified him with the group of the suspected believers, and the association of the name of the Dowager Queen of Rumania with the Bahá’í Faith as a result of the discovery among the seized documents of the Constantinople Bahá’í Assembly of her public pronouncements on the Cause and her personal message to the friends in that city, both served to reinforce the position of the Bahá’ís and greatly encouraged them in their task. I am assured by a letter addressed to me by the President of the Constantinople Assembly that the sessions of the Court were dignified in their proceedings, sublime in the presentation of the ideals of the Cause, and representative in the character of their attendants. He writes: “Ce fut une déclaration de la Cause dans toute sa grandeur, et jamais l’Orient n’a vu retentir le nom de Bahá dans une pareille formule.… J’ai prefère laisser l’avocat qui n’est pas Behá’í en parler. En effet cela a eu plus d’effet d’entendre l’avocat, emporté par je ne sais quelle mystèrieuse poussée, crier, après avoir cité les principes ainsi: ‘Monsieur le Juge! n’est-ce pas lá en somme l’idéal vers lequel marche actuellement notre pays avec en tète notre Grand Gazi?’”
The extravagant language of the newspapers in reporting the details of this official inquiry served in turn to accentuate the publicity already achieved, and induced the officials of the Court to exercise scrupulous impartiality in the consideration and judgment of the case. As to the verdict that has been pronounced on December 13, it is stated clearly that although the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, in their innocent conception of the spiritual character of their Faith, found it unnecessary to apply for leave for the conduct of their administrative activities and have thus been made liable to the payment of a fine, yet they have, to the satisfaction of the legal representatives of the State, not only established the inculpability of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, but have also worthily acquitted themselves in the task of vindicating its independence, its Divine origin, and its suitability to the circumstances and requirements of the present age. It will be admitted that this recognition on the part of the authorities would have never been so speedily secured had the representatives of the believers proceeded through the ordinary and official channels to obtain such a recognition from their government.
Surely every unprejudiced observer, reviewing on one hand the turbulent history of the Cause in Turkey and recalling on the other the series of internal convulsions that have seized that country, cannot but marvel at the contrast between the swift decline of an all-powerful theocracy and the gradual consolidation of a persecuted Faith. He will appreciate the significance of the circumstances that have caused on one hand the dismemberment of what was the most powerful institution of Islám, and contributed on the other to the emergence upon its ruins of the very Faith it has vainly labored to suppress. Should he look further into the past and consult the annals of Christendom during the first century of the Christian era, he cannot fail to observe the striking parallel between the cataclysmic visitation of Providence that has afflicted the most sacred institutions of the Jews in the Holy Land and the utter collapse in this, the first century of the Bahá’í era, of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, the highest institutions of orthodox Islám. He will recall the severities which the hand of Titus inflicted upon the Jews, the harassing siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Holy City, the profanation of the Temple, the desecration of the Holy of Holies, the transfer of its priceless treasures to the imperial city of Rome, the erection on the site of Zion of the pagan colony of Oelia Capitolina, the massacre of the Jews, and the exile and dispersion of most of the survivors. In like manner, he will observe that almost in the corresponding decade of the first century of the era of Bahá’u’lláh, not at the hand of the infidel, but by a recognized ruler professing the faith of Islám, a blow, unprecedented in its magnitude, has been dealt to the highest seats of authority in the Islámic world. He will call to mind the recent disestablishment of the state religion of Turkey, the overthrow of the dynasty of the House of Uthmán, the loss of the unity of the vast majority of the adherents of the Muhammadan Faith, the humiliation inflicted upon the whole hierarchy of its ecclesiastical exponents in that land, the abolition of religious courts, the annulment of the provisions of the Qur’án, the promulgation of a universal western code of civil law, the suppression of its Orders and the closing of most of its seminaries and establishments.
Such a close correspondence between these historic retributions which the Almighty’s avenging arm has chosen to inflict upon the persecutors of Christ and Bahá’u’lláh cannot but fortify the confidence of every Bahá’í believer in the future glories of this Divine Dispensation. Particularly will he feel strengthened when he recalls the triumphs that have signalized the advance of Christianity after the humiliation of its enemies. And as he ponders upon the circumstances that have given such startling publicity to the Cause, not only throughout Turkey but in the adjoining countries as well, he cannot fail to recognize, in this strange episode, following so closely upon the fall of the mighty stronghold of Bahá’í opposition, a prelude to a higher recognition and fuller unfoldment of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.
