The story of Denis MacEoin's expulsion by Juan Cole

Denis MacEoin did not withdraw from the faith, he was chased out by powerful Baha'i fundamentalists who were deeply threatened by the implications of his historical work. Denis became a Baha'i in North Ireland around 1965 and quickly emerged as a Baha'i youth leader. He was chosen to come to Haifa to commemorate the 1968 anniversary of Baha'u'llah's Letters to the Kings.

He then wrote the House saying he did not know whether to serve the Faith by becoming an academic scholar of the Middle East or by going pioneering. They wrote back that either path would be praiseworthy. (They later stabbed him in the back about this). He therefore entered graduate school at Edinburgh in Middle East Studies, then went on to Cambridge University for his Ph.D. He was the first academic to study the Babi movement with all the tools of modern scholarship, and his findings were groundbreaking.

Denis made the mistake of continuing to be an active Baha'i. Since the community is so heavily dominated by aggressive fundamentalist fanatics, if a genuine academic wants to be a Baha'i s/he has to keep a low profile. Denis did not. He gave summer school talks. He was once viciously attacked by Abu al-Qasim Faizi. His new ideas were upsetting the conservative British community. He objected when the Baha'i authorities supported dictators like Pinochet and Bokassa. He corresponded with the Los Angeles Study Class and some of his letters were published in their newsletter (a newsletter that the Baha'i authorities later closed down, for all the world like Tehran ayatollahs pulling a publishing license).

Around 1980, fundamentalist UHJ members Ian Semple and David Hoffman called Denis to a meeting and told him he would have to fall silent (rather as the Vatican did to Leonardo Boff). Hoffman was especially harsh. Denis declined to fall silent, and ultimately withdrew from the Faith. He was pushed out by anti-intellectual bigots who had risen high in the Baha'i hierarchy and become Infallible. Denis's works on the Babi and Baha'i movements are some of the few pieces of solid scholarship that exist. Instead of being grateful to him for sacrificing all those years living in penury as a graduate student, studying Arabic and Persian, traveling to a dangerous Middle East, all for the service of Baha'u'llah, the community could think of nothing better to do than viciously attack him and throw him in the gutter of infamy.

Denis's story is the story of most thinking people who have anything serious to do with the Baha'i faith. Either they adopt a cult-like mindset of true believers and covenant breakers, in which case they gradually cease being thinking persons, or they get chased out by the wild-eyed. A few people manage to avoid either fate by not drawing attention to themselves. The Baha'i Extreme Orthodox are like the Borg in Star Trek. They want to assimilate you, but might leave you alone if you stay quiet.


Juan Cole

Source :

The unlawful seizure of Baha'u'llah's house by the Shí'ahs of Iraq and the services of David Kelly, a Baha'i and an employee of the British Ministry of Defence.

David Kelly

On September 11, 1928, the Bahá'ís of Baghdád..."through the High Commissioner for Iraq...approached the League's Permanent Mandates Commission, charged with the supervision of the administration of all Mandated Territories, and presented a petition" about Bahá'u'lláh's Baghdad house." As written by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By...
Of a more serious nature, and productive of still greater repercussions, was the unlawful seizure by the Shí'ahs of Iraq, at about the same time that the keys of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh were wrested by the Covenant-breakers from its keeper, of yet another Bahá'í Shrine, the House occupied by Bahá'u'lláh for well nigh the whole period of His exile in Iraq, which had been acquired by Him, and later had been ordained as a center of pilgrimage, and had continued in the unbroken and undisputed possession of His followers ever since His departure from Baghdád. This crisis, originating about a year prior to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension, and precipitated by the measures which, after the change of regime in Iraq, had, according to His instructions, been taken for the reconstruction of that House, acquired as it developed a steadily widening measure of publicity. It became the object of the consideration of successive tribunals, first of the local Shí'ah Ja'faríyyih court in Baghdád, second of the Peace court, then the court of First Instance, then of the court of Appeal in Iraq, and finally of the League of Nations, the greatest international body yet come into existence, and empowered to exercise supervision and control over all Mandated Territories. Though as yet unresolved through a combination of causes, religious as well as political, it has already remarkably fulfilled Bahá'u'lláh's own prediction, and will, in its own appointed time, as the means for its solution are providentially created, fulfill the high destiny ordained for it by Him in His Tablets. Long before its seizure by fanatical enemies, who had no conceivable claim to it whatever, He had prophesied that "it shall be so abased in the days to come as to cause tears to flow from every discerning eye."
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Baghdád, deprived of the use of that sacred property through an adverse decision by a majority of the court of Appeal, which had reversed the verdict of the lower court and awarded the property to the Shí'ahs, and aroused by subsequent action of the Shí'ahs, soon after the execution of the judgment of that court, in converting the building into waqf property (pious foundation), designating it "Husayníyyih," with the purpose of consolidating their gain, realized the futility of the three years of negotiations they had been conducting with the civil authorities in Baghdád for the righting of the wrong inflicted upon them. In their capacity as the national representatives of the Bahá'ís of Iraq, they, therefore, on September 11, 1928, through the High Commissioner for Iraq and in conformity with the provisions of Art. 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, approached the League's Permanent Mandates Commission, charged with the supervision of the administration of all Mandated Territories, and presented a petition that was accepted and approved by that body in November, 1928. A memorandum submitted, in connection with that petition, to that same Commission, by the Mandatory Power unequivocally stated that the Shí'ahs had "no conceivable claim whatever" to the House, that the decision of the judge of the Ja'faríyyih court was "obviously wrong," "unjust" and "undoubtedly actuated by religious prejudice," that the subsequent ejectment of the Bahá'ís was "illegal," that the action of the authorities had been "highly irregular," and that the verdict of the Court of Appeal was suspected of not being "uninfluenced by political consideration."

