Chronology of the Bahá'í Faith

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date event tags firsts
2024 22 - 23 Sep The 75th Anniversary of the United Nations was marked in June 2020 with a declaration by Member States that included 12 overarching commitments along with a request to the Secretary-General for recommendations to address both current and future challenges.

In September 2021, the Secretary-General responded with his report, Our Common Agenda, a wake-up call to speed up the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and propel the commitments contained in the UN75 Declaration. In some cases, the proposals addressed gaps that had emerged since 2015, requiring new intergovernmental agreements. The report, therefore, called for a Summit of the Future to forge a new global consensus on readying for a future that is rife with risks but also opportunities. The General Assembly welcomed the submission of the "rich and substantive" report and agreed to hold the Summit on 22-23 September 2024, preceded by a ministerial meeting in 2023. An action-oriented Pact for the Future is expected to be agreed by Member States through intergovernmental negotiations on issues they decide to take forward. [Road to the Summit of the Future]

United Nations; Summit of the Future; New York, USA; New York City, NY
2024 21 Jun The Huthi de facto authorities released Baha’i human rights activist Abdullah al-Olofi from over a year in arbitrary detention, yet are continuing to arbitrarily detain four other Bahá'ís. The four remaining prisoners are Abdul’elah Muhammad al-Boni, 30, Hassan Tariq Thabet al-Zakari, 28, Muhammad Bashir Abdel Jalil, 25, and Ibrahim Ahmad Jo’eil, 49,

On 25 May 2023, armed Huthi forces stormed a peaceful gathering of Baha’is in a private residence in Sana’a and arbitrarily detained 17 people, including five women. They forcibly disappearedthem for around four months until their families learned they were being held at Huthi-run security and intelligence detention centres in Sana’a. Between June 2023 and June 2024, 13 individuals including Abdullah al-Olofi and all five women were released following international pressure. The four remaining Bahá'ís continued to be held without charge and were denied their right to legal counsel.

Since 2015, Amnesty International has documented the cases of at least 100 members of the Bahá'í faith in Yemen, who have been detained by the Huthi de facto authorities and subjected to enforced disappearance, incommunicado detention, torture and ill-treatment and denied fair trial rights. [Amnesty International 27 May 2021]

Persecution, Yemen
2024 8 Mar A report mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran on November 24, 2022, to investigate alleged human rights violations in Iran related to the protests that followed Mahsa Amini's death, said the mission "has established the existence of evidence of trauma to Ms. Amini's body, inflicted while in the custody of the morality police." United Nations; Mahsa Amini
2024 Jan The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States established the Corinne True Center for Bahá'í History. Its stated purpose was to foster the study of Bahá'í history, Bahá'í sacred texts, Bahá'í philosophical and theological concepts, and world religions from a Bahá'í and comparative perspective. It will accomplish this through online noncredit courses, web presentations and interviews, online seminars, online conferences, in-person conferences, and publication of some of the resulting research. It will seek to support these subjects at three levels in order to provide comprehensive support to Bahá'í culture and Bahá'í scholarship: at an introductory level, to inform rank and file believers and their friends and encourage them to do basic scholarship; at an advanced level, for Bahá'ís and their friends wishing to go into greater depth of study and research; and at the graduate and postgraduate levels, via seminars and academic-level conferences.

A website has been established and they have a YouTube and a Facebook presence as well.

Corinne True Center for Bahá'í History; Corinne True; USA
2024 (In the year) The publication of Adasiyyih: The Story of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's Model Farming Community by Paul Hanley. Published by Bahá'í Publishing in Evanston, IL.

This book follows the story of the ‘Adasíyyih community, a farming village established by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá , in what is now Jordan. Bahá'ís from Iran settled there and transformed a degraded parcel of land into the site of a thriving farm and prosperous community whose residents embodied the Bahá'í teachings. It was this farming village— along with several others in the region of the Galilee— that produced a surplus of crops, which enabled ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to keep famine at bay for so many people during World War I, a feat that would earn Him a knighthood from the British Empire. In time, ‘Adasíyyih would become a model village for Jordanians, and Jordan’s royalty would become frequent guests. Author Paul Hanley’ s extensive research, along with his deep interest in agricultural systems, provides a fascinating glimpse at this remarkable history and the lessons that can be applied to current agroecological efforts.

Adasiyyih, Palestine
2023 19 Dec The publication of the second edition of Time and the Bahá'í Era A Study of the Badí Calendar by Gerald Keil. It was published by George Ronald Publishers. - Badi calendar; - Calendars (general); * Publications
2023 4 Dec In a statement released by the Bahá'í Community titled, A Change in Tactics: The Iranian Government's Recent Persecution of Bahá'ís, it was reported that the latest change in tactics represents an escalation and intensification of its policy of systematic persecution against the community.

The statement detailed a range of new and ever harsher methods the authorities are using to persecute the Bahá'ís. The methods include home raids and searches, arrests, trials, prison terms, land and property confiscations, hate speech, the denial of education, and the denial of burial rights and of basic citizenship rights. The principal goal of these new tactics, the Bahá'í International Community believes, is to sow fear and confusion, to disenfranchise and further impoverish Baha'is, to prolong the harassment of individuals, and to instill feelings of uncertainty and thus rob all Baha'is of peace and security in their daily lives.

Persecution, Iran; Bahá'í International Community; Iran
2023 28 Nov On 28 November 2023 the Universal House of Justice, in a Message addressed to the Bahá'ís of the World, published a review of the previous 100 years of the Formative Age.

It bears a similarity to the Lawḥ-i-Qarn (Tablet of the Centennial) that Shoghi Effendi sent to the Bahá'ís of Iran to commemorate the Centenary of the Faith in 1944.

* Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; Reflections on the First Century of the Formative Age (letter); - Historical overviews by Central Figures or BWC; - Bahá'í World Centre
2023 21 Nov The publication of A Day for Great Things: The Lives of Howard Colby and Mabel Rice-Wray Ives by Earl Redman and Erica Toussaint. It was published by George Ronald Publishers. * Publications; Howard Colby Ives; Mabel Rice-Wray Ives
2023 11 Nov The publication of Abdu'l-Bahā Abbās': Head of the Bahá'í Faith / A Life in Social & Regional Context by Joshua Lincoln. It was published by Idra Publishing in Tel Aviv. - `Abdu'l-Bahá,; Tel Aviv, Israel; Israel
2023 November Mahvash Sabet, from her prison cell, sent an open letter to the people of Iran. [Letter] Yaran; Tehran, Iran; Iran
2023 6 Oct The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2023 to Narges Mohammadi for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all. Her brave struggle came with tremendous personal costs. In 2003 she became involved with the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran, an organisation founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. In 2011 Ms Mohammadi was arrested for the first time and sentenced to many years of imprisonment for her efforts to assist incarcerated activists and their families. Altogether, the regime arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes. She was in prison at the time of the announcement.

Ms. Mohammadi was unable to attend and her 17-year-old twin children, Kiana Rahmani and Ali Rahmani, instead accepted medal and diploma on her behalf and read out a speech she had prepared. [New York Times 10 December 2023]

In September 2022 a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Jina Amini, was killed while in the custody of the Iranian morality police. Her killing triggered the largest political demonstrations against Iran's theocratic regime since it came to power in 1979. Under the slogan "Woman – Life – Freedom", hundreds of thousands of Iranians took part in peaceful protests against the authorities' brutality and oppression of women. The regime cracked down hard on the protests: more than 500 demonstrators were killed. Thousands were injured, including many who were blinded by rubber bullets fired by the police. At least 20,000 people were arrested and held in regime custody. [Nobel Prize]

Mohammadi's husband, Taghi Rahmani, said at a press conference in Oslo that she would undertake the hunger strike as a gesture of support for the Bahá'í religious minority. [Yahoo News 10 December 2023] .

Oslo, Norway; Norway
2023 3 Oct The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the OHCHR filed its report on Qatar. One Committee Expert expressed grave concerns about reports of discrimination of religious minorities, notably against persons belonging to the Baha'i religious community, which was not recognised and denied registration in Qatar. Members of the Baha'i minority had been subjected to administrative deportation and blacklisting, resulting in loss of employment and familial separation.

Hend Bint Abalrahman Al-Muftah, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations office in Geneva, and head of delegation,Hend Bint Abalrahman Al-Muftah, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations office in Geneva, and head of delegation, responded by stating that "The State did not consider religion when determining whether to provide residency or not, the delegation said. No person of Baha'i faith or other faiths were deported unless they unlawfully stayed in Qatar." [OHCHR website]

Persecution, Qatar; Qatar
2023 27 Sep The passing of Mavis Cox Changawa (b. 1922 Moruga, Trinidad and Tobago) in Nairobi at the age of about 100. [Find a grave]

Mavis Cox was a distinguished pioneer from the Caribbean city of Moruga, Trinidad and Tobago. She journeyed to Africa in 1955, immediately after becoming a Bahá'í while in Harlem, in Upper Manhattan, New York City. This video was recorded on her 94th Birthday in 2016 while she narrated her history and sojourn in Eastern Africa. In the 80's into the early 2000's, she was in charge of the Kilifi Bahá'í Institute at the Coastal region of Kenya and later moved to Nairobi where she served the Kenyan Bahá'í Community in many capacities. Her life is a legacy of absolute resilience, dedicated service and obedience to the Centre of the Covenant. [From Trinidad to Africa With Faith ----The Story of Mavis Cox Changawa]

In Memoriam; Mavis Cox Changawa; Nairobi, Kenya; Kenya
2023 19 Sep It was announced that the Bahá'í World News Service was expanded to include the Persian language on its website. While a distinct Persian site had existed until recently, this integration represented an important step in offering visitors a more complete experience. Accompanying this release was the launch of a dedicated YouTube channel, offering Persian-language versions of BWNS video productions on developments in the global Bahá'í community. [BWNS1695] Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
2023 15 Sep The publication of Rúhíyyih Khánum by Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman. The biography was published by Baha'i Publications Australia. Ruhiyyih Khanum
2023 26 Aug The publication of Baha'i Community of the British Isles 1844–1963 by Adam Thorne, Moojan Momen, Janet Rose, Earl Redman. It was published by George Ronald Publishers.

The British Bahá'í community has been in existence since 1899 and its elected national leadership council, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles (later the United Kingdom), was first elected in 1923. Although a number of monographs, articles and biographies have appeared over the years, no overall survey of the community's history has yet been published. The Bahá'í Community of the British Isles, 1844–1963 is an attempt to fill some of the gap.

Oxford, England; United Kingdom
2023 8 Aug The publication of Servant to the Servants; Roy C. Wilhelm, Hand of the Cause of God by Joel Nizin, Kathryn Jewett Hogenson and Gary L. Hogenson. It was published by Bahá'í Publishing in Evanson, IL. * Publications; Roy C. Wilhelm
2023 22 Aug The launch of the Townshend Taherzadeh Library and Archives established in honour of George Townshend (1876-1957), the founding figure of the Irish Bahá'í Community, and Adib Taherzadeh (1921-2000), a father figure during its formative years. the library's primary founding objectives are to promote, preserve and provide accessibility to the rich history and development of the Bahá'í Faith in the island of Ireland and throughout the world, and to become a centre of learning and research for future generations.

Website.

Waterford, Ireland; Ireland
2023 Aug The release of the compilation To Set the World in Order: Building and Preserving Strong Marriages prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice. Marriage; - Bahá'í World Centre
2023 14 - 18 Aug The Parliament was held in Chicago at McCormick Place. The theme was A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights. There were more than 7,000 attendees representing more that 95 countries. [Chicago 2023] Parliament of the Worlds Religions; Chicago, IL; USA
2023 13 Aug The arrest of Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, a 90-year-old Bahá'í in failing health who had already served 10 years in prison (2008-2018) for his membership in the Yaran. His arrest, along with his daughter, Maria Khanjani, were part of a new wave of repression targeting the Bahá'ís that has seen over 180 incidents of persecution against the community in recent weeks. Note

Mr. Khanjani's arrest comes days after two other Bahá'í women and former Yaran members, Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi, received confirmation of their 10-year prison terms which were upheld this week on appeal. A fourth member of the Yaran, Afif Naimi was also arrested a year ago and has recently received a seven-year jail term. His brother, Enoyatollah, was sentenced to 18 years in prison by Judge Morteza Barati of the Isfahan Revolutionary Court, 10 years for "organizing a group or association aimed at undermining national security" and to five years in prison for "propaganda against the regime". If the verdict is upheld by the appeals court,Naimi must serve the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The court also sentenced him to a fine of 50 million tomans and deprived him of his civil rights for 15 years. [Iranwire 15 may 2023]

Nine other Bahá'ís were also arrested on the same day as Mr Khanjani. They are the owners and employees of a number of pharmacy businesses, which were sealed and shut down by the authorities. They have been accused of disrupting pharmaceutical supplies. In the face of growing solidarity between the Bahá'ís and the general population the government is trying to drive a wedge by calling these legitimate Bahá'í-owned trading businesses "hoarders". These new arrests have taken the number of Bahá'ís arrested or imprisoned in recent weeks to almost 60 incidents. During the same period, over 26 Bahá'ís also received sentences for jail terms that could begin at any time. Further, 18 Bahá'ís have faced interrogations. Fifty-nine Bahá'í-owned businesses were reported to have been sealed by the authorities and the homes of nine others were raided and searched. The brutal crackdown is reminiscent of August last year, where over 300 incidents of persecution against the Bahá'ís occurred in one month alone. [BIC News 16 August 2023; HRANA]

Persecution, Iran; Yaran; Tehran, Iran; Iran
2023 11 Aug The Tehran Court of Appeal maintained the original rulings against Baha'i citizens, Mahvash Sabet (Shahriari) and Fariba Kamalabadi, confirming their 20-year prison terms. Initially, both women were sentenced to ten years, along with additional penalties by the Tehran Revolutionary Court on charges of "forming and leading groups to act against national security." Following these apprehensions, the Ministry of Intelligence released a video portraying these individuals as spies, alleging their involvement in infiltrating kindergartens to propagate their beliefs and advocating for the removal of hijab.

A source close to Sabet's family revealed that Sabet, aged 70, is battling multiple illnesses that have been aggravated by her prolonged imprisonment. Over the past few months, she has faced several hospitalizations. [Iran Press Watch 11 August 2-23]

They, along with fellow former member of the "Yaran", Mr Afif Naimi, had been arrested on the 31st of July at the outset of the summer crackdown. [BIC News 18 November 2022]

Persecution, Iran; Yaran; Tehran, Iran; Iran
2023 5 - 9 June The second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly was held in Nairobi, Kenya under the theme "A sustainable urban future through inclusive and effective multilateralism: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in times of global crises." (The First Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly was held in Nairobi, from 27-31 May 2019, where the organizational components necessary for the Assembly's functioning, were approved and resolutions were adopted various subjects.) [Earth Negotiations Bulletin]
  • See One Planet, One Habitation: A Baháʼí Perspective on Recasting Humanity's Relationship With the Natural World and BWNS1599.
  • See Working toward One Planet and One Habitation: Sustainability and Environmental Efforts by Bahá'í Communities Around the World. This document shares examples of how Bahá'í communities are learning with others how those principles can be translated into reality and action—how growing numbers are striving to learn how to build more sustainable, holistic, and just societies. Case studies from Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, Singapore, Vanuatu, Zambia, Dominica, and United States of America, Navajo Nation are presented.
  • United Nations; Bahá'í International Community; Environment; Nairobi, Kenya
    2023 2 Jun The Huthi-affiliated Grand Mufti in Sana’a attacked the Bahá'ís in Yemen in his Friday sermon, accusing them of seeking to harm the country and inciting violence against them. [Amnesty International 23 May 2024] Persecution, Yemen
    2023 25 May The Yemeni Houthis carried out an attack on a peaceful gathering of Bahá'ís in Sana'a detaining and disappearing 17 individuals including 5 women. The attack occurred as the Baha'is had gathered at a residence to elect the national governing body for the Yemeni Bahá'í community and was recorded on the Zoom call in progress at the time. The detainees' whereabouts and wellbeing were unknown. The Baha'i International Community reported that they had "been alerted to other incidents suggesting that the raid may be the first of more attempts by security to target Baha'is across Houthi-controlled Yemen" and that details of these incidents were being withheld for security reasons. [Iranwire 26 May 2023; BWNS1671]

    Subsequently one man and three women were released in June and two men in July. [Amnesty International 8 August 2023]

  • In a sermon on the 2nd of June the Houthi's Grand Muft,i Shams al-Din Sharaf al-Din, delivered a bloodcurdling sermon filled with disinformation and hate against the Bahá'ís. He insisted that while Islam protects the freedom of belief, anyone who leaves Islam should be killed. [UN Dispatch 12 June 2023] iiiii
  • Persecution, Yemen; Sanaa, Yemen; Yemen
    2023 15 May The Universal House of Justice announced the appointment of the members of the International Teaching Centre for the five-year term beginning 23 May 2023. Those appointed were: Antonella Demonte, Gloria Javid, Dinesh Kumar, Kanagaratnam Lakmeeharan, Rachel Ndegwa, Amir Saberin, Navid Serrano, Mehranguiz Farid Tehrani, and Holly Woodard. [message from the NSA of Canada to all assemblies, councils and groups S127916 dated 15 May 2023] International Teaching Centre, Members of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2023 15 May The Bahá'í International Community announced the launching a global campaign, called #OurStoryIsOne, to honour the 10 Iranian women executed forty years prior and the long struggle for gender equality lived by women of all faiths and backgrounds in Iran for many decades and which continued in that country. The campaign started in June and spanned a year, with its most intensive phase taking place the first three weeks of June, leading up to the 40th anniversary of their execution on 18 June.

    The BIC invited people around the world, whether as artists, musicians, filmmakers, or in other creative areas, to pay tribute in their name. Contributions included: songs about the 10 women, short videos about their lives, a memory of the women themselves, graphic arts, written work, social media posts, or public events and memorials, to honour the longstanding struggle and efforts towards gender equality in Iran.

    Details about the 10 women and a recounting of the story of their arrest and public execution can be found here.

    Please see BIC News 1 August 2023 for a complete report.

    On the 12th of September 2023 the US House of Representatives has passed a resolution about the Bahá'ís in Iran with 28 congressional co-sponsors—an unprecedented number of co-sponsors among congressional resolutions on the persecution of the Bahá'ís in Iran for at least 20 years. House Resolution 492, was introduced by Illinois Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky. It follows Ms. Schakowsky's strong support for the ongoing #OurStoryIsOne campaign, launched in June of this year where she initially announced this bill. The campaign began in honour of the 40th anniversary of the execution of 10 Baha'i women in Shiraz for their beliefs. The Baha'i International Community dedicated the campaign and the anniversary to all women in Iran who continue to struggle for the cause of gender equality.

    The resolution begins with the execution of the 10 women, stating, "[w]hereas June 18, 2023, marks the 40th anniversary of the execution of 10 Bahá'í women by the Iranian Government each witnessing the hanging of those hanged before her in a final failed attempt to induce abandonment of their faith after over 6 months of imprisonment and violent abuse, with the youngest only 17 years old."

    It further condemns the "violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights," calling on the Iranian government to "immediately release Baha'is and others imprisoned or detained solely on account of religion, end its state-sponsored campaign of hate propaganda against the Bahá'ís, and reverse policies that discriminate against Bahá'ís and other religious minorities. [GlobeNewswire 12 September 2023; Iran Press Watch 15 September 2023]

    Persecution, Iran; Bahá'í International Community; Geneva, Switzerland; Switzerland; Shíráz, Iran; Iran
    2023 7 May The passing of Jack Edwards McCants (b. Dallas, Texas 19 January 1930) in the Houston area. He was buried at Calvary Hill Cemetery in Humble, Texas. Mr McCants was an ordained Methodist minister until becoming a Bahá'í in 1959. He received a doctorate in public health administration. He served as an Auxiliary Board Member from 1965-1967 and was first elected to the National Spiritual Assembly in 1968. He left after two years to help set up the first mental Health institutions in the Pacific islands. He was elected to the National Assembly of Samoa in 1975 and then moved to the Philippines in 1978. He returned to the USA in 1980 and was again elected to the National Asmelby in 1986 and retired in 2002. [Calvary Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery. iiiii Reza Shah Pahlavi; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2023 11 Apr After the trial, Fariba Kamalabadi, tried with Mahvash Sabet, was transferred to the women's ward for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Sabet was kept at Ward 209 and transferred to the women's ward after 40 days, during which time nobody knew what had happened to her.

