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jasm

Bastak

Bastak is a town in the Hormozgan Province of southern Iran. It has a road connecting it to the Bandar Lengeh area and its inhabitants speak Bastaki, a dialect made up of Persian.

History of Bastak

The history of Bastak can be traced back to the Safavids era. When the Safavids under Ismail I decided to convert everyone residing in current day Iran from Sunni to Shiite Islam in 1501, they started arranged attacks and massacres against the Sunni Persians who refused to convert. As a result, many Sunni Persians left their hometowns for the Zagros mountains. After the Battle of Chaldiran where the Safavids lost to the Ottoman the Sunni Persians descended from the mountains to begin a new life in the land they named "Bastak", meaning barrier or backstop signifying barrier from Shiite Safavids' attacks and influences.

Eventually they pledged loyalty to the Abbasids, an Arab dynasty that left Baghdad after the Moghol invasion towards the southern mountains of Persia. The rulers of Shiraz at the time, the Atabak, gave them protection to pass through their lands as they fled from the Moghols. Later on the Abbasids they took permission from Atabak to establish a state of their own and rule Bastak and the surrounding villages and islands. It was said that a few Hashimites (descendants of Prophet Mohammed) moved to Bastak from Khonj where they had settled after leaving Iraq towards Persia. The Abbasids carried on the expansion of Bastak's rule until it included more than 60 villages and many islands in the Gulf. And many Arab tribes from Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, eastern Saudi Arabia, UAE and even Yemen, immigrated and settled in these villages which were known to have water and fertile lands. Many alliances were formed between the Bastaki rulers and the Arab rulers in UAE, Bahrain, Qatar. The most famous was an alliance with Sheikh Zayed Alnahyan (Zayed Alawal) the ruler of Bani Yas in Abu-Dhbai and Al-Ain, and Al-Qassimi rulers of Sharjah. They also allied with the Arabs tribes that resided on the southern coasts of Persia and in the islands off the coast of Persia and current day UAE. These tribes included Almarazeeq (from whom one of the Abbasi rulers married), Alhammady, Al-Ali, Alabadelah, Alnosoori, Al-harami, and others. Together these tribes fought against the sultan of Oman. In one battle the bastaki Abbasids lead, Alqawasem (Alqassimi of Lingah, Sharjah, and Ras Alkhaimah), Alali, Alhammadi, and almarazeeq on an attack against the sultan of Oman until they conquered Masqat and imposed duties on the sultan of Masqat.

Many Bastakis emigrated to Dubai, Bahrain, and Kuwait after refusing to pay taxes to Nasir al-Din, the last member of the Qajar dynasty and refusing to give up their Sunni faith, and most importantly give up the Hijab (head scarf) and their Arabic (thowb) dress which shah Pahlavi banned in effort to eradicate all Arab dynasties from Persia. The Shahs of Iran startnig late 1800s also sent troops to destroy and control all port cities in south eastern Persia where these Arab sheikdoms (alqasimi of Sharjah, Ras-Al-Khaimah and Lingah ruled critical ports and islands such as Lingah, jasm, abu musa, tumb kobra and tumb soghra, along with bandar charack and mughoo ruled by other tribes such as almarzooqi and alhammadi and al-ali. While bandar abas and other ports where under the direct control of the Abbasids of bastak, who had alliances with all other Arab tribes. Eventually all Arab sheikdoms were forced to leave their lands because of unjust practices of the Persian shia nationalists who did not want Sunni Arabs sheikdoms controlling any parts near the strait of Hurmoz, even though the central Persian government never had any direct control of these areas. Today, there are many Bastakis in Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman, who have carried their unique culture, language, and architecture with them (all of which have come about through the years of mixing of Arab and Persian heritages). They have named their neighbourhood in Dubai, Bastakeyah, after their small city of Bastak, and use an old style of cooling architecture that is represented in the Barjeel ("wind catchers") that direct the wind into the houses and cool the interior of the houses, a very common style throughout the Gulf.

Culture of the Bastakis

Bastaki people speak a local Persian dialect that is made up of Middle Persian, and Arabic (which is the language of the Abbasids, the rulers of Bastak and those who came with them from Baghdad). Many Bastakis today work as merchants and own their own businesses and are highly educated. They tend to work in finance, real estate, education and engineering sectors. Not to mention the many medical practices which they run. They are also known to be a very proud of their heritage which they preserved even though they live for many years in G.C.C. And are known to be independent yet very loyal to their rulers, to Al-Maktoums in Dubai especially and Al-Qassimi in Al-Sharjah, Al-Khalifa in Bahrain, and to other ruling families of the GCC countries where they reside.(It is worth mentioning that the Ottomans came after the Abbasids, not before)

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