"The Commission," states the Report submitted by it to the Council of the League, and published in the Minutes of the 14th session of the Permanent Mandates Commission, held in Geneva in the fall of 1928, and subsequently translated into Arabic and published in Iraq, "draws the Council's attention to the considerations and conclusions suggested to it by an examination of the petition... It recommends that the Council should ask the British Government to make representations to the Iraq Government with a view to the immediate redress of the denial of justice from which the petitioners have suffered."
The British accredited representative present at the sessions of the Commission, furthermore, stated that "the Mandatory Power had recognized that the Bahá'ís had suffered an injustice," whilst allusion was made, in the course of that session, to the fact that the action of the Shí'ahs constituted a breach of the constitution and the Organic Law of Iraq. The Finnish representative, moreover, in his report to the Council, declared that this "injustice must be attributed solely to religious passion," and asked that "the petitioner's wrongs should be redressed."
The Council of the League, on its part, having considered this report as well as the joint observations and conclusions of the Commission, unanimously adopted, on March 4, 1929, a resolution, subsequently translated and published in the newspapers of Baghdád, directing the Mandatory Power "to make representations to the Government of Iraq with a view to the immediate redress of the injustice suffered by the Petitioners." It instructed, accordingly, the Secretary General to bring to the notice of the Mandatory Power, as well as to the petitioners concerned, the conclusions arrived at by the Commission, an instruction which was duly transmitted by the British Government through its High Commissioner to the Iraq Government.
A letter dated January 12, 1931, written on behalf of the British Foreign Minister, Mr. Arthur Henderson, addressed to the League Secretariat, stated that the conclusions reached by the Council had "received the most careful consideration by the Government of Iraq," who had "finally decided to set up a special committee ... to consider the views expressed by the Bahá'í community in respect of certain houses in Baghdád, and to formulate recommendations for an equitable settlement of this question." That letter, moreover, pointed out that the committee had submitted its report in August, 1930, that it had been accepted by the government, that the Bahá'í community had "accepted in principle" its recommendations, and that the authorities in Baghdád had directed that "detailed plans and estimates shall be prepared with a view to carrying these recommendations into effect during the coming financial year."
No need to dwell on the subsequent history of this momentous case, on the long-drawn out negotiations, the delays and complications that ensued; on the consultations, "over a hundred" in number, in which the king, his ministers and advisers took part; on the expressions of "regret," of "surprise" and of "anxiety" placed on record at successive sessions of the Mandates Commission held in Geneva in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933; on the condemnation by its members of the "spirit of intolerance" animating the Shí'ah community, of the "partiality" of the Iráqí courts, of the "weakness" of the civil authorities and of the "religious passion at the bottom of this injustice"; on their testimony to the "extremely conciliatory disposition" of the petitioners, on their "doubt" regarding the adequacy of the proposals, and on their recognition of the "serious" character of the situation that had been created, of the "flagrant denial of justice" which the Bahá'ís had suffered, and of the "moral debt" which the Iraq Government had contracted, a debt which, whatever the changes in her status as a nation, it was her bounden duty to discharge.
Nor does it seem necessary to expatiate on the unfortunate consequences of the untimely death of both the British High Commissioner and the Iráqí Prime Minister; on the admission of Iraq as a member of the League, and the consequent termination of the mandate held by Great Britain; on the tragic and unexpected death of the King himself; on the difficulties raised owing to the existence of a town planning scheme; on the written assurance conveyed to the High Commissioner by the acting Premier in his letter of January, 1932; on the pledge given by the King, prior to his death, in the presence of the foreign minister, in February, 1933, that the House would be expropriated, and the necessary sum would be appropriated in the spring of the ensuing year; on the categorical statement made by that same foreign minister that the Prime Minister had given the necessary assurances that the promise already made by the acting Premier would be redeemed; or on the positive statements made by that same Foreign Minister and his colleague, the Minister of Finance, when representing their country during the sessions of the League Assembly held in Geneva, that the promise given by their late King would be fully honored.
Suffice it to say that, despite these interminable delays, protests and evasions, and the manifest failure of the Authorities concerned to implement the recommendations made by both the Council of the League and the Permanent Mandates Commission, the publicity achieved for the Faith by this memorable litigation, and the defense of its cause--the cause of truth and justice--by the world's highest tribunal, have been such as to excite the wonder of its friends and to fill with consternation its enemies. Few episodes, if any, since the birth of the Formative Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, have given rise to repercussions in high places comparable to the effect produced on governments and chancelleries by this violent and unprovoked assault directed by its inveterate enemies against one of its holiest sanctuaries.
"Grieve not, O House of God," Bahá'u'lláh Himself has significantly written, "if the veil of thy sanctity be rent asunder by the infidels. God hath, in the world of creation, adorned thee with the jewel of His remembrance. Such an ornament no man can, at any time, profane. Towards thee the eyes of thy Lord shall, under all conditions, remain directed." "In the fullness of time," He, in another passage, referring to that same House, has prophesied, "the Lord shall, by the power of truth, exalt it in the eyes of all men. He shall cause it to become the Standard of His Kingdom, the Shrine round which will circle the concourse of the faithful."
To the bold onslaught made by the breakers of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh in their concerted efforts to secure the custodianship of His holy Tomb, to the arbitrary seizure of His holy House in Baghdád by the Shí'ah community of Iraq, was to be added, a few years later, yet another grievous assault launched by a still more powerful adversary, directed against the very fabric of the Administrative Order as established by two long-flourishing Bahá'í communities of the East, culminating in the virtual disruption of these communities and the seizure of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world and of the few accessory institutions already reared about it.
On July 17, 2013, the Universal House of Justice sent a letter "to the Bahá’ís of the World" announcing "with utter shock and desolating grief that the Bahá’ís in Baghdad discovered on 26 June that the “most holy habitation” of Bahá’u’lláh had been razed almost to the ground to make way for the construction of a mosque," at the end of what the Universal Hose of Justice calls a "highly delicate situation in Iraq over the last tumultuous decade."