    Independent Iranian news sources reported that Mahvash Sabet Shahriari was said to have had her knees injured while under interrogation by officials in Evin jail. Evin prison is often called the "world's worst prison". It has a reputation for its inhumane living conditions, where inmates are subjected to daily whippings, beatings and torture. Former inmates have previously spoken about the barbaric horrors they witnessed while in Evin- including electrocution, rape, torture and executions. [Daily Mail 11 April 2023]

    IranWire received an audio file from Faezeh Hashemi, a political activist and daughter of late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, herself jailed in Evin but briefly released on a leave of absence, spoke about her cellmates. "Mahvash recounts that during an interrogation the interrogator kicked the chair from under her and, since she was facing the wall, her knees hit the wall. Now, they have X-rayed her in prison and told her that the bones in her knees are broken. She is in such a condition, 70 years old, innocent and in prison only because she is a Baha'i," Hashemi said in the recording. People close to Fariba and Mahvash believe that the delay in transferring Mahvash to the women's ward was most likely because of her broken knees, since interrogators wanted to keep it a secret and kept her in solitary confinement until she could walk. [IranWire 31 July 2023]

    Persecution, Iran; Mahvash Sabet; Tehran, Iran; Iran
    2023 30 Mar A deceased Bahá'í was buried on 30 March at Khavaran cemetery near Tehran by an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence without notifying the family of the deceased. The agent had demanded that the family pay an exorbitant fee for burial within plots already owned and previously managed by the Baha'í community. He threatened the family that failure to meet his demands would result in the burial taking place in a site adjacent to the Bahá'í cemetery previously used by the government to bury executed political prisoners. In a further development the same intelligence agent threatened to bury another Bahá'í under the same circumstance if the family of the deceased also refused to yield to his demands. [BIC News 3 April 2023]
  • See as well Iranwire 11 July 2023.
  • - Persecution; Tehran, Iran; Iran
    2023 11 - 12 Mar The 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was held at the UN in New York. [Values in Innovation: Women's Engagement in Re-Imagining Digital Technologies BIC Statements 22Feb2023. United Nations; Commission on the Status of Women; New York, USA; New York City, NY
    2023 8 Mar The publication of One More Mountain: Fleeing Iran for America by Mansur Nurel with Jeannette Monger. It was independently published. It is an autobiographic story of a young man of 25 who, with two friends, crossed the Zagros Mountains in the height of winter to seek asylum in Turkey. His journey took him to the United State more than a year later where he started his new life.
  • Read/hear an interview with the author in the Longmont Leader.
  • Persecution, Iran
    2023 13 Feb The publication of Alma Sedonia Knobloch by Jennifer Redson Wiebers. It was published by George Ronald Publisher.

              This book shines a light on a remarkable heroine of the Bahá'í Faith. Alma Knobloch (1864-1943) one of the three Knobloch sisters, raised up the first African-American community in North America, and was instrumental in the growth of the Bahá'í community in Germany. In His Tablets of the Divine Plan, 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote: 'Likewise Miss Knobloch travelled alone to Germany. To what a great extent she became confirmed!'
              Alma's 13 years in Germany saw an astonishing growth in the Bahá'í community to become the largest in Europe. Following 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit in 1913 and the outbreak of the First World War, the emerging community focused its efforts on peace: soldiers who had attended Bahá'í meetings entered the battlefields with Baha'i prayers and quotations against their breasts. Alma continued to open new Bahá'í communities, and at the end of the War she emerged from the bomb shelters of Mannheim to receive confirmations in large halls overflowing with hundreds of people who came to hear the message of Baha'u'llah throughout Germany. She also taught early believers in Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic, as well as future Hand of the Cause Hermann Grossmann, and the first European martyr, Adam Benke. Many of the Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá to Alma and other believers in Germany from 1908 to 1920 are published in English in this book for the first time.
              In 1920, Alma returned to the United States, where she dedicated the rest of her days to race unity, fearlessly crossing the racial and social barriers to build up lasting communities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. These later years of her life have been little known until now and are recounted here.

    2023 23 Jan The Addis Ababa Office of the Bahá'í International Community (BIC) released a short video titled Women in Peace, exploring the important role that women can play in the peace-building process. Dr Solomon Belay of the BIC said that there is a relationship between the advancement of women and the creation of prosperous and peaceful societies and that full participation of women in all spheres of society is required, especially in leadership roles. [BWNS1640] Bahá'í International Community; - Film; Solomon Belay; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Ethiopia
    2023 18 Jan The publication of a revised edition Journey of Courage; From Disability to Spiritual Ability compiled by Frances Mezei & Shirlee Smith. It was published by Bahá'í Publications Australia. Frances Mezei; Shirlee Smith; Australia
    2023 9 Jan In an article in the Jewish News Syndicate dated the 9th of January 2023 it was announced that the Shrine was expected to be ready by the end of 2024. Quoting the public information officer at the Bahá'í World Center, Sala Sabet, and David Freeman, the Jerusalem representative of the Bahá'í International Community, the article included some statistics about the project and the Faith in general.
  • The cost of construction the Shrine itself is expected to be about $75 million.
  • It will stretch across 3,000 square meters (32,300 square feet) and will be surrounded by flowering gardens on an area of approximately 58,000 square metres (14.33 acres)
  • About 1.2 million people visited the Bahá'í Holy Sites in 2019 including about 5,000 Bahá'í pilgrims.
  • More than 700 Bahá'í volunteers from 80 countries were currently servicing the sites in Israel, about 20% of whom were gardeners.
  • Some 8.5 million Bahá'ís lived in 190 countries, as of that date, including 2 million in India, which has the largest Bahá'í community.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Statistics; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2023 5 Aug On July 31, 2022, the Ministry of Intelligence conducted a large-scale, systematic raid on the homes of numerous Bahá'í citizens. Saman Ostovar was arrested as part of this operation. He was released on bail after spending four and a half months in temporary detention. Subsequently, the Revolutionary Court of Karaj handed down a sentence of five years in prison, and a five-year deprivation of social rights after his prison term. He was also exiled from Alborz province for two years and prohibited from leaving Iran for 2 years. A two-year ban on engaging in any educational and cultural activities was also imposed. Since 2017 Ostavar and friends had been operating a private school, "Saman's School", their own educational initiative, outside the standard school system. The school was shut down and no consideration was given to the academic needs of its students.
  • He began serving his sentence on the 5th of August, 2023. [IranWire 5 September 2023]
  • Persecution, Iran; Karaj; Iran
    2022 The year in review For a review of the treatment of the Bahá'ís in Iran during the year see the US State Department's 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Iran for 2022 and search on "Baha'i". Persecution, Iran; Iran
    2022 (In the year) HRANA's (Human Rights Activists News Agency) annual report in 2022 has highlighted a concerning trend where about 65% of reported human rights violations against religious minorities are directed toward the Bahá'í community. [HRANA] Persecution, Iran; Iran
    2022 20 - 21 Dec The Appeals Examination Circuit of Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court upheld a ruling issued by the Alexandria Administrative Court allowing the Governorate of Alexandria to deny a request submitted by the Bahá'í community to create a new cemetery for the community.

    Members of the Bahá'í community had requested that the Alexandria administrative authorities allocate a piece of land to be used as a burial site for its members because, at that time,, only a single cemetery space in Cairo's Basatin neighbourhood was available to the thousands of Egyptians of the Bahá'í Faith. This resulted in the depletion of the cemetery's capacity and forced families of deceased Bahá'ís to transport their loved ones' remains to Cairo from all across Egypt.

    The legal representative of the Bahá'í community argued before the Alexandria Administrative Court that local administrative authorities had previously approved the allocation of burial sites for individuals who are not affiliated with the three officially recognized religions in Egypt — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. He noted that the Cairo Governorate had leased land to the Indian Embassy to cremate the bodies of deceased Hindus in 1964. The Cairo authorities had also granted Bahá'ís the right to bury members of their community in a separate piece of land in 1965. He added that the Governorates of Ismailia and Port Said had approved the allocation of burial sites to the Bahá'í community in 1944 and 1949. Therefore, on the grounds that local governments had previously allocated burial sites to individuals not affiliated with the three recognized religions, the Governorate of Alexandria had no right to reject the Baha'i community's request that a new burial site be allocated for its members.

    The reason given for not allowing the appeal by the court was that the Egyptian state recognizes only Islam, Judaism, and Christianity as religions. This was based on the opinionof the Islamic Research Academy affiliated with the Al-Azhar, the main Islamic institution of Egypt. The Islamic Research Academy claimed in a report submitted to the court that providing a burial site for the Bahá'í community would "lead to discrimination, further division, fragmentation, and rupture of the fabric of one society."

    In another decision issued on December 20, 2022, the Administrative Court of the Governorate of Port Said rejected a petition submitted by members of the Bahá'í community to allocate a piece of land to be used as a new burial site by the community. In this case they had asked that a burial site should be located on a piece of land that had been confiscated in the 1970's for which no compensation was forthcoming. This request was also disallowed. [EIN Newswire]

    Persecution, Egypt; Alexandria, Egypt; Egypt; Port Said, Egypt; Egypt
    2022 15 Dec The Bahá'í World Centre announced that work had begun on the 'Akká Visitors' Centre which will accommodate pilgrims and visitors to the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Ridván Garden. The complex will consist of three buildings: a pilgrim reception centre, which will be the largest of the buildings, a public visitors' centre, which will be located near the northernmost gate to the site, and a utility building located along the east fence. When the project is completed, pilgrims and visitors will enter the grounds through the east gate, where they can visit the 'Akká Visitor Centre before continuing along the path designed to facilitate stages on a meditative journey toward the Shrine. [BWNS1631] `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 6 Dec The release of the film A Library for All Who Seek Knowledge by the Bahá'í World News Service, a short documentary about the Afnan Library in Sandy, Bedfordshire. [BWNS1630] Afnan Library; - Film; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Sandy, England
    2022 21 Nov The sentencing of Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi in Revolutionary Court's Branch 26 in Tehran with Judge Iman Afshar presiding as judge, prosecutor and jury. They were both sentenced to another 10 years in prison. They had to be released in 2018.

    They had been arrested on the 31st of July at the start of yet another crackdown against the Iranian Bahá'ís. Thirteen Bahá'ís were arrested in the raid including Afif Naeimi. Sabet, Kamalabadi and Naeimi were members of a group of people known as the "Yaran," or "Friends" of Iran, which until 2008 served as an informal leadership of the Iranian Bahá'í community. All seven of its members were arrested in 2007 and 2008 and jailed for a decade. [BWNS1631; BIC News 1AUF22; Iran Press Watch 14DEC22; Iran Press Watch July 31, 2023]

  • More than 320 Bahá'ís have been affected by individual acts of persecution since the 31 July arrest of Mahvash and Fariba. Dozens were arrested at various points in Shiraz, across Mazandaran province, and elsewhere throughout the country. [BIC New 18 Nov22]
  • Homes owned by Bahá'ís in the village of Roshankouh were demolished. [BIC News]
  • Government plans to tar the Bahá'ís through hate speech and propaganda were also exposed. [BIC News; BIC News]
  • At this time at least 90 Bahá'ís were in prison awaiting court proceedings or were subject to degrading ankle-band monitoring. [BWNS1631]
  • Mahvash Sabet; Fariba Kamalabadi; Afif Naeimi; Persecution, Iran; Tehran, Iran; Iran
    2022 8 Nov In a message addressed to all National Spiritual Assemblies the Universal House of Justice advised that Mr. Stephen Birkland and Mr. Stephen Hall have requested permission to relinquish their membership on the Universal House of Justice in accordance with Article V.2.(c) of its Constitution. They will continue to serve on the institution until the date of the completion of the election of the Universal House of Justice at the Thirteenth International Bahá'í Convention to be held at Riḍván 2023. [letter from the NSA of Canada S123870 8 November 2022; BWNS1655] Universal House of Justice, Members of; Stephen Birkland; Stephen Hall; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 1 Nov The Universal House of Justice addressed the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a message dated 1 November 2022, relating to the Nine Year Plan (2022-2031), ethnic and cultural diversity, the human family's crisis of identity, prejudice, Africa, and economic injustice.

    The letter starts with the statement, "Your country is blessed with remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity." (para 2). Indeed, there are about 250 ethnic groups in the DRC and 240 identified languages, four of which have been chosen as official regional languages with French being the common language of Instruction, business, national administration and external relations. More than half the population live in a rural setting and just less than half of the population is under the age of 15 years. [Britannica]

    More information about the Faith in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be found in Bahaipedia and Bahá'í Media.

    * Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2022 1 Oct The passing of Kevin Locke, (b. Los Angeles, CA 1983) renowned Native American hoop dancer, self-taught traditional flute player, story teller, recording artist, educator and cultural ambassador, at the age of 68 in Custer, SD. [Native News OnLine; Inforum]
  • He recorded his first album, "Love Songs of the Lakota" in 1982 with Indian House Records and went on to record 13 albums. At the Native American Music Awards, Locke's music won "Best Traditional Recording" for "The First Flute" in 1999 and "Album of the Year" for "Earth Gift" in 2009. [Albums; Wikipedia]
  • In 2018, Kevin founded the Patricia Locke Foundation to provide cultural programming for communities. The foundation is named after Kevin's late mother, who was one of the authors of the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act (1978), and an advocate for education and tribal colleges. [Native News Online]
  • He was he the author of children's book with an Indigenous content. [Strong Nations website]
  • His autobiography titled Arising, written with Kim Douglas and Aleah Douglas-Khavari, was published by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust in 2018. Throughout the pages of Arising, Kevin brings his international travels to life in colourful detail; reflects on the significance of the Bahá'í Faith, the religion with the world-embracing vision that he embraced early in his adult life; recounts his experiences with and lessons learned from his mother, a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award; and shares his understanding of Lakota belief and culture. The result is a beautiful book full of engaging stories and a deep spirituality that will touch the hearts of many readers.
  • See his website and his FaceBook page.
  • Kevin Locke; In Memoriam; Custer, SD; South Dakota, USA; USA
    2022 22 Sep The screening of the documentary film 'Others' in Their Own Land at the Toronto Bahá'í Centre. The film was directed by Farid Haerinejad, an Iranian-Canadian journalist and film-maker living in Germany. He had made several films about minorities in Iran, prior to making this film he had heard about the Bahá'í faith but did not know much about the Bahá'ís in Iran. He wanted to make sure that such a story was told truthfully and passionately and was glad that he could receive first-hand information from his Bahá'í friends.

    The film focuses on the period following the Islamic Revolution and traces the impact of the persecution of the Bahá'ís on several individuals and families. It contrasts the personal lives of Bahá'ís with the public statements of Iranian officials, highlighting the stigmatization and oppression of the Bahá'í minority in Iran.

  • The film is available on YouTube. [CBNS 22Sep2022; BIC News 31 Oct 2022]
  • Farid Haerinejad; - Film; - Film; 'Others' in Their Own Land; Toronto, ON; Canada
    2022 19 - 23 Sep People from nearby neighbourhoods gathered at the temple site to weave aluminum strips into a traditional pattern that will adorn the interior walls of the central edifice. The design of the temple dome and the interior weaving pattern are symbolic of unity and the coming together of people from diverse backgrounds.

    The progress on the construction work can be see in the gallery of pictures on the BWNS website. [BWNS1617]

    Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Port Moresby; * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Design; - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Architecture; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Papua New Guinea
    2022 16 Sep The death fo 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, while being held by Iran's religious police for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic's dress code for women. . She was from the tow of Saqqez, Kurdistan Province, in northwestern Iran. Amini had come to Tehran to visit her brother and on 13 September 2022 was arrested by the Guidance Patrol in Tehran while in the company of her family. She was then transferred to the custody of Moral Security. Her brother, who was with her when she was arrested, was told she would be taken to the detention centre to undergo a "briefing class" and released an hour later. Her brother was later informed his sister had a heart attack and a brain seizure at the police station to which she had been taken. Two hours after her arrest, she was taken to Kasra Hospital.

    According to Amini's cousin, she was tortured and insulted in the van, as witnessed by her co-detainees. After she arrived at the police station, she began to lose vision and fainted. It took 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and an hour and a half for her to get to Kasra hospital.

    For two days, Amini was in a coma in Kasra Hospital in Tehran. On 16 September, a journalist broke the story of her coma, posting to Twitter a photo of Amini's father and grandmother crying and embracing in the hospital hallway. Amini died in the intensive care unit later that day. [Wikipedia]

    A movement, "Woman, Life, Freedom" sprang up in the wake of Amini's death seeking the end of Iran's imposition of a headscarf on all women and an end to the Muslim cleric-led government in Tehran. The protests persisted until at least January 2023 with over 500 protesters killed at the hands of state security forces, and over 19,400 protestors arrested as per reports by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

    Tehran, Iran; Iran
    2022 15 Sep Just weeks before the World Cup was scheduled to begin, the Bahá'í communities of nine countries delivered a letter addressed to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, expressing their concerns at the discrimination, restrictions, and human rights violations that Bahá'ís in Qatar have experienced for decades, and asking him to intervene in the situation. The letters were delivered by hand by representatives of the Bahá'í communities of Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to the Embassies of Qatar in their respective countries. [Global News Wire; BIC News 24 October 2022] Persecution, Qatar; Qatar
    2022 13 Sep Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, was arrested in Tehran while visiting the Iranian capital with her family. She was detained by Iran's so-called "morality police" for allegedly improperly wearing her hijab, or hair-covering head scarf. Within hours of her detention, she was hospitalized in a coma and died on September 16.

    Amini's death sparked mass protests, beginning in her home town of Saghez, then spreading around the country as the "Women, Life, Freedom" protests and ultimately posed one of the biggest threats to Iran's clerical establishment since the foundation of the Islamic republic in 1979. At least 500 people were reported killed in the government's crackdown on demonstrators. [RadioFreeEurope RadioLiberty 8 March 2024?]

    Mahsa Amini; Women, Life, Freedom; Tehran, Iran; Iran
    2022 8 Sept The passing of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (b. 21 April 1926) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her lifetime and 15 at the time of her death. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch, the longest recorded of any female head of state in history, and the second-longest verified reign of any sovereign in history. She was succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. Charles was officially proclaimed King on the Saturday following the Queen's death, the 10th of September. This event took place at St James's Palace in London, in front of a ceremonial body known as the Accession Council. [Wikipedia; BBC News] In Memoriam; Queen Elizabeth II; King Charles III; Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire; Aberdeenshire, Scotland; Scotland
    2022 19 Aug The Bahá'í World News Service expanded its service in yet another language - Russian, to add to the English, French, Persian and Spanish versions.

    Established in 2000 the BWNS has been made available on mobile applications for both Android and iOS, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition there is a podcast and one can subscribe here and not miss any news releases. [BWNS1612]

    Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 17 Aug The Universal House of Justice announced that a Persian Reviewing Panel, appointed by and operating under the auspices of that National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, would attend to the review and approval of manuscripts in Persian written by Bahá'ís in all countries, with the goal of ensuring that such publications represent the Bahá'í Faith accurately and with dignity. [Letter from the NSA of Canada S122269] Persian Reviewing Panel; Review (general); USA
    2022 16 Aug An update on the progress of the construction on the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was published. It was announced that the cleaning of the fire damage had been completed and the construction had been resumed. [BWNS1611] `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS)
    2022 Aug The publication of A Child in the Holy Land, a collection of stories by twenty-one such children and their encounters with the members of the Holy Family. Compiled and edited by Gisu Mohadjer Cook it was published by Bahá'í Publishing in Wilmette. Gisu Mohadjer Cook; Child in the Holy Land (book); Wilmette, IL; Illinois, USA; * Publications
    2022 31 Jul The arrest of Mahvash Sabet (Shahriari) and Fariba Kamalabadi alongside five other Baha'i individuals, apprehended by security forces across different cities. Moreover, intelligence agents conducted searches at a minimum of 37 Baha'i residences. [Iran Press Watch] Persecution, Iran; Tehran, Iran; Iran
    2022 29 - 31 Jul The 46th Annual Conference of the Association for Bahá'í Studies. The conference was held virtually and enabled attendance of over 1000 people from 30 countries.
    The concept of "reading groups" was introduced. The reading groups were born out of a question before the ABS about how the principle of consultation can be applied in various contexts to facilitate the generation of knowledge. Eric Farr, who also assisted with coordinating collaborative initiatives, said that the "groups typically identify an initial reading list of relevant literature, which can be expanded and refined over time. As participants of a group review these materials together, they try to understand the underlying assumptions, central concepts, and highest aspirations within a discourse that have shaped thought and practice in their fields, correlating them with the Bahá'í teachings." These groups, who met throughout the year, and each focused on a topic such as education, economics, climate change, dynamics of social change, the harmony of science and religion, justice and reconciliation, law, media, public health, and urban planning. Dr. Todd Smith, the secretary of the ABS executive committee, said: "Many of the presentations in this year's program were the fruit of collective learning initiatives, such as reading groups or thematic seminars, that took place in the months between the 2021 and 2022 conferences. The program was further enhanced by the contributions of presenters engaged in other academic and professional endeavours."
    Presentations and supplementary materials from this year's conference program, along with an archive of presentations from previous years are now available at the website of the Association for Bahá'í Studies. [ABS website; BWNS1616]
    Association for Bahá'í Studies (North America); ABS Annual Conference; Ottawa, ON; Ontario, Canada; Canada
    2022 19 Jul The release of a film titled A Bahá'í in Egypt: A story of 3 generations. It was a documentary produced by a news organization in Egypt and highlighted the history of the Bahá'ís of Egypt and their efforts to contribute to the progress of their society. [BWNS1604]

    A Bahá'í in Egypt: A story of 3 generations

    - Film; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Cairo, Egypt
    2022 4 Jul In a message from the Department of the Secretariat addressed to all National Spiritual Assemblies provided an update on the progress of the construction of the Shrine if 'Abdu'l-Bahá in light of the recent fire. The investigation concluded that the fire was the result of an accident. Expenses will be covered by insurance. Testing will be done to ascertain which parts wither require repair or replacement.

