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Who Was Tahirih?

Illustration by Ivan Lloyd from "Tahirih: A Poetic Vision"

Illustration by Ivan Lloyd from “Tahirih: A Poetic Vision”

Tahirih Justice Center is named after a prominent figure in 19th century Middle Eastern history and the persecuted Bahá’í faith. Born in 1814, Tahirih (TAH-heh-ray) was an exemplar of women’s strength in Persia, at a time when most women were kept illiterate and hidden from the public sphere.

Tahirih is remembered for her renowned skill as a poet, her theological insights, her leadership as one of the earliest Bahá’ís, and her ability to organize and inspire women to reject their oppressed status. In a particularly dramatic display of her leadership, Tahirih appeared unveiled before an assemblage of men and gave an eloquent speech about the need to reject old patterns of society. The act was so shocking to the audience that one man stood up and slit his own throat at the sight of her face.*

In 1852, at the age of 38, Tahirih was executed for her beliefs and activities. Her last recorded words were, “You can kill me as soon as you like, but you will never stop the emancipation of women.”

Like Tahirih, our clients have decided for themselves to refuse the violence and oppression imposed upon them. By the time they arrive at our doors, in the legacy of our namesake, they are already heroes.

*Please note: We take no position on veiling and support our clients in their decisions regarding their manner of dress.

How to Say Tahirih

How do you say Tahirih? It’s a question we hear a lot! Check out this video to hear a few members of our staff pronounce our name.