Jamaloddin Khanjani (July 27, 1933) was one of the seven members of the group known as the Friends in Iran. Mr. Khanjani was arrested on the 14th of May, 2008 at his home in Tehran. He remains in prison with his colleagues awaiting trial.
Jamaloddin Khanjani, is a once-successful factory owner who lost his business after the 1979 Islamic revolution because of his belief in the Bahá’í Faith – and who then spent most of the 1980s on the run under the threat of death from Iranian authorities.
Born 27 July 1933 in the city of Sangsar, Mr. Khanjani grew up on a dairy farm in Semnan province and never obtained more than a high school education. Yet his dynamic personality soon led to a successful career in industrial production – and as a Bahá’í leader.
In his professional career, he has worked as an employee of the Pepsi Cola Company in Iran, where he was a purchasing supervisor. He later left Pepsi Cola and started a charcoal production business. Later he established a brick-making factory, which was the first automated such factory in Iran, ultimately employing several hundred people.
In the early 1980s, he was forced to shut down that factory and abandon it, putting most of his employees out of work, because of the persecution he faced as a Bahá’í. The factory was later confiscated by the government.
In his career of voluntary service to his religious community, Mr. Khanjani was at various points a member of the local spiritual assembly of Isfahan, a regional level Auxiliary Board member, and, in the early 1980s, a member of the so-called “third” National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Iran – a group that in 1984 saw four of its nine members executed by the government.
After that, Mr. Khanjani was able to establish a mechanized farm on properties owned by his family. Nevertheless, authorities placed many restrictions on him, making it difficult to do business. These restrictions extended to his children and relatives, and included refusing loans, closing their places of business, limiting their business dealings, and banning travel outside the country.
Mr. Khanjani married Ms. Ashraf Sobhani in the mid-1950s. They have four children. Farida Khanjani, 51, is a chiropractor working in China. Maria Khanjani, about 49, an artist who is married with two children and residing in Tehran. Mr. Alaeddin Khanjani, about 48, an optometrist residing in Tehran, who is married with two children. And Mrs. Emilia Khanjani, about 45, who is married with two children and resides in Tehran.
Mr. Khanjani was arrested and imprisoned at least three times before his current incarceration. After years on the run, he was arrested and imprisoned for two months in the late 1980s. During this period of detention, he was intensely questioned. During those interrogations, however, he was able to make considerable headway in convincing authorizes of the non-threatening nature of the Bahá’í Faith and he, along with many others, were subsequently released.
- "Lives of service: Profiles of seven imprisoned Baha’is". Bahá’í World News Service. 12 February 2009. http://news.bahai.org/story/695. Retrieved 13 March 2010.