    No date was set for the the conclusion of the project but it was recognized that the accident will cause a substantial delay. No increase in donations to the project will be required. [4 July 2022]

    `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 Jun A campaign by Iranian authorities to uproot the Baha'i community in Shiraz took a dark step forward, earlier in June, when Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced 26 Baha'is to a combined total of 85 years in prison. Each individual was sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to five years.

    Travel bans and orders to report daily to a provincial intelligence office were also issued. A number of the Baha'is also received in addition a combined total of 24 years of internal exile—with the individual banishments set for two years.

    Many of the 26 sentenced to prison are couples with young children. [BIC News 23 June 2022]

    Persecution, Iran; Iran
    2022 6 Jun The passing of Jim (James Eugene) Seals, (b. 17 October 1941 or 1942 in Sidney, Texas) singer, musician and songwriter was announced on social media by a relative, Bradley Seals. He passed away in Nashville, TN. [The Guardian 10 June 2022]
  • See his obituary on the site of the Bahá'ís of the United States.
  • See YouTube.
  • See Wikipedia for their career trajectory and disography.
  • This chart, courtesy of Steven Kolins, shows the internet traffic generated by the announcement of his passing.
  • In Memoriam; Jim Seals; Seals and Crofts; - Famous Bahá'ís; Sidney, TX; Nashville, TN
    2022 2 - 3 Jun A conference titled, Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity, was an international meeting convened by the United Nations General Assembly. It was a commemoration of 50 years since the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment. The purpose was to focus on ways to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and to tackle the planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

    See the conference recommendations and actions.

    The Bahá'í International Community released a statement, One Planet, One Habitation: A Bahá'í Perspective on Recasting Humanity's Relationship with the Natural World. The statement underlines the gap between intention and action as one of the central challenges facing humanity and states that the essential principle of humanity's oneness as the only foundation on which sustainable societies can be raised. [BWNS1599]

    The statement is available on the BIC statements page and at Bahá'í Library.

    - Conferences; Environment; United Nations; Bahá'í International Community; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Stockholm, Sweden; Sweden
    2022 22 May A story carried by The Sunday Telegraph in London and written by the law firm representing Remi Rouhani in Qatar's highest court against an unjust conviction, alleged that the Qatari authorities discriminated against him because of his Faith. He was a Bahá'í citizen of Qatar and the former director of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is believed that Mr Rouhani's case may serve as a bellwether for Qatar's intention regarding the Bahá'í Faith and other religious minorities. [The Sunday Telegraph 22May2022] Persecution, Qatar; Qatar
    2022 Ridván - 2031 Ridván In a letter dated 25 November 2020 the Universal House of Justice announced a Nine Year Plan to begin at Ridván 2022. In the letter to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors dated 30 December 2021 the details were announced.

    Objectives:

  • establish programs of growth in all cluster in the world (22,000) 14,000 at some level and 11,000 intensive, with 5,000 past the third milestone.
  • establish at least on Milestone Three cluster in every country and every region of the world. This "constitutes on of the Plan's chief objectives"
  • deployment of teams of international and homefront pioneers.
  • enrollments "wide open" involvement of families and households as larger groups embrace the pattern of Bahá'í life.
  • expanding nucleus
  • coordination of large numbers as more communities enter the 3rd milestone
  • maturation of Bahá'í institutions
  • in areas where activities reach high degree of prevalence the inhabitants now possess a substantially increased capacity to steer the course of their own development, and the institutions and agencies of the Faith there now have an expanded vision of their responsibilities.
  • more efforts to support social and economic development
  • participation in the discourses of society as a means of releasing what the Guardian described as "the society-building power" of the Faith.
  • It will be heralded by the convocation of a series of conferences held over a span of months across the globe. [25 November 2020]
  • - Teaching Plans; Nine Year Plan (2022-2031); * Institute process; - Conferences; - Global Conferences; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 20 Apr The end of the One Year Plan

    Achievements

  • Gathering in the Holy Land November 2021 for the Centenary of the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
  • Programs of growth under way in over 6,000 clusters and close to 5,000 of those will have passed the 2nd milestone and that in 1300 have advanced further.
  • Construction continued on the Houses of Worship around the world and on the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. [Ridván 2022]
  • One Year Plan
    2022 20 Apr The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance issued a statement noting "with grave concern the increased pattern of repression and discrimination against members of the Bahá'í community" in some countries around the world. The statement is the first time the Alliance, also known as IRFBA, has made a direct intervention on challenges facing Bahá'í communities as a result of religious prejudice. Specific countries where Bahá'ís are persecuted or discriminated against were not named in the statement but the description of the challenges made it clear that the statement was written in support of the Bahá'í communities in Iran, Qatar and Yemen. [Statement on Bahá'ís] The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance; IRFBA; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Qatar; Iran; Yemen; Qatar
    2022 8 Apr A fire broke out and clouds of black smoke billowed from the construction site of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá when wind-blown sparks from welding on the dome ignited scaffolding and plastic forms being used to mold poured concrete. Firefighters evacuate the nearby suburbs of Giv'at Hatmarim and Afraid. The completed concrete walls and structures were undamaged but the blaze destroyed "several months of work" on the 2,900-square-meter (0.7-acre) circular platform and piazza.
  • YouTube.
  • Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 14 April 2022. iiiii
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 25 Mar In a statement was delivered by the Bahá'í International Community's representative, Simin Fahandej, by video to the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva it was announced that more than 1,000 Bahá'ís are in a "limbo" between their initial arrests, their legal hearings and their final summons to prison. A "rising trend" in the confiscation of Bahá'í-owned properties was also of "particular concern", Fahandej told the Human Rights Council. And while the appropriation of assets was not new, she added, it did seem that the Iranian authorities were "increasingly using the legal system" for such seizures. The concern is that confiscations of Bahá'í properties enrich the Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order, also known as Setad, which is controlled by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. [Iran Press Watch 25 March 2022] Bahá'í International Community; Persecution, Iran; Geneva, Switzerland
    2022 21 Mar The World Centre released a progress report on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. They reported that the meticulous work of assembling the formwork for the trellis spanning the Shrine's central plaza was nearing completion and showed an animated sequence of design rendering showing the process of building the trellis, including the placement of polystyrene (EPS) formwork, the placement of rebar, the pouring of concrete, and finally, the removal of formwork. They also showed photos of the work being done in the quarry in Carrara, Italy for the marble company, Margraf, was sourcing the marble for the project. The groundwork for a visitor's centre had begun. [BWNS1588] `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 11 Mar The release of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Rights of persons belonging to religious or belief minorities in situations of conflict or insecurity at the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The annex of the report said that concerns regarding the Bahá'ís "have persisted and even escalated across several country contexts". Dr Ahmed Shaheed's report illustrated the situations faced by Bahá'ís in Iran and in Yemen where they lack legal recognition and the discrimination as well as in Qatar they have experienced administrative deportations and in Tunisia where the government has refused to recognize the Faith. [Iranwire71448] Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Qatar; Persecution, Tunisia; Geneva, Switzerland
    2022 14 Feb The statement The Oneness of Humanity—Implications for the Africa-European Union Partnership was jointly prepared by the Addis Ababa and Brussels Offices of the BIC on the occasion of the 6th African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) Summit held in Brussels.

    Solomon Belay of the Addis Ababa Office stated: "The summit offered an opportunity to present EU leaders with key insights emerging from the many conversations of the BIC with government officials, policy makers, faith leaders, and civil society organizations about a range of themes being explored by the BIC in recent years, including global governance, migration, climate change, agriculture, and food security. We will be offering the same perspectives to AU leaders."

    Rachel Bayani of the Brussels Office explained that reshaping international structures and relationships according to the principle of humanity's oneness is a challenging task that will require effort over generations. "The statement offers a few practical suggestions for moving toward this goal. First is for careful consideration to be given to the impact of European policies on all segments of society in Africa, Europe, and across the world". [BWNS1594]

  • The statement.
  • Bahá'í International Community; Solomon Belay; Rachel Bayani; - BIC statements; Brussels, Belgium
    2022 Jan Representatives of all religious sects in Tunisia signed the National Charter for Peaceful Coexistence, the first of its kind in Tunisia, which calls for guaranteeing the right of religious minorities to differ and to show their beliefs in public. Representative to this conference came from the Jewish Synagogue in La Goulette, the Evangelical Church in Tunisia, the Union of Sufi Ways; the Ahl al-Bayt Shiite Centre in Tunis and Mohamed Ben Moussa, the Bahá'í representative in Tunisia.

    Notwithstanding the fact that Tunisian citizens have the right, according to the constitution, international charters and treaties, to establish their religious rites some religious communities, notably the Jews, Christians, Shites, and Bahá'ís still experience difficulty in practicing their faith. The Bahá'í representative, Mohamed ben Moussa acknowledged that adherents of the Bahá'í faith in Tunisia are subjected to violations, as fatwas of infidelity were issued against them by the grand mufti of Tunisia in December 2020. Additionally, the presidency of the Tunisian government accused them of apostasy.

    This charter aroused a great uproar among Tunisian society, which responded with an extensive campaign of insults and threats of violence, reaching the point of calling for murder. Although the official authorities were silent, the Ministry of Religious Affairs sent a representative to attend the signing. The organizers said that the strong reaction was expected but did not anticipate the many messages of threats and insults from the general public, radical Muslim sheikhs, intellectuals and others. All negative comments were unanimous; that Tunisia is a Muslim country and will remain so. This strong reaction was evidence of the extent of extremist ideology and hatred in the community and their lack of acceptance of those who differ from them. [The Christian Post 6Feb2022]

    Mohamed Ben Moussa; Persecution, Tunisia
    2022 26 Jan The BWC released a progress report on the construction of the national Bahá'í House of Worship in Kinshasa, DRC. [BWNS1579] Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Kinshasa; * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2022 7 Jan The conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members will coincide with the lapse of one hundred years since the first public reading of the Will and Testament of the Master. [25 November 2020]

    The Counsellors in all continents will be called to the Bahá'í World Centre in December 2021 to take part in deliberations on the general features of the Plan to be launched the following Riḍván. At the conclusion of that gathering, they are to be joined by members of the Auxiliary Boards for Protection and Propagation to consult on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and on the decisive role that the Counsellors and their auxiliaries are to play in meeting them. [From a message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of the World dated 29 October 2020]

    `Abdu'l-Bahá, Will and Testament of; Conferences, Counsellors; Centenaries; Auxiliary board members; - Teaching Plans; Nine Year Plan (2022-2031); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 5 Jan The film, Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour, commissioned by the Universal House of Justice, was released on this day.

    The film provided insight into a hundred years of endeavor and learning since the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in 1921, carried out by a burgeoning Bahá'í community, and outlined the journey that has led to the community's current efforts to contribute to the emergence of a world organized around the principle of the oneness of humanity.

    The 66-minute film was made available in Arabic, English, French, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili. The original version with English subtitles was placed on YouTube. [BWNS1574]

    Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour (film); - Film; - Documentaries; - Documentaries, BWC; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2022 1 Jan The Universal House of Justice announced that the courses of the Ruhi Institute would continue to be a prominent feature of the educational endeavours of all training institutes during this new series of global Plans. The Ruhi Institute will, during the Nine Year Plan, complete the preparation of all the materials it has outlined for use in children's classes, junior youth groups, and study circles, and the revision of published editions as necessary in light of experience. However, beyond what it has already delineated, it is not expected to develop new materials to be used worldwide. [Message 1 January 2022] Nine Year Plan (2022-2031); * Institute process; Childrens classes; Youth empowerment program; Ruhi Institute; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 30 Dec - 4 Jan The conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors was held at the Bahá'í World Centre. The discussions of the Counsellors over the six days explored how the worldwide Bahá'í community could intensify its efforts to contribute to social progress predicated on the spiritual principle of oneness. In their analysis, the Counsellors concluded that achieving this aim is dependent on significantly extending the reach of Bahá'í educational programs that build capacity for service, at the heart of which is faith in the ability of a population to become the protagonists of its own development. [BWNS1573; BWNS1575; BWNS1571] Continental Board of Counsellors; - Conferences; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 30 Dec As per the 30 December 2021 message o the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, 22 Local Spiritual Assemblies spread over eight countries were elected using a two-stage electoral process. This follows the same instructions that 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave to the Spiritual Assembly of Ṭihrán. It involved the division of a locality into units from each of which one or more delegates were elected, after which the delegates elected the members of the Local Assembly.

    They said that this process had been approved and adopted over the two previous years. [Paragraph 32]

    Local Spiritual Assembly, formation; Local Spiritual Assembly, election; Local Spiritual Assembly; Statistics; Elections
    2021 30 Dec - 4 Jan In a message to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors the Universal House of Justice announced a series of global Plans to carry the Faith into the third century of the Bahá'í Era and conclude at Ridván 2026. [30 December 2021] Nine Year Plan (2022-2031); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 19 Dec Journalists from over 55 media outlets across Italy attended the press conference in Milan and had the opportunity to learn about and the sacred nature of the project to prepare the marble for the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the complexities of its construction. The fabrication of the marble has required newly developed machinery that can cut the stone directly from 3D models with extreme precision—a requirement of the project given the curved surfaces of the domed trellis.

    Attendees at the press conference included Hossein Amanat, who was selected by the Universal House of Justice as the architect for the project, Sohrab Youssefian, liaison between the project and Margraf, and two members of Italy's Bahá'í National Spiritual Assembly. The Italian marble company that will cut and chiseled the marble was represented by Silvio Xompero, president of Margraf, and by Alessandro Peotta, head of the Margraf Technical Office. This firm has a long record of service to the Faith [BWNS1569]

    `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Margraf; Silvio Xompero; Alessandro Peotta; Hossein Amanat (Husayn Amanat); Sohrab Youssefian; Milan, Italy
    2021 16 Dec The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has called on the Iranian government to end its discrimination of minorities in Iran, including of the Bahá'í community. The vote confirms a Third Committee resolution passed in November. The resolution was endorsed by the General Assembly's 76th session and introduced by Canada and 47 co-sponsors from all regions, passed by 78 votes in favour, with 31 against and 69 abstentions. [BIC News; BWNS1568; Iran Press Watch/a>]
  • The Resolution.
  • One of the latest incidents occurred in Kata where thirteen irrigated farmland plots belonging to Bahá'ís in the village in Iran's southwest was targeted by authorities seeking to further expropriate the assets of Baha'is in the country. The organization "Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order" – a parastatal agency controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which holds and sells assets seized from proscribed groups and individuals and has done so since the 1979 Islamic Revolution – advertised the 13 land parcels on an auction website in mid-October. Each property has been listed for sale at a price estimated to be only 15% of its fair market value. [BIC News]
  • Farm lands in Semnan, Roshankouh, and Ivel have also been confiscated recently. [BWNS1568]
  • Persecution, Iran; United Nations; Bahá'í International Community; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); New York, USA; USA; Kata; Semnan, Iran; Roshankouh; Ivel; Iran
    2021 6 Dec Thirteen irrigated farmland plots belonging to Bahá'ís in the village of Kata in Iran's southwest have been targeted by local authorities seeking to expropriate Bahá'í-owned assets in Iran.

    The organization "Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order" – an agency controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which held and sold assets seized from proscribed groups and individuals and has done so since the 1979 Islamic Revolution – advertised the 13 properties on an auction website in mid-October. Each property had been listed for sale at a price just 15 percent of market value. The auctions listings have been published despite Bahá'ís having held the deeds to these properties for generations. [Iran Wire 6DEC21]

    - Persecution; Iran; Kata; Iran
    2021 5 - 7 Dec A three-day poster design workshop was held in Shiraz for the purpose of inciting hatred against Bahá'ís. This coincided with the beginning of another wave of security and judicial pressure on Bahá'í citizens in different cities of Iran. The Visual Arts Festival (Moqaddas Nama) hosted the poster and caricature design workshop aimed at inciting hatred against the followers of the Bahá'í Faith. This workshop, organized by the Secretariat of Moghadas Nama and the Secretariat of the Revolution Poster and the Association of Designers of the Islamic Revolution (Beit,) specifically attacks the religious beliefs of the members of the Bahá'í community through poster design and graphic works. This program is part of the Iranian government's ongoing campaign against the Bahá'í Community, which has routinely and systematically violated the citizenship and human rights of the Baha's over the past four decades. Participants in the Anti-Baha'i poster workshop are offered millions in prizes. [Iran Press Watch] Persecution, Iran; Shíráz, Iran; Iran
    2021 27 Nov An example of a program to mark the Centenary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá is that done by the Bahá'í community of Northern Virginia. [YouTube] Commemoration; Centenary of the Passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá
    2021 25 Nov A short documentary about the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, commissioned by the Universal House of Justice for the occasion of the centenary, was released for viewing at the centenary gathering at the Bahá'í World Centre. The film explores aspects of the design and construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and features interviews with people directly involved in the project. [BWNS1557]
  • Construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. iiiii
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 20 - 27 Nov In its Ridván 2018 and a year previous, in its message of 25 November 2020 (and 15 September 2021), the Universal House of Justice announced that there would be a gathering in the Holy Land by representatives of National Spiritual Assemblies and Regional Bahá'í Councils throughout the world to commemorate the Centenary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. What transpired was a week of activities.

    Several events that were intended for the public were held in Haifa and 'Akká to mark the centenary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

      -In Haifa, the mayor of the city, Einat Kalisch-Rotem, and other municipal officials, members of diverse faith communities, and other residents of the city honoured the centenary at a historic building near 'Abdu'l-Bahá's residence on Haparsim Street in a spirit of fellowship and unity reminiscent of the gatherings He Himself would hold with people of all backgrounds.

      -In 'Akká, a public reception at the House of 'Abdu'lláh Páshá, where 'Abdu'l-Bahá lived and received countless guests from 1896 to 1910, allowed people from around the country to learn about His life and His service to the inhabitants of 'Akká through an exhibition and a guided visit of the site.

      -In Bahjí, where 'Abdu'l-Bahá had rented a residence for Bahá'u'lláh and His family in 1879, a special program brought together the mayor of 'Akká, Shimon Lankri, and other government officials, various community and religious leaders—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze—academics, and civil society representatives to hear stories from the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, where many of those gathered also shared their perspectives on His impact on the people of the region. [BWNS1552; BWNS1555]

    Some 600 presentatives of Bahá'í communities from nations and regions around the world began to arrive in Haifa for the historic gathering at the Bahá'í World Centre. In the days following they visited the Holy Places in the Akka/Haifa area. [BWNS1553; BWNS1555]

    On the 25th of November the friends gathered in the concourse of the Universal House of Justice building. A Message from the Universal House of Justice was addressed to the gathering. The program included remarks by a member of the International Teaching Centre, Muna Tehrani with the keynote address given by ITC member Gloria Javid entitles 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of the Covenant. [BWNS1556]

    On the 26th of November Mrs Antonella Demonte, member of the International Teaching Centre, delivered a Keynote Address entitled The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Unfoldment of the Administrative Order.