In Persia, where, unlike its ill-fated sister nation Afghánistán, the pace of reform has been wisely regulated, the salutary effects of the progressive regime established by its enlightened ruler are not only reacting upon the social and economic structure of its society, but are being increasingly felt by the mass of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in that land. The welter of controversy into which the drastic reforms of a determined government, aiming at the gradual secularization of the State, has plunged a revolting clergy, has afforded our Persian brethren their long-desired opportunity to pursue untrammelled the course of their spiritual and humanitarian activities. The deportation of a considerable number of Muslim ecclesiastical officials, amongst them the heir of that notorious and bloodthirsty Mujtahid of Iṣfáhán, “the Son of the Wolf,” has served to clear the ground for the extension and consolidation of Bahá’í institutions. Already, as reported from an outlying center in the province of Yazd, a leading but fair-minded Mulláh has, upon the discovery of the specific prophecy of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá regarding the forced abandonment of the traditional headdress of Muslim clericals, acknowledged the Divine origin of the Bahá’í Faith, embraced its truth, and openly enlisted as an active supporter of its institutions.
Moreover, it is stated that in various quarters, and among responsible sections of the community the matter of the codification and introduction of a western civil code, and its universal application to all the different communities is being freely discussed, and its desirability increasingly emphasized. As a preliminary measure, however, to the introduction of such a far-reaching reform, certain changes of policy have been lately initiated, not in the form of hastily conceived dictatorial edicts, but as a result of the mature deliberations and with the sanction of the national representatives of the people. The systematization of the laws of marriage and contract; the establishment of a Land Registry wholly independent of ecclesiastical control; the distribution of birth certificates of a purely undenominational character; the increasing prominence accorded to the social rights of womanhood; the close attention paid by State authorities to the education of Persian youth in the Universities of Europe; the banning of all Muslim Passion Plays throughout the territory of the Sháh: the bold and various schemes that have been launched for the embellishment of the Persian Capital—all are welcome signs of the approaching era which is to witness the spiritual and material ascendency of Persia among the people and nations of the world.
In this ever-improving environment and witnessing on every side the downfall of those institutions that have crippled their struggling Faith, the believers in Persia are joyously seizing every opportunity to demonstrate the redeeming power of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. An illuminating report, submitted by one of the most capable and trusted itinerant teachers of the Cause in Persia, has lately reached the Holy Land. In it the writer sets forth in graphic and accurate language the many evidences of the increasing vitality displayed by the Faith in different parts of Persia. Summoned by the Persian National Spiritual Assembly to interrupt his travels in the vicinity of the town of Mashhad in order to devote immediate attention to a situation that had unexpectedly arisen in Iṣfáhán, our indefatigable teacher and brother was surprised upon his arrival in that province to note in the various towns and villages he visited a ten-fold increase in the number of the adherents of the Faith since his last visit to those regions. He was moreover startled at the hospitality which he received at the hands of those persons who six years ago had been instrumental in expelling him from their localities, and who now had freely enlisted under the banner of Bahá’u’lláh. He was furthermore highly elated to learn that the prestige, the integrity and ability of the local Bahá’í Assemblies in that province had of late stood so high that non-Bahá’ís, exasperated by the corruption and incompetence of their own judges, had more than once freely submitted cases of dispute to the judgment of the elected representatives of the Bahá’í community in their locality.
Only a close and unbiased observer of the manner and habits of the Persian people, already familiar with the prevailing tendencies of different sections of the population, such as their apathy and indolence, the absence of a sense of public duty and of loyalty to principle, the lack of concerted effort and constancy in action, the habit of secrecy and blind surrender to the capricious will of an ignorant and fanatical clergy, can truly estimate the immensity of the task that faces every conscientious believer in that land. He will moreover readily testify to the high standard already attained by the Bahá’ís of Persia in their efforts to inculcate in the minds of their fellow-countrymen the principles of the Divine Civilization ushered in by Bahá’u’lláh.
