- (1898-1947)Qazi Muhammad was the revered leader of the short-lived Mahabad Republic of Kurdistan that was established with Soviet help in northwestern Iran soon after World War II. An erudite and very respected hereditary religious leader and judge (qazi), he was a popular member of Mahabad's leading family and de facto ruler of the area.As president of the Kurdish republic, Qazi Muhammad instituted a functioning public administration and compulsory education. In addition, he encouraged news and cultural publications as well as a state radio. He also was noted for his chivalry toward enemies and negotiated in good faith with the Iranian government. Unfortunately, he presided over only a miniscule area extending no more than 100 kilometers around the city of Mahabad. The usual Kurdish divisions shadowed his authority, and the economic situation was desperate. Once Soviet aid was lifted due to various international pressures and the forlorn promise of Iranian oil concessions, the Iranian government easily reasserted its authority and hanged Qazi Muhammad on 31 March 1947. The memory of him, however, remains inspirational to Kurds everywhere.
Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Michael M. Gunter.
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