June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
Photography and interview by Nancy Wong. Editing by Kari Carlson.
Below is a transcript of the interview:
I have been a Baha’i for just barely over 3 years. I rented a house and my landlords were Baha’is. And so the guy, Jackie, asked me what my spiritual beliefs were and I told him and he goes “You’re a Baha’i”, and I’m like “I’m a what?”
And anyway, he gave me a prayer book and then I ended up moving, you know, a few times and the book, luckily it made the cut when I moved because I always purge everything.
I kept the prayer book and then I went through a really miserable time and I remember watching him say the long obligatory prayer one time on the beach, at night. He didn’t know I was there, he didn’t know anyone was there. It was just really beautiful and so I got out the prayer book, and I, I mean, I was really really down. And so I started reading the long obligatory prayer and then I actually memorized it. The focusing on it, memorizing it, really helped me get out of my blues, and it was about a year or so I was actually saying that prayer every day just because it made me feel better.
Then one day, I was just kind of like, “Well, I’m sitting here praying to Baha’u’llah, I should know some more about Him.” And I read Baha’u’llah and the New Era. And that book, I was almost yelling at the book, everything that I believe really was in Baha’u’llah’s book. I was like, “oh ok, I don’t have to invent a religion, thank God, there’s already one” you know? So I just was really intrigued knowing that God is there and God really listens to us. It’s reassuring.
Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.