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Brief mention of a "recent" attack on a group of peaceable Babis in Isfahan, written by "Mrs. Bishop" (Isabella L. Bird), Honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan

by Isabella Bird

London: John Murray, 1891
[page 272]

... However, Isfahan is full of religious intolerance which can easily be excited to frenzy, and the arrogance of the

[page 273]

mollahs has increased since the fall from almost regal state of the Zil-i-Sultan, the Shah’ eldest son, into the position of a provincial governor, for he curbed them somewhat, and now the restraint is removed. However, it is against the Jews and the Bábis, rather than the Christians, that their hostility is directed.

A few weeks ago some Bábis were peaceably returning to a neighbouring village, when they were attacked, and seven of their number massacred under atrocious circumstances, the remainder taking refuge for a time in the British Telegraph office. Several of both sexes who escaped are in concealment here in a room in the Hospital compound, one of them with a broken jaw.

The hiding of these Bábis has given great umbrage to the bigots of Isfahan, though the Amír-i-Panj justified it on all grounds, and about the time I arrived it was said that a thousand city fanatics purposed to attack the mission premises. But at one of the mosques there is a mollah, who with Gamaliel-like wisdom urged upon them “that if 300 Moslems were killed nothing would happen, but is a single European were killed, what then?”1

    1 I have written nothing about this fast-increasing sect of the Bábis, partly because being a secret sect, I doubt whether the doctrines which are suffered to leak out form really any part of its esoteric teaching, and partly because those Europeans who have studied the Bábis most candidly are diametrically opposed in their view of their tenets and practice, some holding that their aspirations are after a purer life, while others, and I think a majority, believe that their teachings are subversive of morality and of the purity of domestic life.
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