    The Centenary of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing was marked in the early hours of the 27th of November with the attendees assembled in the courtyard of the Haifa Pilgrim House. A tribute written by the Universal House of Justice for the occasion was read by one of its members. [BWNS1558]

    On the 28th of November representatives of Bahá'í communities throughout the world came together in the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice for a spiritually charged closing of the centenary gathering. The closing session included addresses delivered by members of the International Teaching Centre, Antonella Demonte, Dr Holly Woodard, and Rachel Ndegwa. Prayers were chanted and spoken in different languages, there was a musical interlude, and Bahá'í writings were sung by a choir. The film Exemplar was shown. [BWNS1559]

  • See the departing message of the Universal House of Justice.
  • See some of the commemorative gatherings that were held around the world.
  • See the documentary Commemorating the Centenary of the Ascension of ʻAbdu'l Bahá.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Ascension of; Centenaries; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 18 Nov The release of the film Exemplar commissioned by the Universal House of Justice to mark the centenary commemoration of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The film follows the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the profound effect He had on people both past and present. A sense of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's unique function as a shelter, a shield, and a stronghold for all humanity is captured in vignettes of some of the people whose lives were transformed through their association with Him. It explores how, by championing the oneness of humanity through His words and deeds, He offered a challenge to the stale assumptions and prejudices of the age, and gave stimulus to a process of unification which continues to this day. [BWNS1551]
  • The film was made by Hamilton, ON Bahá'í, Mary Darling. [The Hamilton Spectator 5 April 2022] iiiii
  • Exemplar (film); `Abdu'l-Bahá, Basic timeline; `Abdu'l-Bahá, Life of (chronology); `Abdu'l-Bahá, Exemplar; - Bahá'í World Centre; Hamilton, ON
    2021 17 Nov The premier of the film The Legacy of Saskatoon's Secret Forest [CBNS17 November 2021]
      The inspirational story of Richard St. Barbe Baker, aka the "Man of the Trees," The heritage documentary The Legacy of Saskatoon's Secret Forest tells the story of his remarkable life and achievements. There is a 15 minute version heritage documentary and a one hour long presentation with greetings from around the world. The 15 minute prequel film "Richard St. Barbe Baker Park" tells how the heritage documentary came to be. From roots in Saskatoon he went on to inspire tree planting and forest protection around the world. The International Tree Foundation, which he founded in 1922, is still active in 14 countries. Countless people motivated by him are environmental champions today. A companion curriculum describes his holistic world view, and his daring life of action on behalf of the earth.
    The Legacy of Saskatoons Secret Forest; Richard St. Barbe Baker; Saskatoon, SK; Canada
    2021 14 Nov Update on the BIHE: The Institute has adapted using today's technology. As of this date 955 staff members operated the hybrid online and in-person school. The school offered more than 1,050 classes in its associate, undergraduate or graduate programs. Despite ongoing persecution of the BIHE recorded an average of 1,000 applicants and accepted 450 new first-year students annually.

    Although a number of Iranian Bahá'ís were still held back by Iran's refusal to recognize the institution, BIHE graduates would go on to study at a choice of 98 different international universities and colleges. [Borgen Magazine 14 November 2021]

    Education; Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE); Iran
    2021 13 Nov The some 3,000 people gathered for the dedication of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in the Pacific on the island of Tanna. In attendance at the ceremony were Prime Minister Bob Loughman and other government officials, representatives from the Malvatumauri National Councils of Chiefs and the Nikoletan Council of Chiefs, members of diverse faith communities, and representatives of local and national Bahá'í institutions. [BWNS1550]

    The Universal House of Justice was represented by Henry Tamashiro who delivered this Message.

    Specifics

      Location:near Lenakel on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu
      Unveiling of the design: 18 June 2017
      Foundation Stone: 17 November 2019
      Construction Period: 17 November 2019 to 13 November 2021
      Site Dedication:13 November 2021
      Architect: Ashkan Mostaghim
      Architectural firm:
      Capacity: 300
      Dimensions:
      Cost:
      Dependencies: Amphitheater for large community gatherings
      References: BWNS1550; BWNS1549; BWNS1530; BWNS1515; BWNS1175; BWNS1373; BWNS1176
    * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Ashkan Mostaghim; Henry Tamashiro; Lenakel; Vanuatu
    2021 8 Nov The Baha'i World Centre gave details of the conservation work that was continuing on the Mazra'ih Mansion. Most significantly, the room that Bahá'u'lláh's occupied had been made ready to receive pilgrims.

    This Holy Place has been described by the Universal House of Justice in a letter to all Bahá'í National Spiritual Assemblies as "that serene and sacred spot, the first residence of Bahá'u'lláh after nine years' confinement within the walls of the prison-city of 'Akká."

  • The work, which had begun more than a year earlier had been carried out on the courtyard and its wall as well as portion of the Roman aqueduct that runs through the site. Restoration work was also done on the stables and other structural element on the site. The Universal House of Justice further states: "In the coming years, conservation work will be carried out on the other rooms of the Mansion, and the surrounding area will be landscaped to provide a large, open space for visitors to walk around and enjoy, intending to capture the tranquil spirit of this blessed spot." [BWNS1547]
  • House of Bahá'u'lláh (Mazraih); Mazraih, Iran; Restoration; Mazraih, Iran
    2021 4 Nov The US premiere of the short film entitled The Prisoner in the Cinema Paradisl in Hollywood. The film was written and directed by Jayce Bartok. In the film two bickering prison guards, one with a dangerous secret, connect while guarding a prophet that is causing a revolution throughout the Middle East of the 1800's. [FLIFF 2021 Film Guide; Bahá'í Blog] The Prisoner (film); - Film; Jayce Bartok; Báb, Life of (chronology); Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA; California, USA; USA; Chihríq, Iran; Iran
    2021 Nov A six-part documentary series about the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was produced by Fred Badiyan and Ramin Khadem in honour of the centenary of the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Each of the six parts covers His life in chronological order, from His childhood and imprisonment, to His travels and ascension. The film was made by Badiyan Productions. https://www.badiyan.com/

    * Abdu'l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 1: Beginnings

    * Abdu'l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 2: Master of the Prison City

    * Abdu'l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 3: Tumultuous Years

    * Abdu'l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 4: Travels in the West

    * Abdu'l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 5: The End of the Journey

    * Abdu'l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 6: Touching Hearts: Stories of Transformation

    `Abdu'l-Bahá: The Mystery (film); Fred Badiyan; Ramin Khadem; Badiyan Productions; - Documentaries; - Film
    2021 29 Oct In preparation for the commemoration of His passing, the Bahá'í communities around the world released a number of publications honouring 'Abdu'l-Bahá, recounting stories of His life and the principles He espoused. These included new translations of His Will and Testament, illuminated prayer books, stories of His life, and storybooks for children. New translations of His Writings have been made for the first time in a number of languages. [BWNS1544] * `Abdu'l-Bahá, Writings and talks of
    2021 22 Oct The online publication The Bahá'í World released two new articles, 'Abdu'l-Bahá: Champion of Universal Peace, which explores how 'Abdu'l-Bahá advanced the cause of peace not only through His engagement with leading thinkers of His time but also through a plan for the spiritualization of the planet and another new article, titled 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Bahá'í Students, looks at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's contributions to the discourse on education in the Middle East and His guidance of Bahá'í students at the American University of Beirut. [BWNS1543] - Bahá'í World volumes; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 16 - 18 Oct Because of the global heath crisis the Parliament was a virtual event. It was unique in that it took place over 48 hours, it hosted three regional symposium and was the first Parliament to be hosted completely online. The theme was the Opening our Hearts to the World: Compassion in Action.. There were 4,317 attendees from 79 countries in 21 languages. [Virtual]
  • See the Visual Statement of the Parliament.
  • Parliament of the Worlds Religions; Virtual
    2021 10 Sep The World Centre provided an update on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It was announced that the plaza walls had been completed and the complex process of building the intricate trellis that will span the central plaza had begun. [BWNS1531]
  • YouTube
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 31 Aug A four-day gathering, attended by some 2,000 participants was held in Baraka, DRC in honour of the forthcoming centenary of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing. Attendees included officials, a traditional chief of the region, religious leaders, and people of diverse faiths. The conference explored the insights about the advancement of women gained through decades-long efforts of the Bahá'ís of the region aimed at social progress, and planned for an intensification of such activities of social action. [BWNS1529] - Conferences; Women; Baraka, Democratic Republic of Congo; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2021 25 Aug The Bahá'í International Community submitted formal letters of concern to United Nations Special Rapporteurs regarding the confiscation of properties belonging to six Bahá'ís in the province of Semnan. In the formal letters they called upon the UN and other international actors to intervene with Iran's government to ensure that Baha'is are not dispossessed of their properties by the State.
  • A court notice on the Iranian judiciary website informing the property owners of the imminent seizures appeared earlier this month. The notice came after a series of raids were carried out on Bahá'í-owned properties across Iran by security forces in November 2020. A large number of property deeds belonging to individual Bahá'ís were taken during these raids—including deeds for the Semnan properties now listed for confiscation. Last year Bahá'í-owned lands in the village of Ivel, in Mazandaran Province, were also taken by the authorities.
  • The "charge" claimed by the court as the reason for the confiscations is that the properties belong to Bahá'í institutions. However, these institutions were banned in 1979 by the Islamic Republic, and formally dissolved in 1983. Moreover all their properties were confiscated after the Islamic Revolution; consequently, no properties currently belong to Bahá'í institutions in Iran.
  • Semnan has previously been used as a "laboratory" by the authorities to execute systematic campaigns of persecution against the Bahá'ís in Iran. Attacks on Bahá'ís in Semnan have been notable for their particular intensity, for the mobilization and coordination of official and unofficial elements including police, courts, local authorities and the clergy, and for persecution ranging from hate speech to economic strangulation, arrests and physical attacks. The BIC now observes this as a pattern consistent with a state-led campaign of economic persecution unfolding across Iran. [BIC New site]
  • Persecution, Iran; Semnan, Iran; Ivel; Iran
    2021 29 Jul A report on the progress of the construction of the National Mashriqul-Adhkar was provided.
  • The concrete structural elements that make up the lower portion of the edifice and will support the steel superstructure of the dome and surrounding canopies was being completed. Work on the upper gallery was progressing.
  • The two ring beams that support the dome had been completed.
  • More than 90% of the concrete for the building had been poured.
  • Work on the grounds and on the auxiliary structures was continuing. The walls and the roof of the visitor's centre had been completed.
  • The secretary of the country's Bahá'í National Spiritual Assembly, Lavoisier Mutombo Tshiongo, reported that, "At the same time, we are seeing an intensification of action inspired by what the temple represents. Everything is increasing, from devotional gatherings, educational efforts, and other initiatives taken by families and youth, such as cleaning rivers and water sources, to formal activities in the areas of food security and agriculture, education, health and empowerment of women." He attributed the increasing pace of activity to a growing appreciation of the relationship between worship of God and service to humanity that is being cultivated through conversations about the national House of Worship. [BWNS1521]
  • Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Kinshasa; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2021 19 Jul The Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation aired a short report on the progress of the construction of the local Bahá'í House of Worship for the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. The report can be found from 13:47 to 15:37 on the news report. [Facebook Post by VBTC] * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Tanna; Vanuatu
    2021 19 Jul A Twitter storm under the hashtag of #StopHatePropaganda and running from 5pm to 7pm GMT, 9.30pm to 11.30pm Tehran time, aimed to draw global attention to a 40-year campaign of hate speech conducted by the Iranian government against the Baha'i community in Iran, the country's largest non-Muslim religious minority. Iran Press Watch; Iran Press Watch; BWNS1519] Persecution, Iran; Bahá'í International Community; Twitter; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Geneva, Switzerland
    2021 13 Jul In response to the Iranian government's continued campaign of hate speech, the Bahá'í International Community launched a new microsite of The Bahá'ís of Iran website called Raasti (Truth). It was set up to provide accurate information, including from independent sources, in an effort to respond to baseless accusations and misinformation produced by the machinery of propaganda targeting the Bahá'ís in Iran.
  • In addition, video released by the BIC called on people to join the global outcry over the persecution of the Bahá'ís in Iran, launching the hashtag #StopHatePropaganda on Twitter. [BWNS1519]
  • Bahá'í International Community; Persecution, Iran; Twitter; Geneva, Switzerland
    2021 8 Jul The Bahá'í International Community made representation to the United Nations or the Iranian government to be held accountable for its campaign of hate speech against the Baha'is in Iran. In previous months, the four-decades long state-sponsored campaign of hate speech and propaganda reached new levels, increasing in both sophistication and scale. This provoked fresh concerns for the rights of the Baha'is in Iran, as history had shown that flagrant violations of human rights often take place in a climate of hate and disinformation following such propaganda efforts.

    The websites and social media channels are compounded by videos, print newspaper articles and other written media, books, seminars, exhibitions, graffiti and fatwas from both official outlets and others sponsored by the government but purporting to be independent. [Bahá'í International Community News]

    Since 2017, more than 33,000 pieces of toxic anti-Bahá'í content have been published or broadcast. In recent years, hundreds of websites and dozens of social media accounts have systematically attacked the Bahá'í community, misrepresenting Bahá'í beliefs in a manner designed to cause maximum offence to Iran's Muslim-majority population. [CiJA Statement on Iranian anti-Baahá'í Campaign] (The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada.)

    António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, in his 2019 Plan of Action to Combat Hate Speech, said that "[h]ate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. As a matter of principle, the United Nations must confront hate speech at every turn. Silence can signal indifference to bigotry and intolerance, even as a situation escalates and the vulnerable become victims."

    Incitement to hatred is prohibited under international treaties that Iran itself has ratified, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [United Nations Plan of Action on Hate Speech]

    The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR) and Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) strongly condemn the increase in anti-Bahá'í propaganda disseminated by Iranian state-run media. A recent report by the Bahá'í Community of Canada found that "Iran's state-sponsored campaign of hatred against the Bahá''í Faith has been on the rise across all media platforms, including the web, social media, radio, newspapers, and television." On the 20th of July they issued a joint statement from Professor Irwin Cotler, Founder and International Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Mr. Ali Ehsassi, Member of Parliament (House of Commons of Canada) and Mr. Anders Österberg, Member of the Swedish ParliamentFounding Member of PGA's Parliamentary Rapid Response Team (PARRT).

    See the report entitled State-sponsored hate propaganda against Iranian Bahá'ís published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahá'í Community of Canada.

    See a speech titled A Non-Governmental Perspective on the Relative Effectiveness of Multilateral and Bilateral Measures by Bani Dugal, the Principal Representative, United Nations Office, Bahá'í International Community given in Florence, Italy 9 April 2022. The talk was presented at a conference on Religion, Hateful Expression and Violence sponsored by the Centre for International Law Research and Policy.

    Bahá'í International Community; United Nations; Persecution, Iran; Hate Speech; Irwin Cotler; `Alí Ehassi; Anders Osterberg; Bani Dugal; Geneva, Switzerland
    2021 6 Jul The Bahá'í World Centre released an update on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Baha:
  • The eight pillars of the central edifice have been completed and scaffolding was being set up in the space between the pillars and the completed folding walls for work on the trellis that will span the central plaza.
  • The folding walls on the west side of the central plaza were also complete and were being joined with one of the portal walls of the south plaza.
  • Preparations were beginning for the work of building an intricate trellis across the central plaza.
  • A semi-circle of folding walls enclosed one side of the central plaza at this time. The second set of folding walls was being built, mirroring the first on the opposite side of the plaza. The completed set of folding walls were being joined with one of the portal walls of the south plaza.
  • The foundations have been constructed for the path encircling the Shrine. The space between the path and the walls will eventually be filled with a sloping garden berm.
  • Progress has been made on garden planters in the north plaza area. The encircling path will intersect the garden planters. [BWNS1517]
  • See an aerial view of the design.
  • YouTube.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 18 Jun The publication of The Bahá'ís in Yemen: From Obscurity to Persecution and Exile by Maysaa Shuja Al-Deen, Casey Coombs, Abdullah Olofi. Persecution, Yemen; Maysaa Shuja Al-Deen; Casey Coombs; `Abdu'lláh Al Olofi; Yemen
    2021 8 Jun Tehran's Revolutionary Court sentenced Bahá'í Iranian motocross champion Shahrzad Nazifi, a Bahá'í citizen, to 8 years in prison. The court was also banned Mrs. Nazifi from leaving the country for two years. As a complementary punishment, the court also obliged Mrs. Nazifi to provide services to the mentally disabled for three months, four hours every day. The following charges were brought against her: "Managing illegal groups with the aim of disrupting the country's national security" and "incorrect motive and inner desire to destroy the religious system". Shahrzad Nazifi is an Iranian motocross champion of Baha'i faith, born in 1971 and living in Tehran. She and her daughter Nora Naraghi are among the pioneers of women's motocross in Iran.

    On November 18, 2018, the clerical regime's intelligence forces arrested Shahrzad Nazifi and her daughter on the motorcycle track. They ransacked the Nazifi residence for about 5 hours and took some personal belongings with them. In May 2019, Mrs. Nazifi and other family members were barred from attending motorcycling tracks, participating in competitions, and exercising with a motorcycle without receiving a court order. [HRANA website]

    Shahrzad Nazifi; Persecution, Iran; Nora Naraghi; Tehran, Iran; Iran
    2021 3 Jun The passing of John Kolstoe in Livingstone, Montana. [Bahá'ís of Montana and Surrounding Areas Facebook page]

    John was raised in a Lutheran family, and studied psychology at University. He and his wife, Beverley, became Bahá'ís in 1953 and John attended the New Delhi Intercontinental Teaching Conference the same year. He had been intending to conduct research in the field of Psychology on cognitive modalities, but felt that pioneering for the Faith was more important after attending the Conference, and volunteered to pioneer to Alaska. John and Beverley moved to Alaska in 1953.

    He was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska in the late 1950's and served on the body until 1960, when he and Beverley pioneered to Fort Yukon, where they lived for three years. He went on pilgrimage to Haifa in 1960 and met Ruhiyyih Khanum, and told her a story about meeting Dr. Hubert Parris, which she encouraged him to put in writing. He eventually did so when he wrote the book Crazy Lovers of Bahá'u'lláh.

    In 1962 he co-wrote a pamphlet on the Faith titled Bahá'í Teachings: A Light For All Regions with Peter Simple, the second Athabaskan Indian to become a Bahá'í in Yukon. The Kolstoes moved from Fort Yukon to Fairbanks and John was re-elected to the Alaskan National Assembly in 1963. He was elected Chairman of the Assembly in 1972, and represented the Assembly at the Dedication of the Matthew Kaszab Institute in November that year.

    In 1975 he wrote twelve articles on the Covenant for Alaska Bahá'í News which eventually served as the basis for the book The Covenant and You. In July 1976 he opened the International Bahá'í Conference held in Anchorage. The Kolstoes left Alaska in 1985 and pioneered to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. John's wife Beverley passed away in Alaska in 1996. In 2001 John re-married, marrying Janet J. Smith. [Bahaipedia]

    A list of his publications includes:

  • He has a number of talks on YouTube
  • John Kolstoe; In Memoriam; Livingston, MT; USA
    2021 23 May The dedication of the first local Bahá'í House of Worship in Africa in Matunda Soy, Kenya. The project had been completed in under three years in difficult circumstances.

    The ceremony was attended by some one hundred people including government officials, village and district chiefs, local dignitaries, representatives of local and national Bahá'í institutions, and other representatives of the construction team including Neda Samimi, the architect. The Universal House of Justice was represented by Townshend Lihanda, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors in Africa who delivered this message on their behalf.

    The previous day a small ornamental case containing dust from one of the Holy Shrines at the Bahá'í World Centre was placed within the structure of the House of Worship symbolizing the profound connection between the temple and the spiritual center of the Bahá'í Faith. [BWNS1511]

  • Photos.
    Specifics
      Location: Matunda Soy district in Kenya
      Foundation Stone: 23 March 2019 to 23 May 2021
      Construction Period: 28 February 2019 to
      Site Dedication: 23 May 2021
      Architect: Neda Samimi (The first woman whose design for a Baha'i House of Worship was selected.)
      Architectural firm: under the auspices of Archipoint Consulting Architects (Mr Alfred Mango, Architect)
      Seating: 250
      Dimensions:
      Land: The area was about 20 acres inclusive of the Lwanda Learning Site which occupies about 3 acres.
      Cost: (land and building)15m Kshs plus 152m Kshs (approximately US$1.5m)
      Dependencies: Existing buildings will be repurposed as educational facilities and as offices for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Kenya.
      References: BWNS1251; BWNS1317; BWNS1473; BWNS1493; BWNS1511.
  • - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; Neda Samimi; Townshend Lihanda; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Matunda Soy, Kenya; Dedications; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Kenya Neda Samimi, the first woman whose design for a Baha’i House of Worship was selected.
    2021 15 May The publication of The Bahá'í Faith and African American History: Creating Racial and Religious Diversity edited by Loni Bramson with contributions from Christopher Buck and Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis. It was published by Lexington Books. The Bahá'í Faith and African American History: Creating Racial and Religious Diversity; Loni Bramson; Christopher Buck; Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis
    2021 13 May The Bahá'í World Centre published an update on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá advising that the first two columns of the main edifice had been raised. Eight columns of these 11-metre columns will eventually be built forming part of the walls of the main edifice and supporting the trellis that will span the central plaza.

