Hoveida, the Baha'i Faith and Freemasonry

3. Hoveida and Freemasonry

Hoveida became a Freemason in 1960 when he joined the Foroughi Lodge, which harbored and produced many influential politicians of Iran?s modern era.[5] Prof. Abbas Milani cites the late judge Sadeq Khalkhali?s indictment of Hoveida in his biography, wherein he has translated the eleventh charge leveled against Hoveida before his execution as follows: ?Active member of Freemasonry in the Foroughi Lodge according to existing documents and the confession of the accused.?

For Hoveida to be a Baha?i and a Freemason at the same time would not have been possible, either. Shoghi Effendi has left two different statements about Freemasonry, the first of which was a cablegram dated December 22, 1954, addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Islands, which stated that:

?Any Baha?i determined [to] remain [in] membership [of] Freemasonry loses voting rights.?[6]
A loss of voting rights means that the person may not attend any meetings involving the administration of the Faith, such as elections or the Nineteen Day Feast, and may not participate in other ways, such as by contributing to the Baha?i Funds or being married in a Baha?i marriage ceremony. This takes place when a community member insists on following a course of action that is deemed contrary to the teachings of the Faith.[7]

The second pertinent statement, written on Shoghi Effendi?s behalf and dated February 17, 1956, is the following:

?Therefore, all the Baha?is everywhere have been urged to give up their old affiliations and withdraw from membership in the Masonic and other secret Societies in order to be entirely free to serve the Faith of Baha?u'llah as a united body?.The Guardian wants the Baha?is to disentangle themselves from anything that may in any way, now or in the future, compromise their independent status as Baha?is and the supra-national nature of their Faith.?[8]