We have only to glance at the soul-stirring written assurances of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in order to realize the magnitude and exalted character of the mission entrusted by Him to the adherents of the Faith in Bahá’u’lláh’s native land. By the faithful application of the spiritual principles which their present administration is endeavoring to propagate; by the character of those indissoluble bonds of Bahá’í fellowship that cement the union of the mass of the believers with their elected councillors; by the distinctiveness of their future contributions in the domain of art, of science and of trade, of education and of industry—by these and by still other convincing manifestations of the quickening vitality of their Faith, our Persian brethren are destined to demonstrate to the ruling powers on earth the majesty, the enduring stability and the unfailing efficacy of the Government of Bahá’u’lláh.
The following passage from the Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, revealed more than thirty years ago, while incarcerated within the walls of the prison-city of ‘Akká, and addressed to the Bahá’ís of Khurásán, will undoubtedly stimulate those energetic friends of the West who long to contribute by every means in their power to the rehabilitation of their Master’s native land:—
“Erelong will your brethren from Europe and America journey to Persia. There they will promote to an unprecedented degree the interests of art and industry. There they will rear the institutions of true civilization, promote the development of husbandry and trade, and assist in the spread of education.… Assuredly they will come; assuredly they will contribute in making of the land of Írán the envy and the admiration of the peoples and nations of the world.”
And as we ponder these words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in our hearts, let us also remember the prophetic utterances of Bahá’u’lláh, which reveal not only the merciless cruelty of the ecclesiastical leaders of Islám but also the measure of Divine retribution which now afflicts the oppressors of God’s holy Faith:—
“O people of the Qur’án! Verily the prophet of God, Muḥammad, sheddeth tears at the sight of your cruelty. Ye have assuredly followed your evil and corrupt desires and turned away your face from the light of guidance. Erelong will ye witness the result of your deeds; for the Lord My God lieth in wait and is watchful of your behavior.… Erelong He will raise in every city the standard of His sovereignty, and will wipe away the traces of them that have denied Him on the day of His return.… O concourse of Muslim divines! By your deeds the exalted station of the nation hath been abased, the standard of Islám hath been reversed and its mighty throne hath fallen. Whenever the Divine Reformer has sought to ennoble the rank of the people, ye have tumultuously risen against Him and prevented Him from executing His purpose, wherefore the realm hath remained in grievous loss.”
And in conclusion, I wish, in a few words, to pay a tribute, however inadequate, to the magnificent services rendered by that exemplary and indefatigable teacher of the Cause, our dearly-beloved sister, Miss Martha Root. Her international travels on behalf of the Bahá’í Faith, so wide in their range, so extensive in their duration, so inspiring in their results, will adorn and enrich the annals of God’s immortal Faith. Her earliest journeys to the southernmost limits of the American continent, to India and to South Africa, to the eastern confines of Asia, to the islands of the Southern Seas and the Scandinavian countries of the North; her more recent contact with the rulers and crowned heads of Europe and the impression which her undaunted spirit created in royal circles in the Balkan countries; her close affiliation with international organizations, peace societies, humanitarian movements and Esperantist circles; and her latest victories in the university circles of Germany—all constitute a compelling evidence of what the power of Bahá’u’lláh can achieve. These historic labors, pursued single-handed and in circumstances of financial stringency and ill-health, have been characterized throughout by a spirit of fidelity, of self-effacement, of thoroughness and vigor that none has excelled.
I appeal to individual believers and Bahá’í Assemblies alike to reinforce by every possible means the earnest strivings of such a precious soul, to respond speedily and entirely to every request that from time to time she feels moved to address to her fellow-workers in every land, to strive to attain the high standard of stewardship that she has set, and to pray from the very depths of their hearts for the uninterrupted continuance of her noble endeavors.
With a heart overflowing with thankfulness and joy I take my pen to share with you tidings that eloquently testify to the triumphant majesty and unconquerable spirit of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. From Geneva, the seat of the League of Nations, there comes the news that the fervent plea addressed by the Bahá’ís of ‘Iráq to the world’s supreme Tribunal regarding an issue that for a time has stirred the Bahá’í world to its foundation has at last met with a noble and most gratifying response.
You will recall the references made in my previous communications, dated November 6, 1925, October 29, 1926, and January 1, 1929, to the forcible seizure of Bahá’u’lláh’s sacred house by the Shí’ah of Baghdád, to the appeals which from almost every quarter of the globe have showered upon the authorities of ‘Iráq for its restitution, to the long and unsuccessful legal proceedings to which the representatives of the Faith in that land have resorted, and lastly to the petition which they have addressed to the League’s Permanent Mandates Commission setting forth the history of the case and appealing for the intervention of the Council in their behalf. I am now informed that after mature deliberation the conclusion arrived at by the Mandates Commission, urging that prompt action be taken to redress the wrong suffered by the Bahá’ís, has been duly communicated to, and adopted by, the Council of the League, which in turn will formally communicate the recommendations of its Commission to the Mandatory Power.