    They reported as well that the first three of the ten segments of the folding walls that will surround the central plaza had been built. Each of these segments must be constructed one by one. [BWNS1509]

  • YouTube.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 10 May The publication of two new articles in The Bahá'í World:
  • "Reading Reality in Times of Crisis: 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Great War" looks at how 'Abdu'l-Bahá's analysis of the crises of His time was profoundly distinct from contemporaneous "progressive" movements and thinkers. The author, Amín Egea, describes how 'Abdu'l-Bahá's warnings about the causes of war could not be understood by societies immersed in paradigms of thought totally different from the ones He presented.
  • "Paying Special Regard to Agriculture: Collective Action-Research in Africa"; The author, Sanem Kavrul, focuses on Bahá'í social action efforts in the field of agriculture in Africa, surveying developments across the continent and focusing on several specific examples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Bahá'í World; Amin Egea; Sanem Kavrul; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 30 Apr A volume of newly translated tablets (76) penned by 'Abdu'l-Bahá entitled Light of the World; Selected Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was released online and in print.
  • It was made available in a variety of formats online, PDF, DOCX, and HTML.
  • Light of the World (book); * `Abdu'l-Bahá, Writings and talks of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 29 Apr A sentence was issued against a Qatar citizen and a Bahá'í, Remy Rowhani, on charges linked to his religious beliefs after a secret hearing was held in his absence. No evidence had been presented at any time to substantiate the charges against Mr Rowhani. To then issue a prison sentence and fine in absentia was contrary to due process and was further evidence of an official policy of discrimination against the Bahá'ís. [The European Times 11 June 2022] Persecution, Qatar; Remy Rowhani; Qatar
    2021 27 Apr The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States provided guidance on the question of the vaccination for the coronavirus. They included five letters from the Universal House of Justice on the subject. [27 April 2021]
  • [10 July 2020]
  • [8 December 2020]
  • [15 December 2020]
  • [11 February 2021]
  • [26 February 2021]
  • Vaccination; Covid-19 (Corona virus); USA
    2021 26 Apr It was reported that the murder case of Ata'u'llah Rezvani, a Bahá'í citizen of Bandar Abbas, had been referred to Branch 6 of the Bandar Abbas Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office for retrial, eight years after the incident took place. This case had been removed from the archives of the Bandar Abbas court for investigation after years of sabotage and judicial procrastination. [Iran Press Watch] Ataullah Rezvani; Persecution, Iran; Bandar Abbas, Iran; Iran
    2021 Ridván In its Ridván Message the Universal House of Justice lowered the age from 21 to 18 at which a believer may vote in Bahá'í elections while the age at which one could serve on a Spiritual Assembly remained the same at 21 years. [Ridván 2021] Elections; Voting
    2021 Ridván The formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Timor-Leste with its seat in Dili. [Ridván 2021 p8]
  • The Timorese Bahá'ís were anticipating the National Assembly's election when the country was struck by Cyclone Seroja. Severe floods began on 4 April, bringing tragic loss of life across the country from landslides and mosquito-borne diseases. [BSNW1507]
  • National Spiritual Assembly, formation; Dili, East Timor; Timor Leste, East Timor,
    2021 Ridván The formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Croatia with its seat in Zagreb. [Ridván 2021 p8; BWNS1506]

    Formally part of a regional spiritual assembly of Slovenia and Croatia, the left the National Spiritual Assembly of Slovenia with its seat in Ljubljana, Slovenia. [BINS317:2; BW93–4:82; BW94–5:25, 3–6]

    National Spiritual Assembly, formation; Zagreb, Croatia; Croatia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Slovenia
    2021 - 2022 The One Year Plan

    At Riḍván 2021, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh will embark on a Plan lasting a single year. Brief, but pregnant with portent, this one-year endeavour will begin a new wave of Plans bearing the ark of the Cause into the third century of the Bahá'í Era. During the course of this auspicious twelve months, the Bahá'í world's commemoration of the centenary of the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá will include a special gathering at the Bahá'í World Centre to which representatives of every National Spiritual Assembly and every Regional Bahá'í Council will be invited. This, however, is to be but the first in a sequence of events that will prepare the believers for the demands of the decades to come. The following January, the elapse of one hundred years since the first public reading of the Master's Will and Testament will be the occasion for a conference in the Holy Land bringing together the Continental Boards of Counsellors and all members of the Auxiliary Boards for Protection and Propagation. The spiritual energy released at these two historic gatherings must then be carried to all the friends of God in every land in which they reside. For this purpose, a series of conferences will be convened worldwide in the months that follow, a catalyst to the multi-year endeavour that shall succeed the coming One Year Plan. [Ridván Message 2018]

    Objectives

  • extend the time for establishing IPGs
  • consolidate the achievements of the 5 year Plan
  • embrace larger numbers
  • Draw on "untapped potential' to overcome any obstacles impeding growth-preparing for the demands to come.
  • Year of "profound reflection on the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the strength of the Covenant"
  • Still further advances in entry by troops
  • - Teaching Plans; One Year Plan (2021-2022); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 The end of the Five Year Plan marked the conclusion of a series of plans that began in 1996 with the Four Year Plan (1996-2000) and the call to establish a series of Training Institutes. Next came the Twelve Month Plan (2000-2001) followed by four Five Year Plans, 2001-2006,2006-2011, 2011-2016 and finally, the Fourth Five Year Plan (2016-2021). For a synopsis of the progress of the Faith during this period see the Ridván Message.

    Achievements of the last Five Year Plan (2016-2021)

  • Two Bicentenaries were commemorated, the anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh on the 21st and the 22nd of October in 2017 and the birth of the Báb on the 29th and 30th of October in 2019.
  • The last continental House of Worship was completed in Santiago in 2016.
  • Other Houses of Worship were completed, Battambang (National)(2017), Villa Rica Cauca (Local) (2018), Port Moresby(National) (2016), Matunda Soy (Local) (2019), and Tanna (Local) (2019).
  • Designs for Houses of Worship in Bihar Sharif and Kinshasa were completed in 2020.
  • Some 300,000 core activities were sustained, a rise from 100,000 at the beginning of the Plan. Participation had risen above 2,000,000 (3 fold).
  • There were some 329 national and regional training institutes in operation.
  • By this time 750,000 people had completed Book 1. The number of courses completed by individuals was at 2,000,000, a rise of over 1/3 in 5 years.
  • Clusters where there were Intensive Programs of Growth was at 4,000 (hindered by the global health crisis).
  • Those Clusters where the third Milestone was passed was at 200 in 40 counties at the beginning of the Plan has risen to 1,000 in 100 countries. There were over 30 clusters where the number of core activities exceeded 1,000, in places, several thousand involving the participation of more than 20,000 people in a single cluster.
  • Evidence of the society-building power of the Faith was becoming more and more evident. In some instances there has been a movement of populations where age-old hostilities were being left behind. A significant advance in the process of entry by troops has been achieved.
  • There has been an "undreamed capacity to learn, to grow, and to serve humanity.

    This date marked the beginning of the Third Epoch of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan. [Message 30 December 2021]

  • Statistics; * Institute process; Core activities; Five Year Plan; - Teaching Plans; Ages and Epochs; Tablets of the Divine Plan
    2021 8 Apr The Bahá'í World Centre announced the completion of a two-year project of seismic strengthening and restoration work on the House of 'Abbúd. Bahá'u'lláh and His family moved to the house next door, the House of 'Údí K̲h̲ammár, in 1871. In March of 1873, the owner of the adjacent house, Ilyás `Abbúd, offered to provide a room in his house for `Abdu'l-Bahá and Munírih Khánum after their marriage. He did this by opening a door in a contiguous wall. Later in 1973 'Abbud moved to the mansion at Bahji and the two houses fully were joined. The building had last been restored in the 1950's by the Guardian in preparation to receive pilgrims.

    The restoration work was done to reproduce the House exactly as it had been when the Holy Family occupied it. No effort was spared. Even traditional glass-blowing techniques were used to produce the windowpanes. [BWNS1501]

    House of Abbud; House of Udi Khammar; Ilyas Abbud; Pilgrimage; Restoration; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 Ridván Core Activities: 2016 100,000          2021 300,000

    Participants in Core Activities: 2016 approx 333,000          2021 2,000,000

    Number of National and Regional Training Institutes in Operation:      2021 329

    Number of participants who have complete at least one book in the sequence:      2021 750,000

    Number of courses completed by participants in the main sequence of courses: 2016 approx. 666,666     2021 2,000,000

    Number of Clusters with an Intensive Program of Growth:      2021 approx. 4,000

    Number of Cluster that have passed the third milestone: 2016 20 in 40 countries          2021 1,000 in nearly 100 countries. [Riḍván Message 2021]

    Statistics; * Institute process; Core activities; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 Ridván The National Spiritual Assembly of São Tomé and Principe was re-established. [Ridván Message 2021 p8]
  • São Tomé and Principe was a secular state in which the freedom of conscience, religion and worship was deemed inviolable according to the constitution that was put into effect in 2003. However, religious groups had to register with the government. If a religious group did not register, it was subject to fines and possible expulsion if it was of foreign origin. To register, a group had to have at least 500 members. It is speculated that the National Spiritual Assembly had to cease operations sometime after this went into effect. [US State Department 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Sao Tome and Principe]
  • National Spiritual Assembly, formation; Sao Tome and Principe; Principe
    2021 15 Mar Bahá'í International Community in Geneva released a video statement addressed to the UN Human Rights Council to respond to developments in Qatar. Over the past several years, a number of Bahá'í individuals and families in Qatar have been blacklisted solely because of their adherence to the Bahá'í Faith. This has resulted in the deportation of several of these individuals from the country leaving many stateless as some Bahá'í families have been in the country for four generations, pre-dating the formation of the state itself. As well, residency permits of non-Qatari Bahá'ís have also been denied, or not renewed, despite their employers or sponsors supporting them to remain in the country. This pattern of deportation is tantamount to religious cleansing and more recently, they seem to be targeting the Bahá'í leadership.

    The Bahá'í community of Qatar and the BIC have previously raised these cases with Qatari officials and Qatar's National Human Rights Committee. The authorities have alleged without evidence to UN Special Rapporteurs and diplomats, who had raised concerns, that these cases are unrelated to each other and had each been a national security concern. [BIC Video Statement; BIC News 31Mar21]

    Persecution, Qatar; Qatar
    2021 14 Mar The pouring of the concrete floor slab for the main edifice was completed and some of the walls enclosing the north and the south plazas were near completion. [BWNS1497] `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 15 - 26 Mar 65th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Baha'i International Community's (BIC) 49 delegates joined more than 25,000 participants from around the world for the gathering. This was the largest gathering since the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing, held with the purpose of advancing the global discourse on gender equality. The CSW took place virtually this year in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which allowed the Baha'i International Community to send a diverse delegation of men and women from Mexico, France, Australia, Ethiopia, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Canada, the United States, and many other countries (reference in Baha'i Canada)
  • The film, Glimpses into the Spirit of Gender Equality, was released at the 65th UN Commission on the Status of Women, as the Baha'i International Community's contribution to the celebration of 25 years since the landmark 4th World Conference on Women that was held in Beijing, China. Premiered online in March 2021, the film highlights urban and rural grassroots experiences in applying the spiritual principle of gender equality, drawing from the momentum generated since Beijing.
  • United Nations; Bahá'í International Community
    2021 9 Mar The publication of Without Hesitation: An Account of an Iraqi Prisoner of Conscience by Anisa Abdul-Razzaq Abbas and translated by Alhan Irwin. It was published by One Voice Press.

    On a December day in 1973, Anisa Abdul-Razzaq Abbas heard a knock at the door of the Baghdad home she was visiting. She opened the door to greet two men from the Iraqi Al-Amn security force, who immediately placed her under arrest. Her crime: being a member of the Bahá'í Faith, Over the next six years, Anisa would spend three years in Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison and a further three years in Al-Rashaad prison before her release in 1979. During her years of incarceration, Anisa would rely on her faith to meet the myriad challenges of prison life. Day after day, she and her fellow-prisoners experienced levels of cruelty and injustice that most would find unthinkable. Separated from her husband, who was being held in the men's prison, and from her children, Alhan and Ruwa, who were without both parents, Anisa was sustained through her darkest days by the love of her family, and by the strength and solidarity offered by her fellow Bahá'í prisoners.*Anisa's story is one of patience, courage, and steadfastness in the face of religious prejudice and state-sponsored oppression, and it is a reminder to us all of the resilient strength of the human spirit. *Their eldest child, Abir was attending university in Sulaimaniyyeh after serving a six month sentence.

    Without Hesitation; Anisa `Abdu'l-Razzaq Abbas; Alhan Irwin; Ruwa Pokorny; Abir Abbas; Persecution, Iraq
    2021 9 Mar Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, presented his report to UN's Human Rights Council detailing the scale of human rights abuses perpetrated by the regime in Tehran against members of many groups in the country. (It should be noted that his requests to visit Iran were denied and so he compiled his report using data collected from government, non-governmental and media sources. He also interviewed victims of abuses, along with their families and lawyers.) In the report he revealed that women, girls, human rights advocates, ethnic minorities, writers, journalists and people with dual nationality are among those targeted by the regime. They faced abuse, torture, arbitrary detention, harassment, forced confessions, and even the death penalty. What follows are some of the details of his report:
  • Women: Females suffered as a result of deep-rooted discrimination in law and day-to-day life. Domestic violence, acid attacks, patriarchal values and misogynist behaviours, discriminatory legal provisions were among the issues women faced. Women's rights advocates, both women and men, including those who campaign against compulsory veiling laws were targeted. The enforcement of veiling laws by the police, Basij militia and vigilante "morality police" has often resulted in violence against women, including acid attacks and murder.
              Rehman's report also detailed how blatant gender discrimination permeated almost all aspects of the law and daily life in Iran, including marriage, divorce, employment and culture, with the result that women are treated as second-class citizens. He called on the Iranian government to repeal discriminatory laws and ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women. Iran is one of the few states not to have signed it.
  • Child marriages: In just six months during the previous year, 16,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 were married in Iran. Girls as young as 13 could marry in Iran with their father's permission, and at an even younger age if authorized by a judge.
  • Protesters: There has been a brutal crackdown by security forces on protesters during the nationwide demonstrations on November 19th. Firearms were used "in a manner that amounted to a serious violation of international human rights law," resulting in the deaths of more than 300 people, including women and children. In the days following the protests the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps raided homes, hospitals, schools and workplaces to arrest demonstrators, including children, and crush what Iranian officials described as "a very dangerous conspiracy." More than 7,000 detainees were held in secret facilities without access to lawyers, many of them in solitary confinement where they were tortured, starved and forced to make false confessions. The targeting of relatives in an effort to force human rights activists to halt their campaigning has been widely documented.
  • Capital punishment: He also voiced concern about the high rate of death sentences in Iran, especially the execution of child offenders, and the recent cases in which protesters received the death penalty. There have also been reports of secret executions in connection with the protests "following unfair trials and after the systematic use of torture to extract forced confessions."
  • The targeting of human rights activists, journalists, labour rights campaigners, dual and foreign nationals, and lawyers.
  • Violation of the right to freedom of expression: The "authorities" repeatedly disrupted telecommunications. Telegram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are "permanently blocked and inaccessible without circumvention tools, in an attempt to prevent protesters from revealing regime abuses to the world. Internet shutdowns and the blanket blocking of websites and applications represent a violation of the right to freedom of expression.
  • Minorities: There was ongoing discrimination against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. The report included details of executions and enforced disappearances of political prisoners from ethnic minorities. Bahá'í have been arrested for membership in the Faith and many Gonabadi Dervishes also remain in prison.
  • Forced evictions: Many ethnic minorities have been evicted and their homes have been destroyed.
  • Since completing his report further "disturbing incidents" involving the targeting of minorities have come to light, including: more than 20 executions of Baloch prisoners; the "suspicious" death of a Dervish follower; excessive use of force against protesters in Sistan and Balochistan province; the detention of 100 Kurdish activists, and house raids and land confiscations targeting members of the Baha'i faith. Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender also experience human rights violations and widespread discrimination.
  • COVID-19: The Iranian government has continued the targeting of journalists and writers who report on subjects such as corruption and the COVID-19 pandemic. Health experts who question the regime's management of the health crisis also reportedly face prosecution or losing their jobs. Although international sanctions have hampered Iranian efforts to respond to the pandemic, it criticized the government's "opaque and inadequate coronavirus response which has resulted in excess deaths, including the deaths of medical workers who were left to fend for themselves without sufficient protective equipment." Detainees were also abandoned in "overcrowded and unhygienic" prisons. According to the World Health Organization, in June 2020 there were 211,000 prisoners in Iran's state prisons, 2.5 times the official capacity.
  • The Report: English; French.
  • Persecution, Iran; United Nations; Javaid Rehman; New York, USA; New York City, NY; Iran
    2021 4 Mar Singapore's National Heritage Board (NHB) has added the Bahá'í Nineteen Day Feast to its intangible cultural heritage list following a national mandate to document and preserve the diverse cultural expressions of the island nation. [BWNS1494] Singapore
    2021 28 Feb The Bahá'í World News Service provided an update on the construction of the Local Temple in Matunda Soy. [BWNS1493]
  • The project was entering the final stages of construction. The exterior of the temple was nearly complete, as were auxiliary structures on the grounds.
  • Skylights have been installed on all nine sides of the roof of the temple, and roof tiles are being placed, creating a diamond motif familiar to Kenyan culture.
  • The interior and exterior of the temple's nine doorways were being decorated with wood and paster.
  • Construction of the reception center and other facilities on the site are nearly complete,
  • Residents of the area were assisting to prepare the gardens around the temple, carrying out tasks with reverence as they regularly gather on the grounds for prayers.
  • Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Matunda Soy, Kenya; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Kenya
    2021 28 Feb The Bahá'í World News Service provided an update on the construction of the National Temple in Kinshasa. [BWNS1493]
  • The reinforced concrete slab that will form the floor of the central edifice has been finished and the moisture barrier has been laid.
  • Work on additional buildings on the site was steadily advancing.
  • Earthworks were being prepared for the grounds outside the central area.
  • A visitors' center was being built near the entrance to the site.
  • Elsewhere on the site, several existing buildings were being renovated. One building was being used as a construction office. In the future, these buildings will be used as educational facilities and as offices for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Kinshasa; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2021 26 Feb In a letter to a National Spiritual Assembly the Universal House of Justice addressed the question of vaccination calling it a "social responsibility" and concluded that ultimately it it an individual decision whether to take it or not. [26 February 2021] Covid-19 (Corona virus)
    2021 21 Feb UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report on Yemen stating that the country remained the world's largest humanitarian crisis and aid operation. The crisis was the result of a brutal armed conflict that escalated six years prior. It has killed and injured tens of thousands of civilians, causing immense suffering for the Yemeni people. In 2020, the conflict intensified, the number of frontlines increased from 33 to 49, and 172,000 people were displaced, bringing the number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to at least 4 million.

