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TITLEBaha'i: A Look into the World's Newest Religion, and Why Followers Find it Appealing
AUTHOR 1Anthony Hill
ABSTRACTTV news report summarizing Baha'i history and practice, and breaking the fast with some Baha'is in Florida.
NOTES Transcript prepared by Doug Couper from video online at (Video's cover image of orthodox Jews at the Wailing Wall is unrelated to the video content.)
TAGSAlan Coupe; Introductory

1. Transcript (see video below)

Baha'i: A look into the world’s newest religion, and why followers find it appealing
uploaded by ABC Action News
2022 March 18
4:26 minutes
Video description: There are more than 6 million Baha'is worldwide and about 177,000 in the United States
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[Note: there are two video introductions to this video, possibly for different news segments during the day] (Intro 1) (News announcer Jamison Uhler) "Well, it's one of the world's fastest growing religions. However, many people still have never heard of (the) Baha'i religion. Millions of people around the world have converted to it because of its message of unity and community. Our in-depth reporter Anthony Hill set out to take a look at this religion and he spoke with Baha'is right here in the Bay area about (the) tenets of their religion and what makes it so inclusive."

(Intro 2) (News announcers Sarah Phinney and James Tully) "Well, it's one of the world's newest and fastest growing religions. However, many people still have never heard of the Baha'i religion. Millions of people around the world are practising it. They've converted to it because the message of unity and community is strong to them. This morning ABC Action News reporter in-depth reporter (sic) Anthony Hill takes us inside this religion speaking with people right here in the Bay area who practise it."

(Anthony Hill): The Baha'i religion was founded in 1844 in Persia which is present-day Iran. Followers believe in the oneness of all world religions and since its founding, it's spread to nearly every corner of the planet including right here in the bay area. ... [Music] ...

In Palm Harbor, some in the Manfred family haven't eaten all day long that's because like many religions, Baha'is have a season when they fast from March 2nd to the 21st, and from sunup to sundown, Baha'is over the age of fifteen don't eat or drink. "We get up, say a prayer, eat a big breakfast and then we push through the day until sunset and then say another prayer and eat. To me it's important because it really makes me examine what I may be doing or intaking that might be excessive." We'll catch up with the Manfred family later.

I wanted to find out more about this growing religion so I went to Plant City where Dr. John Hatcher lives. He's a Professor Emeritus from the University of South Florida, and he's written several books about the Baha'i religion. "We believe there is one and God and really one religion - the religion of God but it's been revealed in successive and progressive stages throughout the history of humankind." He says Baha'is embrace the world's largest religions, such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity. They believe that God revealed himself to humanity in different parts of the world at different times through the prophets of those religions to bring teachings that address the needs and conditions of humanity. Dr. Hatcher teaches virtual classes about the history and virtues of the religion every other Wednesday and posts them on YouTube. "Hello, I'm Professor John Hatcher and I appreciate you're coming to this site."

And you won't find any sermons or clergy in a Baha'i place of worship. It's just a place where people come to reflect and pray in their own way. One of the core tenets of the religion is unity through community regardless of race, religion or nationality. (Leslie Farrell says:) "The elimination of prejudice, independent investigation of faith, equality between men and women ... ''Leslie Farrell has been a Baha'i for twenty-two years "Well, my roommate in college was a Baha'i. She didn't ever say anything though. She had a prayer book and said Baha'i prayers and I asked her "What is that?" and then she just told me about it and I thought that sounds like the religion that I have that I didn't know existed."

Meanwhile back in Palm Harbor at the Manfred's house, the sun has finally set and the family along with some of their non-Baha'i friends, are ready to break their fast - but not before a quick prayer. " In the name of Him who has been promised in the books of God, the all-knowing, the all-informed, the days of fasting have arrived wherein those servants who circle around thy throne have attained thy presence..." On the menu - chicken, fish, macaroni and cheese and fruit.

A.J. Manfred turned 16 recently and he says he made the decision to join the religion because of how inclusive it is. "Just because it's so open-minded, and I feel like me, myself, I'm an open-minded person and I really like to keep everybody, including really just diverse and that's what it sort of stands for so it's a really important one for me.

A.J.'s friend Clayton is not Baha'i but he says he always feels welcomed in that community. I always feel included when I go to the Baha'i meetings or just when we meet up and just have fun, you know, I feel really welcomed. Even though I'm not Baha'i, I still do feel welcomed and I still feel 'there'. There are more than six million Baha'is living around the world, and about one hundred and seventy-seven thousand in the United States - definitely considered a small religion but there are four places of worship right here in the Bay area.

In Tampa Bay, I'm in-depth reporter Anthony Hill - ABC Action News.

2. Video

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