From the official text of the minutes of the meeting of the Mandates Commission, as well as from its authorized report to the Council, both of which have been made public, it is clear and evident that the terms of the conclusion arrived at are neither vague nor evasive, but set forth in unmistakable language the legitimate aspirations of an oppressed and struggling Faith. The decision neither implies compensation to the Bahá’í Community for the loss of the sacred buildings, nor does it expressly provide for the expropriation of the property by the State. To quote from the text of the official document, the Commission has resolved “to recommend the Council to ask the British Government to call upon the Government of ‘Iráq to redress without delay the denial of justice from which the petitioners have suffered.”
A glance at the minutes of the Commission’s meeting will suffice to reveal that in the course of the lengthy discussions conducted by the members of the Commission the following important facts have been stressed and recognized. The British accredited representative, present at the sessions of the Commission, has declared that “it was a fact that the Mandatory Power had recognized that the Bahá’ís had suffered an injustice and, ever since the award made by the High Court, the High Commissioner had been considering what means could be found to remove, either by an executive act or otherwise, the unjust effects of that decision.” Moreover, it has been acknowledged by the accredited representative that the Bahá’ís had been in bonafide occupancy of the property, that they had expended on it sums that exceeded the value of the site itself, and were thus, in accordance with the provision in the still operative Turkish Law, entitled to purchase the site. Allusion has also been made in the course of the deliberations of the members of the Commission to the fact that the action of the Shí’ah community with respect to Bahá’u’lláh’s sacred house constituted a breach of the Constitution and the Organic Law of ‘Iráq which, according to the testimony of the British accredited representative, expressly provided for the unfettered freedom of conscience. A question from one of the members had even elicited from the representative of the British Government the reply assuring the Commission that the Mandatory Power actually possessed means of exercising pressure on the authorities in order, if necessary, to insure that so fundamental an article in the Constitution would be respected. Furthermore, the opinion has been strongly expressed that the matter had assumed an “importance which exceeded that of the individual case of the Bahá’ís,” inasmuch as “the judgment of the High Court was suspected of having been inspired by political prejudice,” with the consequent impression on the Commission that “from a moral point of view, conditions in ‘Iráq were not improving; that religious passions still ran high and that peace had not yet been brought about between the various religious communities.” It has even been proposed to supplement the report submitted to the Council with the observation that, in the opinion of the Commission, “a country in which the Sovereign and the highest law courts are capable of so flagrant a denial of justice would probably not be considered to be eligible to become a Member of the League of Nations.” The minutes of the Commission’s meeting further indicate that the contents of the letter addressed by the Prime Minister of ‘Iráq to the British representative in Baghdád and which accompanied the text of the petition of the Bahá’ís do not in the opinion of the Commission “meet any of the allegations of the petitioners” and are confined to a mere assertion that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was pronounced in accordance with the laws of the land. As to the memorandum submitted by the Mandatory Power in connection with the Bahá’í petition, and to which the minutes briefly refer, it is expressly stated that His Britannic Majesty’s Government considers the ejectment of the Bahá’ís while the case was still undecided to have been an illegal action, that the reasons adduced to justify such action were hardly admissible, and that the final verdict of the Court of Appeal is unsustainable, contrary to the law, and tainted by political considerations. The minutes further declare that although any petition presented to the Commission appealing from a decision given by a Court of Law is to be considered as not being in order, yet as the petition submitted by the Bahá’ís reveals such a state of partiality, servility and sectarianism it has been found desirable to depart from the general rule and to regard the petition in question as receivable by the Commission. And among the concluding observations in the minutes of the Commission’s meeting regarding the Bahá’í petition is this significant passage: “The revelations made in connection with this petition show the present position in ‘Iráq in an unfavorable light. In a country where the conduct of the highest authorities has led the Mandatory Power to pass such severe criticisms, where the Supreme Court of Justice is under legitimate suspicion, and where religious fanaticism pursues minorities and controls power, a state of affairs prevails which is not calculated to insure the development and well-being of the inhabitants. The petitioners have suffered a serious denial of justice the direct responsibility for which rests on the authorities of ‘Iráq. The fact that this denial of justice could not be prevented or immediately made good was due to the weakening of the Mandatory Power’s control in ‘Iráq. The Mandatory attempted, but in vain, to redress the injury done to the petitioners by using the means of influence at its disposal under the régime set up by the 1922 Treaty vis-á-vis King Feisal and the ‘Iráq Government. These efforts would not appear to correspond fully to the engagements resulting from the British Government’s declaration, which was approved by the Council on September 27, 1924, and renewed by the British Government in 1926, whereby the Treaty of Alliance between the British Government and ‘Iráq ‘was to insure the complete observance and execution in ‘Iráq of the principles which the acceptance of the mandate was intended to secure.’”