    Yemen was reliant on import for 90% of its food. The situation was exacerbated by the global COVID-19 turndown which led to a sharp drop in remittances – the largest source of foreign currency and a lifeline for many families where 80 per cent of people live below the poverty line. As a result, millions more people could not afford to meet their basic needs. A fuel crisis in the north led to fuel shortages and price hikes. Government capacity to regularly pay salaries and pensions to public employees has been hindered and public services have been degraded. Between April and August 2020, heavy rains and flooding devastated communities, causing deaths and injuries, destroying infrastructure and livelihoods, and increasing the spread of deadly diseases. Tens of thousands of families were affected, many of them already displaced. Other natural hazards posed a threat, including desert locust infestations. The impact of the drivers of the crisis is most visible in the growing risk of famine and severe acute malnutrition, disease outbreaks, conflict casualties, forced displacement and reversal of past development gains. In addition, the conduct of the parties to the conflict had had a profound impact on the aid operation – particularly humanitarian access, aid delivery and data collection. [OCHA Report]

    In July it was reported that a large part of the population had been affected by heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding. Covid-19 continued to ravage the population. (No sports were available form the north of the country where the pandemic was not recognized. 11.3 million children were in need of humanitarian assistance and 20.7 million people were in need. [Reliefweb]

    United Nations; Yemen
    2021 21 Feb In a message to all National Assemblies the Universal House of Justice advised that about half of the $75m for the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been secured and they estimated that it would take an additional two years to finish the project. [Letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada 26 February 2021] `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 21 Feb The ground breaking ceremony for the first local Mashriqul-Adhkar in India was held in Bihar Sharif. The ceremony marking the start of construction of the local House of Worship brought together local dignitaries, representatives of the Bahá'í community and residents of the area. The groundbreaking ceremony culminated with the placing of soil collected from villages across the state of Bihar at the temple site. This gesture was evocative of the connection between the thousands of residents of these villages and the House of Worship. [BWNS1491] Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Bihar Sharif, India; * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Bihar Sharif, India; India
    2021 15 Feb In an update on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá it was reported that the first steps had been taken to raise the walls of the central plaza. [BWNS1489]
  • YouTube.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Akka, Israel
    2021 14 Feb A compilation on transsexuality was released by the Bahá'í World Centre titled Extracts from Letters Written on Behalf of the Universal House of Justice on Transsexuality. It was written by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice. Transgender (transsexuality); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 11 Feb In a message to an individual the Universal House of Justice responded to the question as to what a Bahá'í is to do in face of the misinformation that is so common in the world today. They quoted Bahá'u'lláh:

    In these days truthfulness and sincerity are sorely afflicted in the clutches of falsehood, and justice is tormented by the scourge of injustice.

    as well as:

    ...thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour.

    They encouraged us to rely on science and the independent investigation of truth but not to let differing opinions among the believers lead to division. [11 February 2021]

    Covid-19 (Corona virus); Misinformation; Science; Independent investigation of truth
    2021 8 - 17 Feb The 59th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD59) took place from 8 to 17 February 2021 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Commission is the advisory body responsible for the social development pillar of global development. At the conclusion of the session four draft resolutions, all without a vote, were forwarded to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for consideration, including one that addressed this year's priority theme for the 46-member subsidiary body — the role of digital technologies on social development and the well-being of all. [59th Session]
  • The Bahá'í International Community presented a statement and a video entitled Reflections of Our Values: Digital Technologies and a Just Transition.

    The Bahá'í International Community partnered with the United Arab Emirates and the NGO Committee on Social Development to host an online event entitled "Artificial Intelligence: Ethical Dimensions of the Virtual World". Drawing more than 100 diplomats, policy makers, and civil society actors, the panel discussion was organized under the auspices of the United Nations's 59th session of the Commission for Social Development. It responded to the Commission's focus on the role of digital technologies in providing for the well-being of all. [BWNS1487]

  • United Nations; Bahá'í International Community; New York, USA; New York, USA
    2021 5 Feb More than 40 prominent members of Canada's legal community, including former Supreme Court judges and justice ministers, have penned an open letter to the Chief Justice of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, in order to draw attention to what they call "an alarming new chapter" in Iran's state-sanctioned persecution of its Bahá'í religious minority. Their letter came in response to a series of court rulings in 2020 that sanctioned the confiscation of the properties of dozens Bahá'ís in the village of Ivel in northern Iran justifying the seizure and sale of land on the grounds their religion denies them the right to own property. [Globe & Mail 8Feb21]
  • For a complete report see Land confiscation and mass displacement of Bahá'ís in Iran.
  • For the letter and the list of signatories see Open Letter to the Chief Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney included his signature on this open letter. [BWNS1488]
  • Letter from the American Islamic Congress.
  • Iran Press Watch.
  • Open letter by Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel.
  • Statement by Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra Chair of the Virtues Ethics Foundation and one of the leading Islamic scholars in the United Kingdom.
  • A "Twitter Storm" was organized using #ItsTheirLand on the 22nd and 23rd of February.
  • The Canadian Foreign Minister, Marc Garneau, said his government was "concerned" by the ruling, urging Iran to "eliminate all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief." The call was echoed by officials in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Brazil, the United States, the European Parliament and the United Nations.
  • Support also came from the All India Tanzeem Faiahul Muslimeen and the all India Safi Association. [BWNS1480]
  • See the letter of support from South Africa's Legal Resources Centre. The LRC was established in 1979 to use the law as an instrument of justice, challenging the legal structures of apartheid. Since its inception, the LRC has always engaged in strategic legal interventions aimed at ensuring that all persons regardless of the race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation realise and enjoy their fundamental human rights.
  • Ahmed Shaheed, the UN's Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, said he stood in solidarity with the Bahá'ís in Iran "who are facing systemic persecution [and] egregious rights violations." [BWNS1495]
  • A webinar was held at the European Parliament on the situation in Ivel with participation from European Union officials and a former UN Special Rapporteur, Miloon Kothari. Additionally, the Chair of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Iran, Cornelia Ernst, called the Bahá'ís a "particularly vulnerable community" and condemned the Iranian government's "disastrous policies towards the Bahá'ís." [BWNS1495]
  • The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights strongly condemned the continued persecution of the Bahá'í community in Iran. [Iran Press Watch]
  • Canadian MPs from all five political parties recorded a video calling on the Iranian authorities: "Enough is enough". [Iran Press Watch]
  • Persecution, Iran; Ivel; Mazandaran, Iran; Iran
    2021 3 Feb To mark the 25th anniversary of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that resulted from the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the Bahá'í International Community released a film that reflected on the advances made toward the goals for gender equality articulated in the declaration.
    The feature-length film called Glimpses into the Spirit of Gender Equality premiered at a virtual screening before a gathering of UN officials, ambassadors of member states, non-governmental organizations, and other civil society actors.
      "The film examines advances in the area of equality of women and men at the level of the grassroots and their connection with the conversations that have been unfolding at the UN, drawing on examples inspired by Bahá'í community-building efforts in different countries around the world," said Saphira Rameshfar, Representative of the BIC.
  • The film available on YouTube. [BWNS1485]
  • For the response to this film see BIC News.
  • Bahá'í International Community; - Film; Gender; Equality; Saphira Rameshfar; Glimpses into the Spirit of Gender Equality; New York, USA
    2021 31 Jan Some 30 traditional chiefs from the area gathered in the village of Baro to discuss the future of their people. This was one of a continuing series of gatherings that were initiated by the Bahá'í community in collaboration with traditional leaders about two years ago.
    The consultations at the conference allowed the chiefs to examine many different societal issues, while drawing in part from the experience of the Bahá'ís of Chad in their community-building efforts. The moral education of children and youth, educational programs, the evolution of culture, and solving disagreements among people were some of the issues they addressed in their consultation. [BWNS1484]
    Public discourse; Baro, Chad; Chad
    2021 29 Jan Mr Turaj Amini began serving his sentence at the Central Prison in Karaj, Mehrshahr, located about an hour northwest of Tehran. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment and two years in exile on charges of "propaganda against the regime." He was taken to prison as the coronavirus outbreak was growing again in the city. Amini was not granted the right to take any of his personal belongings with him. Amini's wife suffers from acute multiple sclerosis and he was her carer.

    In July 2019 agents from the Ministry of Intelligence entered Mr. Amini's home and confiscated his books and computer. A year later, in August 2020, Mr. Amini was sentenced to a one-year term of imprisonment and two years of exile. That sentence was reduced to a six-month term of imprisonment at the Alborz Province Appeal Court.

    Mr Amini was denied access to higher education however he was been able to make a significant contribution in the field of Iranian history. Among his publications are:

    • Documents on Contemporary Iranian Zoroastrians
    • Documents on the Bahá'ís of Iran, a five-volume collection of governmental documents pertaining to the Bahá'ís of Iran
    • The Reciprocal Discourses of the Iranian Religious Minorities and the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911
    • Hidden Resurrection: An Exploration of the Babi and Bahá'í Faiths' Relationship with Iran's Intellectual Movements

    An open letter written on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) and signed by some 40 North American Islamic/Persian scholars was addressed to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, Head of the Judiciary calling on them to end such abuses, to promptly release Mr. Amini, and to return his computer and books so that he could resume his work and continue to make scholarly contributions that benefit all those who support and admire Iran and its peoples. [Telegraph posting 3 April 2021; Iran Press Watch; Iran Wire]

  • The Association for Iranian Studies also sent a letter on the 11th of February 2021 as did the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) on the 16th of March 2021.
  • Persecution, Iran; Touraj Amini; Karaj; Iran
    2021 26 Jan In a progress report the World Centre advised that the concrete bases that will support the two garden berms on either side of the central plaza for the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá were complete. The structural reinforcement and formwork for one of the walls enclosing the south plaza was also taking shape.
  • See reference for photos. [BWNS1483]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 13 Jan The Continental Board of Counsellors has informed all National Spiritual Assemblies in Europe that the Universal House of Justice has determined that, exceptionally, the new five-year term for Auxiliary Board members will this year begin on 1 July 2021 rather than on the Day of the Covenant. This is to provide the Auxiliary Board members with sufficient time to make preparatory arrangements for the conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members called for in January 2022. [UK Bahá'í News 13 January 2021] Auxiliary board members; Assistants; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2021 (In the year) The publication of Bahá'í Faith: The Basics by Christopher Buck. See the Critics' Reviews.

    This publication is available on the Routledge site as an ebook for loan if your institution has access. It may be previewed at this location. (Click on "Preview Book")

    Abingdon, England; United Kingdom; New York City, NY; USA
    2021 (In the year) By 2021 the situation for the Bahá'ís in Egypt had not changed much. The constitution identified Islam as the state religion and the principles of Shari'a as the primary source of legislation. While Article 64 stated that "freedom of belief is absolute," only Muslims, Christians, and Jews can practice their religion publicly and build places of worship. Of the country's estimated 104 million people, around 90 percent were Sunni Muslims, and non-Sunni Muslims, such as Shi'a Muslims, comprised less than 1 percent. An estimated 10 percent were Christians, the majority of whom belonged to the Coptic Orthodox Church; other Christians belong to various denominations that include Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical Protestant, Maronite, Armenian Apostolic, Greek and Syrian Orthodox, and others. There were at least 2,000 Bahá'ís, approximately 1,500 Jehovah's Witnesses, and fewer than 20 Jews. [US Commission on International Religious Freedom-Annual Report 2021 p67; Persecution.org] Persecution, Egypt; Egypt
    2020 (In review) The Bahá'í World News Service published 2020 In Review. Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2020 Dec As part of the series of events to mark the 10 year anniversary of the revelation in Tunisia, the Bahá'í community hosted a gathering, coinciding with UN Human Rights Day, to explore new conceptions of citizenship. The gathering brought together distinguished guests including Member of Parliament Jamila Ksiksi, Omar Fassatoui from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as academics and representatives of religious communities. In addition to participants who attended in person, thousands more were connected to the discussions through a live stream of the event.

    Mr. Ben Moussa of the Bahá'í Office of External Affairs expressed the opinion that new notions of citizenship must be based on inclusivity and not exclusivity, stating: "Societies have historically been built hierarchically: believer and nonbeliever, free person and slave, man and women. As a result, many segments of society have not been able to contribute to public life. In such an environment, a society is not able to reach its potential. [BWNS1476]

    Ben Moussa; Tunis, Tunisia; Tunisia
    2020 16 Dec The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution expressing "serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and increasing restrictions on … recognized and unrecognized religious minorities including … members of the Bahá'í faith."
          The resolution, approved by U.N. member states by a vote of 82-30, with 64 abstentions, also called upon Iran to stop the "denial of and restrictions on access to education" for members of recognized and unrecognized religious minorities, "including for members of the Baha'i faith."
          Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded to the U.N. vote by expressing "abhorrence of the deep-rooted hypocrisy" of the resolution's 45 co-sponsors, which include the U.S., Israel, Canada, Australia and other U.S. allies in Europe and the Pacific. He also called on the resolution's co-sponsors to "stop their interventionist and immoral behavior" toward Iran and unspecified other nations. [Iran Press Watch]
    Persecution, Iran; United Nations; New York, USA; New York, USA; Iran
    2020 15 Dec In a letter to an individual the Universal House of Justice stated that an individual Bahá'í could not refuse a governmental mandate of vaccination on religious grounds. [15 December 2020] Covid-19 (Corona virus)
    2020 11 Dec Work on the concrete walls and roof beams of the central edifice had been completed; work on the steelwork for the roof, the cladding for the external walls, and the decorations for the pillars and doorways continued. Work on the Reception Centre and other ancillary buildings were near completion.
  • The steel work to support the roof tiles was in place and the steelwork was covered with waterproofing and plaster.
  • The planters on the plinth around the central edifice were being prepared, work was just beginning on the gardens and paths that will surround the temple. [BWNS1473]
  • Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Kenya
    2020 8 Dec In a letter to an individual on the advisability of taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine the Universal House of Justice stated that the friends should follow the counsel of medical and other scientific experts. [12 December 2020] Covid-19 (Corona virus)
    2020 6 Dec The presentation of a webinar at the Wilmette Institute by Jan Teofil Jason entitled 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the "Other". In his presentation he discussed the newspaper coverage given 'Abdu'l-Bahá during his Western Tour, the influence of xenophobia on that coverage, and the challenges facing scholars in recovering those publications.
  • A PDF of his speaking notes was been made available.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Travels of; `Abdu'l-Bahá, Second Western tour; `Abdu'l-Bahá, Talks at public places; `Abdu'l-Bahá, Talks to ethnic groups; Xenophobia; Newspapers; Race; Wilmette, IL; Illinois, USA
    2020 5 Dec The Austrian Bahá'í Office of External Affairs launched a new vlog that will explore issues of national concern in Austria. It was titled "Themes that move Austria," and such topics as environmental protection, migration, social cohesion, and the role of youth in social transformation will be the subject of discussion. See the video featuring Dr Leyla Tavernaro of the Office of External Affairs in the referenced link. [BWNS1471] Public discourse; Internet; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Austria
    2020 The paintings of Maryam Safajoo depict the many forms of persecution faced by the Bahá'ís of Iran. She has exhibited her work at venues including Harvard University, the Massachusetts State House and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She has been interviewed by Voice of America, BBC, Radio Farda, Iran Wire, Iran Press Watch, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre and Persian Bahá'í Media Services about this current persecution. Boston Herald wrote an article about her life. She currently lives in Champaign, Illnois.
  • See her story in Iranwatch.
  • Persecution, Iran; Arts; Champaign, IL; Illinois, USA; USA
    2020 25 Nov The release of Creating an Inclusive Narrative, a publication of the Australian Bahá'í community. Hundreds of discussion were held all across the country to consider the future of their country. The results of the meetings were reported in this document.

    The Bahá'ís of Australia embarked on the two year project to facilitate discussion on social cohesion and related questions with hundreds of participants—including officials, organizations of civil society, journalists, and numerous social actors—across all states and territories.

    The project began in 2017 and by 2018 the Office of External Affairs had become more engaged. With the encouragement of different social actors and government departments, the idea for Creating an Inclusive Narrative began to take shape. Australia is a country of over 80 ethnic and racial groups in more than 417 localities and the process had to involve diverse voices from different realities throughout the country—east and west, rural and urban, and from the grassroots to the national level. In order for this to scale, many people were involved as facilitators. It was important that facilitators were residents of the areas in which gatherings were taking place ensuring their familiarity with local issues and concerns. This approach meant that facilitators and participants could continue their discussions in between the monthly gatherings, resulting in growing enthusiasm and interest among participants to continue the process. The project eventually sustained monthly gatherings concurrently across several states, resulting in a total of 50 roundtables. [BWNS1504; BWNS1470; BWNS1498]

  • The document is available in PDF format
  • Creating an Inclusive Narrative (publication); Australia
    2020 22 Nov Over a hundred government agents raided the shops and homes of tens of Baha'is across Iran, on 22 November 2020, and demanded that they hand over their property deeds. The simultaneous raids were staged in at least seven cities around the country and came just hours into a 15-day national lockdown imposed to slow coronavirus infections in the country.

    The raids took place in the capital Tehran, as well as Karaj, Isfahan, Mashhad, Kerman, Shahin-Shahr and Baharestan. Witnesses reported that the agents ignored all the government's own health protocols while at the homes of the Baha'is. [BIC News]

    Persecution, Iran; Tehran, Iran; Isfahan, Iran; Mashhad, Iran; Kerman; Shahin-Shahr, Iran; Baharestan, Iran; Iran
    2020 20 Nov Hamed bin Haydara told Al-Sharea daily newspaper that "The Houthis are applying a policy of silent extermination of our cultural and social heritage. This is a type of systematic religious cleansing crime. The Houthis are applying the same radical ideologies that they learnt in Iran, which deems members of religious minorities heretics. There is no country in the world that has persecuted the Baha'is like Iran and the Houthis. There is a great similarity between persecution against us in Iran and Sana'a, as both use the same methods of persecution, rhetoric, rumors and lies against the Bahá'ís," he said. Hamed bin Haydara and five others were expelled from Yemen in July. They were abruptly taken to a United Nations plane at Sana'a International Airport and forcibly sent into exile. They were not given an opportunity to settle their affairs in the country or to retrieve their belongings. They were taken to Luxembourg, where Haydara received medical treatment for injuries sustained during torture that have affected his hearing and mobility. [Iranwire 26 May 2-23]

    Note: Al-Shari 'newspaper is an independent newspaper publishing since 2007 in Sana'a. In 2015 it was forced to stop publishing due to harassment and threats received by the Houthi militia and resumed its daily publication from Aden. [Arab News 20/11/2020; Iran Wire 22NOV20]

    Persecution, Yemen; Hamed bin Haydara; Yemen
    2020 20 Nov The Bahá'í World News Service released a progress report on the construction of the Mashriqul-Adhkar in Port Moresby.

    After the laying of the foundations which was completed last December, work progressed on an intricate steel structure for the central edifice that traces the unique weaving pattern of the exterior. An innovative design for the steel dome, devised by Werkstudio, an engineering firm based in Germany and Poland, will provide the required strength with an economical use of material.

    The structural system will interfaces with the nine entrance canopies that provide lateral strength to the temple. This system, parts of which are nearing completion, will eventually support a steel dome mesh that will at its apex reach a height of approximately 16 meters above floor level.

    Designs were being finalized for wood panels that will adorn the entrances of the temple, using local timber. Planning is also under way for gardens that will surround the central edifice.

  • Photos.
  • Video.
  • Facebook page.
  • Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Port Moresby; * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Design; - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Architecture; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Papua New Guinea
    2020 18 Nov The United Nations General Assembly had passed a resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran and calling on Iran to honour the human rights of all its citizens, including members of the Bahá'í faith.

    The resolution asks Iran to "eliminate, in law and practice… all forms of discrimination on the basis of thought, conscience, religion or belief, including economic restrictions… [and] the denial of and restrictions on access to education, including for members of the Bahá'í faith." It also urges an end to "other human rights violations against persons belonging to recognized and unrecognized religious minorities."

    This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a breach of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

    Just four days after the UN resolution was passed there were raids on Bahá'í homes in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan and its suburbs, Mashhad and Kerman. [Iran Press Watch 22 November 2020; Iran Press Watch 23 November 2020]

    United Nations; Persecution, Iran; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); Tehran, Iran; Karaj; Isfahan, Iran; Mashhad, Iran; Kerman; Iran
    2020 16 Nov Progress report for the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was issued by the World Centre. Since the completion of the foundations for the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the first vertical elements were being raised. The subterranean portion of the structure, which will lie beneath the circular geometry, was also beginning to take shape. [BWNS1467]
  • Video.
  • Photos.
  • YouTube.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2020 2 - 6 Nov The Geneva Office of the Bahá'í International Community joined with civil society actors, academics, and representatives of UN agencies and international organizations to contribute to discussions on peace-building initiatives around the world at Geneva Peace Week, an annual event that has been held since 2014.

    In a seminar held by the Office, three members of the Bahá'í community with expertise in the fields of governance, economics, and the environment explored some of the implications of the BIC statement, A Governance Befitting, and its call for a "global civic ethic." The BIC presenters were: Maja Groff, an international lawyer based in The Hague, Netherlands, Augusto Lopez-Claros, executive director of the Global Governance Forum, and Arthur Lyon Dahl, president of the International Environment Forum. [BWNS1465]

  • Photos.
  • Bahá'í International Community; Geneva, Switzerland; Switzerland
    2020 Nov The release of the film The Mystery of God. It was written by Linda Marshall Youssefian and Nadia Ferrorini Cucè, and was directed and edited by Vargha Mazlum.
  • Vargha Mazlum has been involved in music and media for over 30 years, first as a singer/violinist in the musical band Light in the Darkness and then as a producer in China and Italy. Recently more involved in video/film development, historical research, editing and directing. His documentaries explore the lives of prominent historical Bahá'ís. [Bahá'í Chronicles]

    One of his previous productions was a film about Carole Lombard and another was called Liao Chongzhen: A Bright Candle of the World of Humanity.

