Baha'i Library Online

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COLLECTIONBook excerpts
TITLEPalestine: A Study of Jewish, Arab, and British Policies, volume 2
AUTHOR 1 Esco Foundation for Palestine
PUB_THISYale University Press
ABSTRACTOne-page discussion of Bahá'ís being evicted from properties in Iraq, and their appeal to the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission.
NOTES Online at
TAGSBaghdad, Iraq; Confiscation; House of Bahá'u'lláh (Baghdad); Iraq; League of Nations; Petitions

1. Text

Unfortunately, the record of Iraq in the treatment of minorities did not justify the expectations that might have been aroused by these generous provisions. Even before the admission of Iraq to the League, a case occurred which indicated the future trend. The Shiite community of Bagdad, by threatening a disturbance of the public peace, prevailed upon King Faisal to issue an order evicting the Bahai Church from houses which they had occupied and used for religious purposes for a number of generations. After the case had passed from court to court and had come before the Court of Appeal at Bagdad, the four native members against the opinion of the British presiding judge decided in favor of the Shiite plaintiffs. In its comment on the petition submitted by the Bahai community to the Permanent Mandates Commission, the British Government characterized the judgment as unsustainable in law and as vitiated by the suspicion of having been influenced by political considerations. As a result of the intercession of the Permanent Mandates Commission, a compromise was reached about the time when Iraq was admitted to the League. This compromise was unfavorable to the Bahai interest, but as a weak and peace-loving community, they felt forced to accept it. Yet the compromise was, for one excuse or another, never carried out, and the property remained in the hands of the Shiite community.

The Survey of International Affairs (1934, p. 122) makes the following comment:

This affair was particularly deplorable inasmuch as the Bahá'ís were a small and weak community which could not under any circumstances have menaced the security of the 'Iraqi state, even if its members had not been bound by their religious tenets to be good citizens. If the Bahá'ís were the victims of so flagrant an injustice before 'Iraq was emancipated from British mandatory control, it seemed unlikely that the Chaldaeans, Armenians, Jews, and other weak minorities could depend upon either the moral courage or even the good will of a completely sovereign and independent 'Iraqui Government in the event of their becoming targets for the animus of one or another of the dominant communities in the country. In the case of the Bahá'ís, the pressure of the Shi'i Arab community in 'Iraq had prevailed upon the highest executive and judicial authorities in the kingdom to fly in the face of the British Government and of the League of Nations in persisting in a course of action which they must have known to be morally indefensible from first to last.

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