Religious Diversity News

American Baha’is Celebrate Holiest Period And Elect Leaders: April 21 to May 2

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Media Newswire

American Baha’is will soon celebrate Ridvan, the holiest period of the year which commemorates the Baha’i Founder’s declaration as God’s messenger, and will elect national and local leaders. 

From April 21 to May 2, hundreds of thousands of Baha’is will observe Ridvan [pronounced RIZ-von] with fellowship and devotional gatherings that recognize the beginning of their faith. Concurrently, more than 1,000 American Baha’i communities will elect nine-member Local Spiritual Assemblies to manage affairs for the next year and send 171 delegates to the Baha’i Temple near Chicago to elect their National Spiritual Assembly or nine-member national governing council for 2010-2011. 

American Baha’is Hold 97th Annual National Convention

Source: U.S. Baha’i News Service

On April 26, 2006 U.S. Baha’i News Service reported, “From April 27 to 30, the Baha’i community of the United States is holding its 97th annual national convention to elect its national governing body and consult on global plans for the Faith’s growth and development.

Approximately 170 delegates are convening at the Baha’i House of Worship for the North American Continent in Wilmette, just outside of Chicago. During the same week, Baha’is in more than 180 countries are holding their national conventions as well.

This year, Baha’is worldwide are launching a five-year effort to invite others to investigate the Baha’i Faith and join activities that promote community vitality and the application of spiritual principles to everyday life. These activities include small-group study of the Baha’i scriptures; prayer and devotions; and programs to “nurture and support children and youth in preparing for a life of service to humanity.

The Baha’i Faith has no clergy. With more than 5 million adherents from virtually every national and ethnic group on earth, its affairs are governed by a network of elected lay councils at the international, national and local levels.”

American Faith Communities Respond to Crisis in the Middle East

Source: The North Jersey News

On April 11, 2002, The North Jersey News featured an article an an interfaith prayer gathering for peace. “Religious leaders representing Muslims, Jews, Christians, and other faiths gathered together for a
prayer vigil to condemn the violence” of the current conflict in the Middle East. “Ten religious
leaders – representing Catholics, Protestants, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Bahais, and Jainists – attended
the event.”

American Journalist Brought Baha’i Faith to Guinea 50 Years Ago

Source: Baha’i World News Service

On October 28, 2004 the Baha’i World News Service reported, “When Elise Lynelle arrived in this West African country in 1954 to introduce the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, she faced two major obstacles.

The first was a restriction on free association between whites and blacks. The second was that she was allowed only a one-month visa, barely enough time to get settled, let alone explain the teachings of a world religion.

Nevertheless, she was able to help establish the Faith in this country, then known as Spanish Guinea. Fifty years later, she described those early days to participants in the jubilee celebrations, which the Baha’i community held here on 20-21 August 2004.”

Amid Persecution In Iran, Members Of FdL Bahai Community Seek Understanding

Author: Sharon Roznik

Source: Fond du Lac Reporter

While Christians observe 40 days of Lent, members of the local Bahai community observe their annual 19-day period of fasting through March 20.

Their thoughts have been focused on Iran, where seven Bahai religious leaders have been imprisoned for nearly a year awaiting trial. According to Iran media, the group is charged with espionage and insulting Islam.

Another 30 members of the faith are imprisoned in Iran because of their religious beliefs.

“Our members have been continually persecuted in Iran, the cradle of our faith,” said Peggy Neumann, secretary of Fond du Lac’s Bahais.

Since the arrests, Bahai vigils and prayer gatherings have been held across the United States in support of the seven, including a public petition for prayer hosted recently at the Fond du Lac Public Library.

Amnesty International Calls for Inquiry Into Death of Baha’i Prisoner

Source: Amnesty International public statement

On January 11, 2006 an Amnesty International public statement reported, “Amnesty International has written to the head of Iran’s Judiciary to express concern at continuing abuses committed against the country’s Baha’i community and to urge him to ensure that no-one is imprisoned on account of their religious or cultural identity or because of their peaceful activities in support of their community.

The organization said it was greatly saddened by the death in custody of Dhabihullah Mahrami, a Baha’i prisoner of conscience who had been detained for 10 years solely on account of his faith. Amnesty International urged the Iranian authorities to order a thorough and impartial investigation into the cause and circumstances of his death.

Dhabihullah Mahrami was arrested in 1995 and was sentenced to death for apostasy in 1996. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1999. Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience in 1996 and campaigned for his immediate and unconditional release, highlighting his case in a report entitled Iran: Dhabihullah Mahrami: Prisoner of Conscience (AI Index: MDE 13/34/96).”

Amnesty International Calls On Iran to Free Baha’is On Trial

Author: Staff Writer

Source: WashingtonTV

Amnesty International called on the Iranian authorities on Wednesday to release seven Baha’is who are being tried on charges that include spying for Israel.

The first court session for the five men and two women, who have been held for some 20 months, was held on Tuesday.

“The seven are prisoners of conscience, held solely on account of their beliefs or peaceful activities on behalf of the persecuted Baha’i community, and must be immediately and unconditionally set free,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program.

Anchorage Baha’i Community Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Source: Anchorage Daily News

On March 21, 1998, the Anchorage Daily News reported that “The faces in the room varied. Native, black, white, Hispanic and Middle Eastern Baha’is gathered last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Anchorage Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is.”

Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Baha’i World News Service

On July 9, Baha’is around the world commemorate the date in 1850 that the Bab – one of two main figures in the founding of their Faith – was executed by a firing squad in Iran, then called Persia.

The Bab, whose name means “gate” in Arabic, had declared in 1844 that He was a messenger of God sent to prepare the way for the long-awaited promised one of all religions who would come to establish an age of universal peace. In 1863 Baha’u’llah announced publicly that He was that promised one.

The Bab attracted tens of thousands of followers, and the unease and commotion created by His message led the authorities to put him to death on a charge of heresy. He and a disciple who begged to share His martyrdom were executed by a firing squad of 750 soldiers in a public square in Tabriz.

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