  • See Wikipedia Liao Chongzhen.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Life of (chronology); - Documentaries; - Film; Mystery of God (film); Linda Marshall Youssefian; Nadia Ferrorini Cuce; Vargha Mazlum; Carole Lombard; Liao Chongzhen
    2020 29 Oct The Universal House of Justice announced an increase in the number of members of the Continental Board of Counsellors from 81 to 90. The names of those appointed for a five-year term to commence on the Day of the Covenant, the 25th of November 2020 were as follows:

    AFRICA (20 Counsellors): Mélanie Bangala, Mariama Ousmane Djaouga, Alain Pierre Djoulde, Agatha Sarinoda Gaisie-Nketsiah, Augustino Ibrahim, Mati Issoufou, Hamed Javaheri, Jacques Tshibuabua Kabuya, Musonda Kapusa-Linsel (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Linnet Sifuna Kisaka, Townshend Lihanda, Izzat Abumba Mionda, Maina Mkandawire, Judicaël Mokolé, Amélia Mujinga Ngandu, Nsika Mutasa, Michael Okiria, Nancy Oloro Robarts, Djamila Tchakréo, Jean- Pierre Tshibangu

    THE AMERICAS (21 Counsellors): José Luis Almeida, Ayafor Temengye Ayafor, Louis Boddy, Natasha Bruss, Beatriz Carmona, Brígida Carrillo, Ingrid Umpierre Conter, Blas Cruz Martínez, Daniel Duhart, Farah Guchani-Rosenberg, Sonlla Heern, Badí Hernández, Irene Iturburo, Nwandi Ngozi Lawson, Ada Micheline Leonce Ferdinand, Borna Noureddin (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Arthur Powell, Pejman Samoori, Bernardino Sánchez, William Silva, Margarita Valdez Martínez

    ASIA (27 Counsellors): Yam Prasad Acharya, Jamil Aliyev, Bhavna Anbarasan, Walid Ayyash, Marjini Deraoh, Gulnara Eyvazova, Shareen Farhad, Nadera Fikri, Kam Mui Fok Sayers, Rahul Kumar, Nicholas Loh, Parimal Mahato, Tarrant Matthew Mahony, Uttam Mitra, Myint Zaw Oo, Faris Naimi, Sokuntheary Reth, Foad Reyhani (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Artin Rezaie, Hesham Saad, Niroshani Saleh, Omid Seioshanseian, Dregpal Singh, Zebinisso Soliyeva, Ircham Sujadmiko, Fang Jung Tseng Chung, Ozoda Zoidova

    AUSTRALASIA (10 Counsellors): Bob Ale, Latai 'Atoa, Ritia Kamauti Bakineti, Kirk Johnson, Jalal Rodney Mills, Taraz Nadarajah, Daniel Pierce, Kessia Ruh, Vahid Saberi, Tessa Scrine (Trustee of the Continental Fund) To the Bahá'ís of the World 2 29 October 2020

    EUROPE (12 Counsellors): Raffaella Capozzi Gubinelli, Aistė Elijio, Orlando Ravelo Hernández, Varqá Khadem, Shirin Youssefian Maanian, Sabà Mazza, Veranika Medvedeva, Hedyeh Nadafi-Stoffel, Yevgeniya Poluektova, Mehdi Rezvan, Amir Saberin (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Paul Verheij

    The Universal House of Justice paid tribute to those retiring members:
    Vugar Alizadeh, Naisan Azimi, Ronny Brenes, Olga Daradur, Jabbar Eidelkhani, Clément Thyrrell Feizouré, Shirin Fozdar-Foroudi, Zoraida García Garro, Bernard Lo Cascio, Lee Lee Loh Ludher, Sehla Masunda, Nibras Sarmad Moqbel, Aggrey Zeyazi Munubi, Delafruz Nassimova, Ahmad Parsa, U'ileiuluwehi Pimental, Iharinirina Rakotomavo, Carmen Elisa de Sadeghian, Rajan Sawant, Mark Sisson, Christopher Kiprotich Songok, Raúl Taboada, Henry Tamashiro, Shabnam Tashakour

    Counsellors; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2020 21 Oct The Bahá'í International Community launched the statement entitled A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The launch event, which welcomed some 200 attendees across the world, was an invitation to further exploration and one of many contributions the BIC is making to discussions about the need for systems of global cooperation to be strengthened. [BWNS1461]

    The statement, which was released in September, highlights the need for systems of global cooperation to be strengthened if humanity is to address the serious challenges of our time and seize the immense opportunities of the coming years for progress.

  • YouTube
  • See a perspective piece on the statement by journalist and anthropologist Temily Tavangar.
  • United Nations; - Statements; - BIC statements; Bahá'í International Community; New York, USA; USA
    2020 18 Oct The groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future national Mashriqul-Adhkar was held at the temple site near Kinshasa. The event, which coincided with the celebration of the Birth of Báb, was broadcast on national television and was host to government officials, representatives of religious communities and traditional chiefs. [BWNS1460]
  • Photos of the event. [BWNS]
  • The design of the national Bahá'í House of Worship of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[BWNS1438]
  • Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Kinshasa; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2020 13 Oct The Mazandaran Court of Appeal, in northern Iran, validated the expropriation of 27 Baha'i farming families, settled since the 19th century in the village of Ivel. Bahá'í inhabitants had already been expropriated in 1983 and 2010. Since then, the remaining Bahá'í families had to apply for permits to use their property. land, lead their herds and collect the nuts grown in their orchards. The decision marks the end of all legal remedies and validates their final expulsion from the village. [Teller Report] Persecution, Iran; Ivel; Iran
    2020 8 Oct Ehsan Yarshater, a Persian academic scholar and a historian and linguist by training, founded the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University, New York in 1968. The center changed its name later to the Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies. He dedicated his life to creating the Encyclopedia that would cover anything Iranian studies related – a comprehensive reference for Iranology. He began to physically publish Encyclopaedia Iranica in 1973 with the first volume becoming available in 1981.

    Approximately 7,100 articles have been published in print or online in the Encyclopedia of Iranica after four decades. If one includes cross-reference, the total of entries would be over 9,000.

    In 1990, Professor Yarshater established the Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation to ensure the continuation of this comprehensive scholarly work. He was the Foundation's President until his passing at the age of 98 in 2018.

    Columbia University and the Encyclopædia Iranica became involved in two lawsuits: In the first, Columbia University asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to rule that Columbia owned the copyright of Encyclopedia of Iranica. In the second the EIF accused Columbia university of infringing Iranica's copyrights and misusing their trademarks. A year later, in July 2020, the court granted the EIF a temporary restraining order to prevent Columbia from using the "Encyclopaedia Iranica" name connected with its publications. As a result, Columbia University had to stop publishing facsimile 6 of Volume XVI of the encyclopedia. The restraining order was lifted in October 2020.

    The ruling by the New York court not only granted the Yarshater Center at Columbia University the right to publish Encyclopaedia Iranica but by implication viewed Columbia as the legitimate holder of Iranica's copyright. The legal battle continues. [Radio Maneh]

    Encyclopedia Iranica; Encyclopedias; Columbia University, New York; Ehsan Yarshater; New York, USA
    2020 1 Oct The release of the documentary film Nasrin, about the Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, in the USA. [IMDB; Wikipedia]

    The American screenwriter, director and producer Jeff Kaufman and his co-producer, Marcia S. Ross, were unable to get visas to travel to Iran themselves. They relied on their on-the-ground film crew as well as calls with Sotoudeh and her husband Khandan. The film took four years to make and is essential viewing. Everyone involved, including Sotoudeh, put themselves in jeopardy by agreeing to participate in the project, but clearly, for them, the importance of its message outweighed the risk of arrest. The project also had to forego crowdfunding or fundraising of any kind in order to keep the film secret and protect those involved.

    Sotoudeh has been called "the Nelson Mandela of Iran." [Forbes] ,

  • The film was released for VOD on the 26th of January 2012. See an interview with the director, Jeff Kaufman and the producer, Marcia Ross in Awards Daily 26 January 2021.
  • - Documentaries; - Film; Nasrin (documentary film); Nasrin Sotoudeh; Persecution, Iran; - Persecution, Human rights; USA; Iran
    2020 29 Sep A progress report on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was released. The project continued to progress with appropriate health measures in place to protect the safety of all the personnel from the pandemic.

    The central foundation of 2,900 square metres was completed in a single concrete pour. It is supported by deep underground piles.

    Next the base will be laid for the sloping gardens that will rise from the encircling path to culminate over the spot where the sacred remains of 'Abdu'l-Bahá will rest.

    Permits have been obtained for the final stages of construction. [BWNS1454]

  • Video.
  • YouTube.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Akka, Israel
    2020 28 Sep The Kitáb-i-Aqdas was translated and published in Icelandic. The effort to produce the Icelandic translation was a significant undertaking requiring a dedicated team a year and a half to complete the work. [BWNS1536] Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book); Translation; Rekjavik; Iceland
    2020 28 Sep The passing of former Universal House of Justice member James Douglas Martin (b. 24 February 1927 in Chatham, Ontario) in Toronto. [CBNS]

    See Memorial for Douglas Martin -Online Commemoration.

    He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada from 1960 to 1985 and served the last twenty years as the general secretary. In 1985. He was appointed director-general of the Bahá'í International Community's Office of Public Information at the World Centre. He served in that capacity until 1993 when he was elected to the Universal House of Justice. He retired from the House of Justice in 2005 due to considerations of age and related needs of the Faith. [BWNS1455]

  • In 1984 he co-authored the introductory text,The Bahai Faith: The Emerging Global Religion with his friend William S Hatcher.
  • His essay, The Missionary as Historian: William Miller and the Bahá'í Faith was a review of William McElwee Miller's book The Bahá'í Faith: Its History and Teachings.
  • His series of talks entitled Historical Consciousness and the Divine Plan was packaged as a compact disc and has been made available on Bahá'í Library.
  • His paper Persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran 1844-1984 published in Bahá'í Studies in 1984 is available in PDF.
  • His article Humanity's Coming Encounter with Baha'u'llah was published in American Bahá'í in 1992.
  • In 1998 his article Bahá'í Faith was published in Canadian Encyclopedia.
  • The Mission of the Bab: Retrospective 1844-1944 as published in Bahá'í World. [BW23p193] iiiii
  • Douglas Martin; In Memoriam; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Toronto, ON; Canada; Chatham, ON; Ontario, Canada
    2020 25 Sep The passing of former Universal House of Justice member Farzam Arbab (b. 1941 in Tehran) in San Diego where he had been living.

    He completed an undergraduate degree at Amherst College, Massachusetts in 1964 and obtained a doctorate in physics at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1968 before settling in Colombia as a pioneer.

    From 1970 until 1980 he served as the Chairman for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Colombia. In 1980 he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith in the Americas, on which he served for eight years. In 1988, he was named to the Bahá'í International Teaching Centre and was a member of that body until 1993, when he was first elected to the Universal House of Justice. He served until his retirement in 2013.

    He served as president of Fundacion para la Aplicacion de las Ciencias (FUNDAEC), a nongovernmental development agency in Colombia, from 1974 to 1988, and continued to serve on its board of directors until the end of his life. [BWNS1453; Bahaipedia]

  • Documents by Dr Arbab.
  • Scientific documents by Dr Arbab.
  • In Memoriam; Farzam Arbab; Universal House of Justice, Members of; San Diego, CA; USA
    2020 24 Sep The passing of former member of the International Teaching Centre Violette Haake (b.1928 in Iran) in Melbourne, Australia. She served in the United States and in Australia in the role of Auxiliary Board Member, as a Continental Counsellor in Australasia and ten years as a member of the International Teaching Centre. [BWNS1452] Violette Haake; In Memoriam; Auxiliary board members; Melbourne, Australia; Australia
    2020 23 Sep Progress report on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:
  • A tower crane was erected on the site to facilitate the work of laying the foundations for the edifice. Photo.
  • The support piles that had been driven deep at the center of the site were capped with a layer of concrete to provide stability for the structure to be erected above. Photo.
  • The foundations that will support the north and south entrances leading toward the central structure and the walls that will enclose an inner garden area were taking shape. Photo.
  • The detailed designs needed for future work are taking their final shape while preparations for further stages of construction have begun. Initial tests are underway on innovative techniques needed to build the intricate marble-clad trellis and skylights that will stretch out from the central structure to the surrounding gardens. [BWNS1419]
  • An aerial photo of the site.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2020 22 Sep The Association for Bahá'í Studies UK launched a new website. The core focus was on creating and supporting special interest groups: groups that correlate Bahá'í teachings to discourses in society through activities that range from informal study and discussions to publications and seminars. Bahá'í Studies, Associations for; London, England; United Kingdom
    2020 21 Sep The German news agency DW obtained a leaked document that appeared to be the minutes of a meeting that was held in the city of Sari in Iran's northern province of Mazandaran. According the document, 19 representatives of key Iranian agencies, including the intelligence services and the police, as well as state authorities responsible for business, commerce and education, gathered in the northern province of Mazandaran for a meeting of the so-called Commission for Ethnic Groups, Sects and Religions. The stated aim: "To gain control over the misguided movement of the perverse Bahá'í sect." The document confirms that the persecution was nothing less than official government policy and that there was a concerted strategy in place in which a government authority provided direction to a whole range of other agencies. When an accusation is made that the persecution of the Bahá'ís is state policy they usually sidestep the issue by saying that there are "various tendencies and groupings in Iranian society' who find the Bahá'í offensive."
  • The document showed a "detailed plan" to ensure that the Bahá'í community is "rigorously controlled", including their "public and private meetings" as well as "their other activities". It was issued by the Commission on Ethnicities, Sects and Religions in Sari, which operated under the aegis of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, a body chaired by Iran's president and responsible for security matters.
  • For the village of Ivel, the home of one of the oldest Bahá'í communities in Iran, the persecution began in earnest in 1983 when they were first driven out when trucks and bulldozers moved in and destroyed fifty houses. They have made periodic visits to the village since that time to tend to their crops and herds. [DW 8Mar21; BIC News 10Mar21]
  • Persecution, Iran; Sari, Iran; Iran; Ivel; Iran
    2020 21 Sep The Bahá'í International Community issued a statement entitled A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. [BIC Publications]
  • The PDF was made available in English.
  • The statement was released following the UN75 Global Governance Forum that was held on the 16 and 17th of September with the theme "the future we want, the UN we need". [UN2020]
  • Bahá'í International Community; United Nations; New York, USA; USA
    2020 18 Sep The passing of Talat Bassari (b. 1923 Babol, Iran) in Los Angeles. She was an Iranian Bahá'í poet, feminist, academic, and writer with a doctorate in Persian language and literature. She was the first woman to be appointed as vice-chancellor of a university in Iran when she worked at the Jondishapur University in Ahvaz (1956–1979). In the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in Iran and because of her Bahá'í faith, she was dismissed from her university position and eventually migrated to the United States.

    In addition to her critiques on Persian literature she published a biography of Zandokht Shiraizi, a pioneer in the feminist movement in Iran. She resided in New Jersey where she worked on the editorial board of the New Jersey-based magazine, Persian Heritage. Bassari also assisted in books on the life of Táhirih and contributed with Persian to English translations in academia. [Wikipedia]

    In Memoriam; Talat Bassari; Women; Tahirih; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Iran
    2020 24 Aug Wildfires caused widespread destruction in California in the summer of 2020. The National Assembly of the United States informed the Bahá'í community that "the property (Bosch Bahá'í School)sustained severe damage to a number of structures; many were a total loss, including the cabins. However, several other buildings, including most of the major structures, appear to have been spared."

    "Bosch has for several decades served as a vital center of learning and inspiration," the letter continued. "We have no doubt that, once the present difficulties are overcome, it will once again become a place radiating the light of the unifying teachings of our Faith and a source of spiritual power for the entire region." [US Bahá'í News}

    - Bahá'í schools (conference centres); Bosch Bahá'í School; Bonny Doon, CA; California, USA
    2020 30 Jul It was announced that Mr. Hamed bin Haydara, Mr. Waleed Ayyash, Mr. Akram Ayyash, Mr. Kayvan Ghaderi, Mr. Badiullah Sanai, and Mr. Wael al-Arieghie, prominent Bahá'ís that had been imprisoned by the Houthi authorities in Sana'a, were released from prison in Sana'a. Their years-long incarceration on charges of espionage and heresy had drawn worldwide condemnation.
  • Following their release, the Bahá'í International Community called for the lifting of all charges against these six individuals and the other Bahá'ís that had been charged, the return of their assets and properties, and the safeguarding of the rights of all Bahá'ís in Yemen to live according to their beliefs without risk of persecution. [BIC News 30 July 2020]
  • The release of the six came four months after the Shiite Houthis announced they had commuted the death sentence of Hamed bin Haydara and ordered his release, as well as that of the other five detainees. The six men were flown out of Yemen to Ethiopia late on Thursday, said bin Haydara's wife, Alham. It was reported that they were living in "safe" locations in Europe, receiving medication for wounds and diseases that they contracted during their detention inside Houthi prisons. [San Francisco Chronicle 30 July 2020; Arab News 20/11/2020]
  • The six had been detained at various times:
        Mr. Haydara, an engineer, was arrested because of his beliefs at his workplace in December 2013. Following a long court case that lacked due process, he was sentenced to death in 2018. His appeal was rejected in 2020.
        Mr. Ghaderi, a project officer, was arrested in 2016 when a gathering was raided.
        In April 2017, Mr. Waleed Ayyash, a Yemeni tribal leader, was arrested on his way to Hudaydah and was held in an undisclosed location.
        The following month, Mr. Al-Arieghie, a civil rights activist, was abducted by the authorities in Sana'a.
        Mr. Sana'i, a prominent civil engineer in Yemen in his late 60s, was arrested in front of his workplace.
        In October 2017, Mr. Akram Ayyash, a manager of a nonprofit organization, was arrested during a raid by security forces on a Bahá'í celebration.
  • In September 2018, these five, along with nineteen others, were indicted at a court hearing in Sana'a under baseless charges. [BWNS1443]
  • Diane Ala'i, representative of the Bahá'í International Community, expressed gratitude to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for their support. [The National]
  • Upon their release they were immediately exiled from the country. [AL Monitor 10 August 2020]
  • Following another court hearing on 22 August 2020 the charges against the six men were not dropped and the prosecution declared the recently released men as "fugitives" despite the fact that their departure from Yemen had been a condition of their release. The prosecution asked the bailors to ensure the compulsory attendance of five of them at the next hearing scheduled for the 12th of September. [BIC News]
  • Persecution, Yemen; Hamed bin Haydara; Waleed Ayyash; Akram Ayyash; Kayvan Ghaderi; Badiullah Sanai; Wael al-Arieghie; Bahá'í International Community; Sanaa, Yemen; Yemen; Ethiopia
    2020 22 Jul The Universal House of Justice addressed a message to the Bahá'ís of the United States on the subject racism in their country. [22 July 2020]
  • Audio version.
  • Racism; - Bahá'í World Centre; USA
    2020 11 Jul The Bahá'í Chair for Studies in Development organized a series of webinars on the social and economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on India's most vulnerable populations in rural and urban areas. The first of these webinars was titled Making Cities Belong to Those Who Build Them: Towards a More Inclusive Urbanization.

    The webinar explored the various dimensions of the challenge with urban development in India. Deliberations were focused on the dual need to bring about structural changes to make urban spaces more inclusive and to transform the way the urban poor are conceived in development thinking and urban policies. Speakers included the following noted economists, social scientists and development practitioners: Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Distinguished Fellow, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, New Delhi; Prof. Partha Mukhopadhyay, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi; Dr Siddharth Agarwal of the Urban Health Research Centre, New Delhi; Dr Puja Guha Azim Premji University, Bangalore; Dr Vandana Swami, Azim Premji University, Bangalore and Ms Caroline Fazli, Research Scholar, University of Bath. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Arash Fazli, Head, Bahá'í Chair for Studies in Development.