It is somewhat ironic, that in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the false information of Iraq's purported possession of weapons of mass destruction was leaked to the media by David Kelly, a Bahá’í authority on biological warfare, employed by the British Ministry of Defence, and formerly a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq. David Kelly was found dead from an apparent suicide on July 17, 2003, two days after appearing before a before a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

On August 11, 2003, The Independent carried an article about David Kelly, noting "In October 2002, Dr Kelly gave a slide show and lecture about his experiences as a weapons inspector in Iraq to a small almost private gathering of the Baha'i faith, which aims to unite the teachings of all the prophets. Dr Kelly had converted to the religion three years earlier, while in New York on attachment to the UN. When he returned to England he became treasurer of the small but influential Baha'i branch in Abingdon near his home. Roger Kingdon, a member, recalls: 'He had no doubt that [the Iraqis] had biological and chemical weapons. It was clear that David Kelly was largely happy with the material in the dossier.'"

On September 13th, 1983, the UHJ cabled regarding the Iranian government's banning the Baha'i Administration

Iranian Baha'i Yaran in Prison

September 13. On this date in 1983, the Universal House of Justice sent a cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the Iranian government's banning the Bahá'í Administration on August 29, 1983, noting the government's statement permitted Bahá'ís to "practice beliefs as private individuals provided they do not teach or invite others to join (the) Faith, they do not form Assemblies or have anything to do with Administration. Serving in Bahá'í Administration now specified as criminal act."
To all National Spiritual Assemblies
In fact, after the banning of the NSA and LSAs, the Administrative Order did establish in Iran a new administrative structure known as the Yaran.

In the past, when other governments have banned the the Bahá' Administrative Order, no such new administrative structure was established.

