Secret Foreign Office documents show …
Posted by Sen on April 21, 2011
The punch line is, they show nothing. At least this time. A site called Bahaism and the British Government is presenting “Documentation pertaining to historical connections of the leadership of Bahaism with the British government.” It has just two documents so far. The site has been greeted with relief by the anti-bahai ideologues, who have been claiming for generations that the British established the Bahai Faith to weaken Islam, without finding any evidence. (For a brief treatment of the “British did it” scam, see the Wikipedia article. For a thorough treatment see Adib Masumian’s short book on anti-Bahaism in Iran (PDF))
The funny thing is, the documents are evidence that the British were not involved with the Bahais. You can click on the images to get a larger view, but I’ve typed them over so that search engines can find them – and the owners of “Bahaism and the British Government” cannot remove the evidence.
The first is a British Foreign Office cover letter, dated dated May 30 1918, accompanying the Eastern Report, which is another Foreign Office publication. The writer (M.S.) evaluates the material in the Eastern Report as follows:
The Asiatic intelligence should be read with care. The prospects in Turkestan are now distinctly bad. The destruction and disintegration of the Armenians proceeds apace and paves the way for Turko-German dominion, extending through the Turanian belt right up to Afghanistan itself. From that point of vantage the Turko-Germans will work every possible form of anti-British policy; Pan-Islamism, Pan-Turanianism, and anarchistic revolution will be the three forces that they will use.
The elements which will be friendly to us, and which will combat these three forces, are :-
(a) The natural tendency which exists among pious Moslems to regard religion as a spiritual rather than a political force, and which lies at the back of the teachings of Mohammed Abdu, Abdul Bahai, and the Persian Mystics.
(b) The natural dislike of non-Turanian peoples for Turanian ascendency.
(c) The social elements which stand to gain by justice and order.
With regard to the development of these elements into political assets, we can give positive assistance in regard to (b) and (c); in regard to (a), we can do nothing positive but on the negative side may do something by avoiding giving the impression that we are afraid of political Pan Islam or are ready to compromise with it. …
This shows that there has been no British involvement, and also that the writer sees no possibility for the British to do anything positive in the future to assist the progressive forces in the Islamic world (Mohammad Abduh, Abdul-Baha, and some of the Sufis).
The second document is much longer, on page 8 it reports:
On 13th November , Mr Bridgeman telegraphed [no 631] as follows: – The representative of Abdul Baha has asked me to facilitate remittances from the Bahais in Persia to Abdul Baha in Haifa, for the maintenance of the latter and his suite. His adherents wish to remit at once 4,000 (pounds) and to send yearly remittances amounting to about 50,000 tomans. The Imperial bank of Persia refuses to place drafts to anyone, and the Bahais cannot remit the money unless we afford facilities.
As your Lordship knows, the Bahais are very numerous and are ever increasing in Persia. To refuse them facilities requested for the accomplishment of what to them is a sacred duty would offend an influential and well disposed section of the people. In view of the religious aspect of the question I cannot mention the matter to Persian Government. Please instruct whether and how the operation should be facilitated.
This shows that the Bahais in Iran were not being assisted by the British, for if they were, Mr Bridgeman would not have had to inquire what to do, and whether to help.