    Bahá'í Chair for Studies in Development; Indore, India
    2020 10 Jul In a message to an individual the Universal House of Justice stated that a Bahá'í was required to obey the civil laws mandating vaccination. [10 July 2020] Covid-19 (Corona virus)
    2020 3 Jul The passing of Sir Earl Cameron (b. 8th August 1917 in Pembrooke Parish, Bermuda) at his home in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.
  • Earl went to Britain in 1939 and after a stint in the British merchant navy rose to fame in the 1951 movie Pool of London, where he played a merchant sailor who falls in love with a white woman. It was the first major role for a Black actor in a British mainstream film and also dealt with the topic of a mixed-race relationship, generally acknowledged as the first such portrayal in a British film. He went on to star in movies and TV shows including the 007 film Thunderball, Dr. Who, The Queen, Saffire, and Inception to name but a very few. His acting career spanned seven decades and included stage, screen, and television. As an artist and actor, he refused to accept roles that demeaned or stereotyped the character of people of colour.
  • He became a committed Bahá'í in 1963 when a friend took him to an event at the time of the World Congress in London and subsequently pioneered to the Solomon Islands. After returning to Britain his acting career experienced a revival, with a key role in the 2005 United Nations thriller The Interpreter as an African president accused of war crimes.
  • In 2012 he returned to his country of birth to open the Earl Cameron Theatre in Hamilton, Bermuda. [Doctor Who News 4 July 2020]
  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the high accolade of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honors list for services to drama in a career spanning seven decades. [The Guardian 4 July 2020; Wikipedia; BWNS1184]
  • His obituary in the New York Times in print on July 11, 2020, Section A, Page 21.
  • Earl Cameron; In Memoriam; Queen Elizabeth II; Kenilworth, England; United Kingdom; Pembrooke Parish; Bermuda
    2020 2 Jul The design for the national Bahá'í House of Worship to be built in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was unveiled through an online announcement by the National Spiritual Assembly.

    The design, created by Wolff Architects in Cape Town, South Africa, was inspired by traditional artworks, structures and natural features of the DRC, as well as by the Bahá'í sacred teachings, particularly by the spiritual concept that God's bounty is unceasingly flowing over all people. The patterns that will adorn the outside of the dome of the central edifice will express this idea in a style reminiscent of the artwork of various Congolese peoples.

    Commenting on the design, the architects stated: "We were inspired by an image of 19th century Congolese architecture which showed the most beautiful structures that appear to have finely woven bamboo facades with a parabolic roof made of palm leaves. These houses were located amongst giant baobab trees. ... The undulating roof of the temple makes reference to this history." [BWNS1438; BWNS1649]

    A section drawing showing the temple's interior (top) and an elevation drawing of the temple's exterior (bottom).

    Some team members of the firm Wolff Architects Nokubekezela Mchunu, Alexandra Böhmer, Bayo Windapo, Takalani Mbadi, Paul Munting, Temba Jauch, Matthew Eberhard, and Alex Coetzee.

    Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Kinshasa; - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Design; Architecture; Architects; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2020 (Mid year) The Pakistani government continued to prohibit citizens, regardless of religious affiliation, from travelling to Israel by marking Pakistani passports as "valid in all countries, except for Israel." Representatives of the Bahá'í community continued to say this policy particularly affected them because the Bahá'í World Centre is in Haifa, Israel. Christian advocates also called on the government to allow Christians to travel to Israel. [US State Department's Report on International Religious Freedom for 2020] Persecution, Pakistan; Pakistan
    2020 (Mid year) As of mid year 2020 the U.S. Department of State in their Report on International Religious Freedom 2020. estimated there were between 350 to 400 Bahá'ís in Morocco, a country with a population of 36.7 million. More than 99% of the population was Sunni Muslim. Religions other than Islam and Judaism are not recognized by the constitution or laws. Voluntary conversion is not a crime under the law. The law can penalizes anyone who "employs enticements to undermine the faith" or converts a Muslim to another faith by exploiting a weakness or need for assistance, or through the use of educational, health, or other institutions. The law government may summarily expel any noncitizen resident determined to be "a threat to public order," and the government has used this clause to expel foreigners suspected of proselytizing.

    The challenge for the Bahá'í Community was the lack of legal recognition, which created difficulties for Moroccan Bahá'ís with regard to the personal status system. [Yabiladi]

    Persecution, Morocco; Morocco
    2020 29 Jun The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Papua New Guinea issued a statement through its External Affairs department entitled Forging a Path to Gender Equality in response to a series of tragic events and a situation that intensified during the pandemic. [BWNS1439]
  • Statement on the External Affairs website.
  • Equality; Women; - Statements; Public discourse; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Papua New Guinea
    2020 19 Jun The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States issued a statement entitled Forging a Path to Racial Justice in response to the death of George Floyd and the subsequent demonstrations for racial unity that followed.
  • See as well their website Race Unity Action.
  • See also The Bahá'í Response to Racial Injustice and Pursuit of Racial Unity Part 1 (1912-1996) and Part 2 (1996-2021). [BWNS1514]
  • Race amity; Race; Race unity; Racism; - Statements; Public discourse; Wilmette, IL; USA
    2020 12 Jun The Bahá'í World News Service provided a progress report on the construction of the first local Mashriqul-Adhkar in Africa located in Matunda, Kenya. The foundations for the central edifice have been laid and the nine walls have been raised. In addition, the supports for the roof had been put into place.
  • The Temple had already become a point of adoration. Prior to the global health crisis, people were gathering on the grounds to pray and take part in community education programs, consulting about how they can develop their capacity to offer service to their society. [BWNS1434]
  • Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Matunda Soy, Kenya; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Kenya
    2020 12 Jun In Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the temple site was being prepared for the construction phase while they waited in anticipation of the unveiling of the design. [BWNS1434] Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, National; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Kinshasa; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire)
    2020 8 Jun In a report by the Bahá'í International Community about the intensification of persecution in Iran, they reveal that the recent pressures come as Iran's state-affiliated media have also stepped up the public defamation of the Bahá'ís through an increasingly coordinated spread of disinformation. Television channels, newspapers, radio stations and social media have been saturated with articles and videos denigrating Bahá'í beliefs, all while Bahá'ís were denied the right of reply. More than 3,000 articles of anti-Bahá'í propaganda were recorded by the Bahá'í International Community to this date in 2020, the figures doubling from January to April. [BIC News 8 Jun 2020] Persecution, Iran; Iran
    2020 2 Jun The passing of Hossain Banadaki Danesh in Victoria, BC
  • His major publications were:
    • The Violence Free-Society: A Gift for Our Children. Bahá'í Studies. Vol. 6. 1979.
    • Unity: The Creative Foundation of Peace. Bahá'í Studies Publications, Ottawa 1986.
    • The Psychology of Spirituality. Paradigm Publishing, Manotick, Ontario 1994.
    • The Violence Free Family. Building Block of a Peaceful Civilization. Bahá'í Studies Publications, Ottawa, Canada 1995.
    • Conflict-Free Conflict Resolution (CFCR): Process and Methodology. with Roshan Danesh. Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall. (March 21, 2004).
    • Unity of Faith and Reason in Action 2010.
    • The Unity-Based Family. An Empirical Study of Healthy Marriage, Family, and Parenting. H.B. Danesh, MD, FRCP(C), with Azin Nasseri, PhD. Cambridge Scholars Publishing; 1 edition (1 April 2017).
  • For a more complete list see his website.
  • Documents by Hossain Danesh on Bahai-library.com.
  • YouTube.
  • See his website. iiiii
  • Hossain Danesh; Victoria, BC; Canada
    2020 The Bahá'í community in Iran experienced increased pressures since the COVID-19 epidemic began in Iran in February. There was an upsurge in threats and persecution particularly in Shiraz, with an unprecedented number of new prison sentences, high numbers of people being returned to prison who had been given temporary leave due to the coronavirus outbreak. There was a fresh hate speech campaign against Bahá'ís in the national media. Since the Persian new year on March 20, the Bahá'í International Community reported, at least 3,000 pieces of anti-Bahá'í propaganda had been published in Iranian state media. The community was denied the right to respond publicly to these reports and accusations.
  • In Shiraz, some 40 Bahá'ís whose cases had been suspended for months, were summoned to court, part of a growing and unprecedented trend of the city's Bahá'ís in recent years. One judicial official in Shiraz announced his intention to eradicate Bahá'ís from that city. [Iran Wire; BWNS1433; Archives of Persecution]
  • Persecution, Iran; Shíráz, Iran; Iran
    2020 25 May George Floyd, an African-American man, was killed during an arrest by four police officers. Subsequently a memorial was set up for him on the site where he died. [Wikipedia]
  • The memorial was about one block from the Minneapolis Bahá'í Center. See The American Bahá'í - August/September/October 2020 • V51N04 for the story of how the Bahá'í community reacted to the crisis in their neighbourhood.
  • George Floyd; Minneapolis, MN; Minnesota, USA; USA
    2020 May The publication of A World in Travail: Understanding and Responding to the Events of Our Time compiled by Kamran Sedig. - Compilations; Crisis
    2020 29 Apr The design for the local Bahá'í House of Worship to be built in Bihar Sharif was unveiled. (Due to the coronavirus situation, the announcement was made online in lieu of a ceremony that would have marked the historic event.) News of this project was announced in 2012 along with other projects in Battambang, Cambodia; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu.
  • The architectural firm Space Matters of New Delhi was selected and the project was the creation of the founders of the firm, Moulshri Joshi, Amritha Ballal, and Suditya Sinha.
  • The design.
  • See article in Architecture Live.
  • Drawing on patterns found in the Madhubani folk art of Bihar and the region's long architectural heritage, the firm created a design with a repeating pattern of arches. The domed edifice will step up from nine arches at the base, multiplying until each segment appears to merge into a single geometry. Openings at the center of the dome and in each ring of arches will reduce the weight of the ceiling while allowing gentle light to filter in. [BWNS1421]
  • Slideshow.
  • * Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (House of Worship); - Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Bihar Sharif, India; New Delhi, India; India
    2020 28 Apr The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan federal government advisory entity. The U.S. Congress created the USCIRF to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to freedom of religion. In their annual report, USCIRF 2020 Annual Report (PDF) they documented a particular uptick in the persecution of Bahá'ís and of any local government officials who supported them in 2019. Iran's government blamed Baha'is for widespread popular protests, accusing the community of collaboration with Israel and continued to promote hatred against Bahá'ís and other religious minorities on traditional and social media channels.

      More specifically the USCIRF released Iran Policy Brief: Increased Persecution of Iran's Bahá'í Community in 2019 (PDF). Referring to the continuing violations of religious freedom by the clergy-dominated Islamic Republic government, the report urged the U.S. government to impose sanctions on government institutions and officials responsible for violating religious freedoms in Iran, to freeze their assets and to ban them from entering the United States.

    Persecution, Iran; - Persecution, Human rights; Human Rights; USA; Iran
    2020 23 Apr Despite slowdowns in aspects of the project to ensure the safety of personnel on the construction site, foundational work advanced and was nearing completion. A tower crane was installed on the site to be used in the laying of the foundation. The support piles that had been driven deep into the centre of the site were capped with a layer of concrete that will provide stability for the structure. [BWNS1419] `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS); - Bahá'í World Centre
    2020 22 Apr The Brussels Office of the Bahá'í International Community launched a quarterly newsletter to share more widely insights emerging from its efforts to contribute to contemporary discourses in Europe. [BWNS1424; BIC Newsletter]
  • Click here to subscribe.
  • Bahá'í International Community; - Newsletters; Brussels, Belgium; Belgium
    2020 20 Apr A new section, featuring images, videos, and music from commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Báb, was added to the two bicentenary websites. These websites stand as a permanent testament to how Bahá'ís and many of their compatriots throughout the world—from major urban centres to remote rural locations—commemorated the bicentennial anniversaries of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb in 2017 and 2019, respectively. The final additions made to the bicentenary websites included country pages illustrating the diversity of celebrations that these historic occasions inspired in over 150 countries and territories. [BWNS1717] Bahá'u'lláh, Birth of; Centenaries; Twin Holy days; Holy days; Websites; Internet; * Publications; Translation; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2020 11 Apr The Iranian government released a number of prisoners of conscience in the country as a result of health risks associated with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This included several Baha'is imprisoned purely for their religious beliefs. However, other Bahá'ís remained in prison, raising increasing concern for their health. [BIC News Release] Persecution, Iran; Covid-19 (Corona virus); Iran
    2020 8 Apr In a letter to a National Spiritual Assembly The Universal House of Justice clarified burial during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. [8 April 2020] Covid-19 (Corona virus)
    2020 25 Mar The Houthi authorities announced the intended release of all Bahá'í prisoners in Yemen as well as a pardon for Hamed bin Haydara whose death sentence was upheld by an appeals court in Sana'a just two days prior. The six Bahá'ís that were to be released from custody were the aforementioned Mr. Hamed bin Haydara, as well as Mr. Waleed Ayyash, Mr. Akram Ayyash, Mr. Kayvan Ghaderi, Mr. Badiullah Sanai, and Mr. Wael al-Arieghie.
  • The Bahá'í International Community further advocated for the Houthi authorities to drop charges that were issued in 2018 against over 20 other Bahá'ís, to return seized assets and properties of members of the Bahá'í community, and to allow the functioning of Bahá'í institutions in Yemen. [Asharq Al-Awsat 27 March 2020]
  • The announcement was made In a general television address by Mr. Mahdi al-Mashat, President of the Houthi Supreme Political Council. [BIC 25 March 2020]
  • Notwithstanding the above, the prisoners were not released.
  • Persecution, Yemen; - Persecution, Court cases; Hamed bin Haydara; Waleed Ayyash; Akram Ayyash; Kayvan Ghaderi; Badiullah Sanai; Wael al-Arieghie; Bahá'í International Community; Sanaa, Yemen; Yemen
    2020 23 Mar The passing of prominent jazz musician Mike Longo. He had a distinguished jazz career as a pianist, composer, and educator, notably as longtime musical director for fellow Bahá'í Dizzy Gillespie. He died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The cause of death was COVID-19. [Live Stream WBGO 23 March 2020] Mike Longo; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Jazz music; - Famous Bahá'ís; New York, USA; USA
    2020 22 Mar Houthi-controlled Court of Appeal upheld the preliminary ruling that ordered the execution of Hamed bin Haydara. He was not allowed to attend the trial nor was he allowed to have anyone defend him. The court ruling also ordered that his properties, as well as those of the Bahá'í institutions in the country, be confiscated. [Republican Yeman dated 22 March 2020]
  • In January 2018, Mr. Haydara was sentenced to public execution. Eighteen court hearings have been held since then, and the last one was scheduled to have taken place on March 31, before being brought forward unexpectedly to the 22nd of March. This hearing took place after more than six years of unjustified detention, false and unfounded allegations, and harsh and degrading treatment of Mr. Haydara.
  • In recent years, the first instance court in Sana'a has not only tried Mr. Haydara but has targeted more than twenty members of the Bahá'í community, including members of the Bahá'í administrative structure. Mr. Haydara was one of six Bahá'ís detained in Yemen for their beliefs at the time of this hearing.
  • The case of Mr. Haydara has received widespread media attention since his detention. See Media Coverage and Statements on the Persecution of the Bahá'ís in Sana'a, Yemen.
  • Bahá'ís have been systematically persecuted since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Iranian state even formulated its own state doctrine in 1991 with the aim of eliminating Bahá'í as a viable community in Iran and abroad. The persecution was exported to Yemen via the influence on the Houthis. [Website of the Bahá'í community in Germany]
  • For further information see BWNS 1303; BWNS 1232; BIC 21 March 2020; BIC 23 March 2020; BWNS 1036.
  • Amnesty International.
  • Hamed bin Haydara; - Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Yemen; Sanaa, Yemen; Yemen
    2020 9 -20 Mar The Bahá'í International Community submitted a statement entitled Developing New Dynamics of Power to Transform the Structures of Society to the Commission on the Status of Women in the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.

    The statement can be found on the UN website.

    Bahá'í International Community; - Statements; Equality; New York, USA; USA
    2020 2 Mar The Bahá'í International Community-Brussels hosted a conference entitled A Vision for A Society of the Future? A Brainstorming Session on AI. [YouTube; BIC website]
  • See Uplifting Words for a brief report on the brainstorming session.
  • Bahá'í International Community; Brussels, Belgium; Belgium
    2020 25 Feb A hearing on the case of 24 Yemeni Bahá'ís took place in Sana'a. The presiding judge, Mujahed al-Amdi, mocked the defence lawyer when he protested at being denied access to his clients. The judge later relented yet made access to the Bahá'ís contingent on officers being present during any meeting, in violation of their rights. Judge al-Amdi also tried during the hearing to replace the defence lawyer with a lawyer of the Judge's own choosing.

    Five Baha'is, who had been detained since 2017 and were among the 24 being tried, were present during the court hearing. The Bahá'ís later, for the first time since their original detention, were allowed to meet with their lawyer outside the courtroom. Six officers supervised the meeting as per Judge al-Amdi's decree. The lawyer continued to be denied access to the documents presented to the court by the prosecution. [BIC 28 February 2020; BIC 23 February 2020]

    Persecution, Yemen; Sanaa, Yemen; Yemen
    2020 5 Feb The establishment of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance (IRFBA) in Washington DC created to promote Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that all peoples have freedom to believe or not believe, to change faith, to meet alone for prayer or together for worship. At its inception, the Alliance had 27 founding members. They published a declaration, written in cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) that set out the guiding principles of the Alliance. The ministers of the alliance meet once a year on a rotating basis. [Forbes Magazine; Joint Statement; Website]
  • See Press Statement and Declaration of Principles for the International Religious Freedom Alliance.
  • The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance; IRFBA; Washington, DC, USA
    2020 27 Jan The Baha'i International Community expressed its concern with the surge in persecution by the Iranian authorities against the Bahá'í community. It had the appearance of an institutional decision that impacted Bahá'ís across the country.
  • By restricting applicants of the new Iranian national identification card to select only one of the four recognized religions—i.e. Islam, Christianity, Judaism or Zoroastrianism—those belonging to other faiths, including Bahá'ís, were forced to either lie about their beliefs or remain deprived of the most basic civil services, such as applying for a loan, cashing a check, or buying property.
  • A court has ruled that all of the properties belonging to the Bahá'ís in the village of Ivel be confiscated on the basis that Bahá'ís have "a perverse ideology" and therefore have no "legitimacy in their ownership" of any property. This outrageous decision is despite the fact that Baha'is have been resident in the area and owned properties there for generations, reaching as far back as the mid 1800s.
  • In the previous three months alone, dozens of Bahá'ís were arrested and dozens more received religiously-motivated sentences, for a combined prison term of nearly one hundred years. Individual Bahá'ís were sentenced to upwards of ten years in prison; in yet another case the gold used by a Bahá'í in his jewelry business was called for to be confiscated.
  • In the previous three months, Bahá'ís also experienced multiple home raids, attacks on properties, confiscation of possessions, dismissals from employment, and continued denial of access to higher education. In one case, a Bahá'í home was entirely destroyed. In another instance, a non-Bahá'í employer was forced to provide a list of her Bahá'í employees and then to dismiss them from employment.
  • A relentless campaign of misinformation about the Bahá'í Faith targeting the Iranian public has continued in full force in the news and social media. Thousands of such anti-Bahá'í propaganda have circulated in 2019 alone. [BIC 27 January 2020]
  • See an update on the situation of the Bahá'ís in Iran from the Bahá'í International Community as of August 2020.
  • Persecution, Iran; Bahá'í International Community; Iran; Ivel
    2020 23 Jan The Cambridge University Press published Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century co-authored by Augusto Lopez-Claros (former Director, Global Indicators Group at the World Bank Group), Arthur L. Dahl (former Deputy Assistant Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)), Maja Groff (International lawyer, Visiting Professor, Faculty of Global Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University College). [BWNS1279; Photo]
  • See a graphic presentatation of the proposals made.
  • The PDF may be obtained from the Cambridge University Press site. The book is also available on the website for purchase or downloading at no charge.
  • See the International Environmental Forum for a brief description of the book.
  • See as well the synopsis at Global Challenges Foundation.
  • See the Wilmette Institute for a webinar hosted by the authors.

    Using the book as a model, the Global Governance Forum was created with the objects to:

  • Promote research
  • Organize conferences and presentations
  • Assist like-minded businesses, organization, or initiatives
  • Offer support to sub-national entities, governments, and intergovernmental organizations
  • Promote the agenda of global governance to achieve prosperity, health, education, peace and justice.
  • Arthur Dahl; Augusto Lopez-Claros; Maja Groff; Cambridge, England
    2020 13 Jan A tree-planting ceremony coinciding with the start of the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was attended by the mayor of Akka, Shimon Lankri, and dignitaries representing the city's religious communities as well as guests including leaders of the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze communities, officials of local government, and academics from educational institutions in the area. [BWNS1383]
  • Photos.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shrine of; - Bahá'í World Centre
    2020 (In the year) The publication of The Last Refuge: Fifty Years of the Universal House of Justice by Shahbaz Fatheazam. It was published by 'Irfán Colloquia. Universal House of Justice; The Last Refuge; USA

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