Oppression of Religious Minority Groups in Times of Great Upheaval in Late Qajar Iran: The 1892 Persecution of Jews and Baha’is of Jewish Origin in Hamadan Based on Two Newly Discovered Letters
- Jewish Quarterly Review
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 108, Number 2, Spring 2018
- pp. 225-251
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1892 witnessed great upheavals in Iran, such as the widespread protests against the Tobacco Concession and one of the worst plagues that inflicted the country during the 19th century. In that year also a persecution of the communities of Jews and Baha’is of Jewish origin took place in Hamadan. This persecution, led by a certain Shi‘i cleric by the name of Mulla ‘Abdullah Burujirdi, involved not only arrests and beatings of the leaders of those communities, but also forced conversion as well as the revival of some harsh measures from the Safavid period against the Jews. Based on a number of related documents in English, Persian, and Judeo-Persian, the article not only sheds some new light on the causes and dynamics of this persecution, but also reveals an example of the weakness of the central and local authorities, the power and influence of the Shi‘i clerics, and the helplessness of the religious minorities. The essays shows the relevance of Jewish and Baha’i sources not only for the study of each other, but also for those of the local and national history of Iran.