For example, on February 11, 1934, Shoghi Effendi addressed a letter to a German Bahá'í stating about the Nazi government that "obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá'í" and that "our German friends are under the sacred obligation to whole-heartedly obey the existing political regime, whatever be their personal views and criticisms of its actual working. There is nothing more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than open rebellion against the governmental authorities of a country, specially if they do not interfere in and do not oppose the inner and sacred beliefs and religious convictions of the individual. And there is every reason to believe that the present regime in Germany, which has thus far refused to trample upon the domain of individual conscience in all matters pertaining to religion will never encroach upon it in the near future, unless some unforeseen and unexpected changes take place. And this seems to be doubtful at present."
11 February 1934
Dear Bahá'í Brother,
I am charged by the Guardian to thank you for your letter of Jan. 30th as well as for the enclosed pamphlet containing the address delivered by Herr Hitler on Oct. 14th, 1933, on the subject of Germany's attitude towards peace, all of which he read with deepest care and sustained interest. He wishes me to convey to you and to all the members of your German National Assembly and through them to all the followers of the Faith in Germany his views on the present conditions in that land, and particularly in their relation to the nature and scope of the Bahá'í activities of our German believers.
At the outset it should be made indubitably clear that the Bahá'í Cause being essentially a religious movement of a spiritual character stands above every political party or group, and thus cannot and should not act in contravention to the principles, laws, and doctrines of any government. Obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá'í. Both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá have urged us all to be submissive and loyal to the political authorities of our respective countries. It follows, therefore, that our German friends are under the sacred obligation to whole-heartedly obey the existing political regime, whatever be their personal views and criticisms of its actual working. There is nothing more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than open rebellion against the governmental authorities of a country, specially if they do not interfere in and do not oppose the inner and sacred beliefs and religious convictions of the individual. And there is every reason to believe that the present regime in Germany which has thus far refused to trample upon the domain of individual conscience in all matters pertaining to religion will never encroach upon it in the near future, unless some unforeseen and unexpected changes take place. And this seems to be doubtful at present.
For whereas the friends should obey the government under which they live, even at the risk of sacrificing all their administrative affairs and interests, they should under no circumstances suffer their inner religious beliefs and convictions to be violated and transgressed by any authority whatever. A distinction of a fundamental importance must, therefore, be made between spiritual and administrative matters. Whereas the former are sacred and inviolable, and hence cannot be subject to compromise, the latter are secondary and can consequently be given up and even sacrificed for the sake of obedience to the laws and regulations of the government. Obedience to the state is so vital a principle of the Cause that should the authorities in Germany decide to-day to prevent the Bahá'ís from holding any meeting or publishing any literature they should obey and be as submissive as our Russian believers have thus far been under the Soviet regime. But, as already pointed out, such an allegiance is confined merely to administrative matters which if checked can only retard the progress of the Faith for some time. In matters of belief, however, no compromise whatever should be allowed, even though the outcome of it be death or expulsion
There is one more point to be emphasized in this connection. The principle of obedience to government does not place any Bahá'í under the obligation of identifying the teachings of his Faith with the political program enforced by the government. For such an identification, besides being erroneous and contrary to both the spirit as well as the form of the Bahá'í message, would necessarily create a conflict within the conscience of every loyal believer.
For reasons which are only too obvious the Bahá'í philosophy of social and political organization cannot be fully reconciled with the political doctrines and conceptions that are current and much in vogue to-day. The wave of nationalism, so aggressive and so contagious in its effects, which has swept not only over Europe but over a large part of mankind is, indeed, the very negation of the gospel of peace and of brotherhood proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh. The actual trend in the political world is, indeed, far from being in the direction of the Bahá'í teachings. The world is drawing nearer and nearer to a universal catastrophe which will mark the end of a bankrupt and of a fundamentally defective civilization.
From such considerations we can well conclude that we as Bahá'ís can in no wise identify the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh with man-made creeds and conceptions, which by their very nature are impotent to save the world from the dangers with which it is being so fiercely and so increasingly assailed.
The Guardian hopes that these brief explanations will be sufficient to guide our German National Assembly in their efforts to safeguard and promote the interests of the Faith, and that through them they will be given a new vision of the Cause and a fresh determination to carry forward its message to the world at large.
With greetings and best wishes to you and to all the friends in Germany,...
In the Guardian's own handwriting:
Dear and valued co-worker:
I wish to add a few words in loving appreciation of your strenuous, your intelligent and devoted efforts for the spread and consolidation of our beloved Faith. May the Almighty bless your endeavours, deepen your understanding of the essentials and requirements of our beloved Cause, and enable you in these difficult and challenging days to promote its interests and consolidate its institutions,
Your true brother,

Nima Wahid Azal's response to Braindead Haifan Baha'i, Scott Hakala

Scott Hakala is an active Baha'i working for the Baha'i Internet Agency for the propagation and defense of the Baha'i faith on Internet forum Quora.

