Our Friend Mona tells the true story of Mona Mahmudnizhad, a 16-year-old girl who sacrificed her life for unity and peace in the world. Mona grew up in Shiraz—a city famous for its poets and roses. Shiraz is also a city sacred to Baha’is, for it is where their Faith began. And it was in that holy city, after revolution swept through Iran in 1979, where the persecutions against the peaceful Baha’is grew most fierce. The violence reached a peak in June of 1983 with the hanging of ten women, lovely and innocent souls that the people named “The Brides of the City.” The youngest of these was last to go, and Mona kissed the rope that would end her earthly life.
Azadeh Rohanian Perry was blessed to also grow up in Shiraz. She and her family were touched by the lives of many of the martyrs and heroic souls of that period. Among them, Azadeh got to know Mona and her saintly father, Yadu’llah. This book provides Azadeh’s first-person perspective along with detailed accounts of Mona and her family shared by Mona’s mother and sister—Mrs. Farkhundih and Taraneh Mahmudnizhad, both of whom survived that period of persecution. Reading Mona’s story, and the stories of those other wonderful souls who suffered with her, brings us closer to a secret they uncovered: How can you turn fear into courage, anger into calm, and despair at the darkness and injustice in the world into a hopeful vision of humanity’s bright future?
This earnest remembrance from Perry tells the life story of Mona Mahmudnizhad, a 16-year-old girl hanged in Iran in 1983 for her Bahá’í faith. Perry grew up in Shiraz, Iran, and was a childhood friend of Mona’s throughout the persecutions that swept the country and led to Mona’s death alongside nine other teenage girls. Mona’s father, a religious scholar and Bahá’í Faith leader with whom she shared a deep spiritual connection, was also executed. With copious quotes from Mona’s high school essays on her burgeoning spirituality, Perry, writing with her playwright husband, seeks to educate readers about Bahá’í Faith, which was created by Iranian Bahá’u’lláh in 1863 and takes an all-encompassing view of faith traditions with a focus on service and prayer. Her perspective as a fervent adherent enlivens the lessons. Though Perry is a passionate storyteller, the narrative of Mona’s life—her early education, the shock of the revolution, and
her outspoken public support of Bahá’í Faith—sometimes relies on mystical anecdotes, such as Mona’s visions that warn her “capacity for empathy” will one day lead to suffering. However, for those with limited knowledge of the Bahá’í Faith, this book will be of great service explaining the tenets of a religion practiced by five million people worldwide. Perry luridly illustrates the intolerance and cruelty of Iranian religious authorities after the Revolution of 1979 while also paying homage to a brave young woman killed for her faith. (BookLife)