This grave censure pronounced by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations on the administration of justice and the general conduct of affairs in ‘Iráq, as well as the association of the humiliation afflicting Bahá’u’lláh’s sacred dwelling-place with the obligations implied in the Treaty of Alliance binding the Governments of Great Britain and ‘Iráq, not only proclaim to the world the enhanced prestige of that hallowed and consecrated spot, but testify as well to the high sense of integrity that animates the members of the League’s honored Commission in the discharge of their public duties. In their formal reply to the Bahá’í petitioners, the members of the Permanent Mandates Commission have, with the sanction of the Council of the League of Nations, issued this most satisfactory declamation: “The Permanent Mandates Commission, recognizing the justice of the complaint made by the Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly of Baghdad, has recommended to the Council of the League such action as it thinks proper to redress the wrong suffered by the petitioners.” A similar passage inserted in the report of the Finnish Representative to the Council of the League runs as follows: “The Commission has also considered a petition from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of ‘Iráq, a community which has been dispossessed of its property by another community and has been unable to recover it by legal means. The Commission is convinced that this situation, which is described as an injustice, must be attributed solely to religious passion, and it asks that the petitioner’s wrongs should be redressed. I venture to suggest that the Council should accept the Mandate Commission’s conclusions on this case, which is an example of the difficulties to be met with in the development of a young country.” This report, together with the joint observations and conclusions of the Commission, have been duly considered and approved by the Council of the League, which has in turn instructed the Secretary-General to bring to the notice of the Mandatory Power, as well as the petitioners concerned, the conclusions arrived at by the Mandates Commission.
Dearly-beloved co-workers! Much has been achieved thus far in the course of the progress of this complicated, delicate and highly significant issue. The Bahá’í world is eagerly expectant, and fervently prays, that the Almighty may graciously assist the Government chiefly responsible for the well-being of ‘Iráq to take “without delay” such steps as will insure the execution of the considered judgment of the representatives of the Sovereign States, members of the Council, and signatories of the Covenant, of the League of Nations.
I will, if deemed proper and advisable, inform you of the manner in which the admiration and the gratitude of the National Spiritual Assemblies, representative of the divers communities in the Bahá’í world, should be expressed and tendered to the authorities of the League of Nations who have been chiefly responsible for this noble, this epoch-making decision. For none can doubt that the published verdict pronounced by the Mandate Commission sets the seal of international sanction on the triumph of God’s persecuted Faith over the ecclesiastical and civil powers of hostile Islám. Within the ranks of the orthodox Sunnís and of the bitter and fanatical Shí’ah, the chief sects of the Muslim Faith and constituting respectively the bulk of the ruling class and the population of ‘Iráq, a feeling of consternation must necessarily prevail. For however obscured their vision they still can recognize in this historic judgment the herald of that complete victory which is destined to establish the ascendancy of what, in the words of the members of the Commission, is but “a small minority, drawn from a lower social grade, and possessing neither political nor social influence,” over the combined forces of the Islámic population of ‘Iráq.
I must not fail in conclusion to refer once again to the decisive role played by that distinguished and international champion of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, our dearly-beloved Mountfort Mills, in the negotiations that have paved the way for the signal success already achieved. The text of the Bahá’í petition, which he conceived and drafted, has been recognized by the members of the Mandates Commission as “a document well-drafted, clear in its argument and moderate in tone.” He has truly acquitted himself in this most sacred task with exemplary distinction and proved himself worthy of so noble a mission. I request you to join with me in my prayers for him, that the Spirit of Bahá’u’lláh may continue to guide and sustain him in the final settlement of this most mighty issue.