He writes answers to questions related to the Baha'i faith. This time he tried to answer a question about Bayani Faith. Thanks to N. Wahid Azal for correcting him and exposing this kind of Brainwashed Haifan Baha'i once again.

Scott Hakala gets lessons from N. Wahid Azal

Download the PDF

Link to Wahid Azal's article

Invoking the Seven Worlds: An acrostic prayer by Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī Ṣubḥ-i-Azal

Update 1 : Scott deletes the comments of N. Wahid Azal 

Update 2 : N. Wahid Azal's last comment to Scott Hakala

Not exactly the media coverage that the Administrative Order was hoping for, unless you go by the argument that any media coverage is good.

"Why you should think twice before taking a picture of you at the Bahai Temple in Santiago"

Maybe the Bahai religion and its temple to the Game of Thrones is a contribution to generate more tastes in your social networks, but not to that you find the inner peace that - supposedly - you look for.

As on Instagram everything happens suddenly and in mass - first were photos of people at the top of the hill Manquehue and then, from the drinks made with Aperol Spritz - I could see how since last year the trend was around the Bahai temple of Santiago.

I went to Peñalolén thinking that I would find inner peace in a religion with a very positive background unlike what I experienced in my religious childhood filled with guilt.

Through various pamphlets that deliver you at the entrance to the compound, it is explained that the Bahai religion rejects all kinds of prejudices and blindly trusts in the inherent goodness that every human being has in his heart; It also encourages marriages between different races and promotes the empowerment of women. As if the picture could not be better, there are no masses or priests and therefore there are no confessions or punishments imposed by guilt.

In a generation like ours, Bahai faith seems to fill the spaces that the dogmas imposed by our fathers could not fulfill and it seems that finally we are facing a credo of universal union of tolerance and love.

But it's not like that.

The Bahai faith is full of contradictions that try to fill the spaces of intolerance that other monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam present with a discourse that lacks logic and common sense.

Let's start with the first purpose and teaching of the creed, where in addition to the development of spiritual qualities, respect for and conservation of the environment is encouraged. How is it explained then that for the construction of the temple literally had to destroy half a hill precordillerano to fill it of cars and buses besides introducing plant species with the only and egoistic purpose of making the environment more comfortable for its visitors?

The guide of the place told me that the Bahai faith indicates as a basic principle the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty and that the temple was built by anonymous donations from the parishioners themselves. However, the mole that looks like a set of Games Of Thrones and that clearly cost millions of dollars is located in the community of Peñalolén where 10% of its population is poor and presents other priorities quite obvious and not worth mentioning Yes its basic principles are to ensure that equity would not have been opted to contribute to the commune then?

The same guide who spoke to me about the advantages of not having a priest, or rites or masses, commented that although there is no equivalent to a Bible or a Quran, different texts compile the teachings of its leader, Bahá'u'llálah. One of these texts is the Aqdas, which specifically indicates that premarital relationships are discouraged and that the purpose of the union between two people is to have children, clearly rejecting same-sex couples. In fact, the counselor said that she had "many gay friends" and that it does not pressure the person, but the lifestyle. Just like that.
Within the Aqdas also instructions are given for the month of fasting that none of the Chileans would be willing to perform and therefore within the tour is not mentioned; the empowerment of women also has flaws since the system of inheritance is different for them. Marriages must be approved by all members of the family and divorce is valid one year after completion because this space is left in case of possible reconciliation (for whatever reason).

The Bahai religion indifferently criticizes what other religions should do by implementing rules that ultimately, and not being governed by a leader, are impossible to apply.

Many people told me that they visited the sanctuary for value architectural of the place but inside the temple I saw many couples enjoying themselves, people carrying their cell phone, three blessings running and two others crying. Outside the building there were more people, about 40 people. All of them taking photos with sticks selfies and even saw some guys in the parking lot eating hand roll and smoking weed.

The Bahai religion is aware of the attraction of its temples as a method of attracting new parishioners (and hence taxpayers). Being a new religion, it understands the different sociological currents of the present where the beautification of our social networks is much more important than to look for our spirituality (cause that is technically given as lost today).
So think twice: maybe a selfie in this place goes against what you really believe, or you just do not care about the above.

