A follow-up on yesterday’s post on the persecution of Iran’s Baha’is. There is a shrine that may further complicate relations between the mullahs and their Baha’i subjects. The shrine of Baha-ullah (Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí), founder of the Baha’i faith, is in Acre (Akka in Arabic, Akko in Hebrew), now part of Israel. (WTF did the word ‘Acre’ come from?). He died an exile in Ottoman-controlled Palestine and was buried there. Most Iranians call the faith ‘Bab-ism’, a reference to the Shi’a man who started it all, Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi. He presumably foretold of the coming of Baha-ullah, was executed for his troubles and many of his followers killed.
The location in Akka/Akko not only makes it difficult for any of them to visit the shrine, it also makes them suspect in the eyes of the Iranian theocracy and most Arab and Muslim governments, and some media types. Even the Baha’is of Egypt also had a hard time under Mubarak’s regime on Egypt over the past few years. They will most likely have a harder time under a regime influenced by the Muslim brotherhood or, worse, the Salafis.
Now the Baha’is have one more thing in common with Muslims: both have one of their most important shrines controlled by Israel. Come to think of it, that is also what they both have in common with the Jews and the Christians. Graceland in Memphis is not under Israeli control, but contrary to legend it is not a Christian shrine. Not yet.