Source :

Automatically translated with

Baha'i activities in DRC

This is being circulated by Baha'is on social media, not sure how true this is!

The ability is being raised to go into neighborhoods and villages to engage the population in an intensive way to raise up large numbers of core activities (not just for a group of people, but serving the whole village).

In one of the villages in the DRC such intense process is underway, everyone trusts each other and everyone is trustworthy, they feel like 1, even the livestock is not locked up at night. So when a new person comes into a village he’s told that if anything goes missing, they know it’s him.

In another village everyone’s saying Allah’u’Abha to each other, coming from outside one doesn’t know who’s Baha’i and who not. And when the Baha’is speak about Baha’is vs. friends of the Faith, the friends ask why they aren’t considered Baha’is too. So we need to catch up with our language use.

For the Bicentenaries the NSA is arranging a month of observances. The first week of October will be dedicated to friends and family, gatherings will be held in the close circles; in the second week activities will be organized for neighborhoods; in week 3 the LSAs will arrange observances for whole localities; week 4 will be on cluster level. The NSA sent a letter to the RBC asking to invite 17 million people to participate. Even if not so many people come, but 17 million invitations should be sent out. In Lubumbashi the friends booked the local football stadium for the event.

Baha'i Faith: Teaching vs. Proselytizing

Baha'u'llah's activities in the Ottoman Empire and the Political conditions during that period.

Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha

On September 7, 1871, Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha, the Ottoman Grand Vizier, died. He was the recipient of three Tablets from Bahá'u'lláh, including "Lawh-i-Ra'ís" (not to be confused with "Súriy-i-Ra'ís").
Juan Cole describes some of the political atmosphere in the Ottoman Empire in his "Lawh-i-Fu'ád: notes by Juan Cole".
Of note,
The Tablet of Fuad was written to commemorate the death of Kecicizade Fuad Páshá in Nice of heart trouble, in February, 1869. Therefore it was presumably penned in late winter or early spring of that year, during Bahá'u'lláh's close confinement in the fortress of Acre (Akká). Fuad Páshá was the son of a famed poet, and he himself studied medicine. Although Fuad Páshá is presented in this tablet as a despot, he is remembered in Turkish historiography rather as a reformer. Born in Istanbul in 1815, he was among the foremost planners and implementers of the Tanzimat or reorganization of the Ottoman administration in the nineteenth century so as to bring it closer to modern Western standards. Because of his fluent French, he was able to enter and rise high in the foreign ministry. In 1840 he was first secretary of the Ottoman Embassy in England.
Fuad Páshá was intimately involved in decisions affecting Bahá'u'lláh. He was grand vizier in 1863 when Bahá'u'lláh was brought from Baghdad to Istanbul, presumably to remove him from close proximity to his followers in Iran and also to investigate whether Babism under his leadership might be politically useful to the Ottomans in the relations with Iran. (In this regard the summoning of Bahá'u'lláh to Istanbul prefigures Abdulhamid II's attempt to use Iranians such as Sayyid Jamálu'd-Din al-Afghani and Mírzá Áqá Khán Kirmani for political purposes vis-a-vis Iran during his campaign for pan-Islam during the 1880s and 1890s). Fuad Páshá must certainly have taken the decision to rusticate Bahá'u'lláh to Edirne (Adrianople) in November of 1863. He was also involved, as grand vizier and then foreign minister, in making the decision to send Bahá'u'lláh to Acre nearly five years later. As a defender of the more secular values of the Tanzimat reforms, Fuad Páshá was probably suspicious (as we know his colleague Mehmet Emin Alí Páshá was) of Babism as an old-style theocratic Mahdist movement that attacked modernity. In 1866 Alí Páshá told the Austrian ambassador in Istanbul that Bahá'u'lláh, then in exile in Edirne, was "a man of great distinction, exemplary conduct, great moderation, and a most dignified figure" and spoke of Babism as "a doctrine which is worthy of high esteem." He went on to say, however, that he still found the religion politically unacceptable because it refused to recognize a separation of religious and temporal authority. From the reformers' point of view a messianic movement such as Babism, whatever its virtues, threatened the achievements of the Tanzimat by seeking to put all authority, religious and secular, back in the hands of a charismatic spiritual leader. I would argue that, ironically, Bahá'u'lláh was moving away from a theocratic model toward one that acknowledged the autonomy of the civil state, and that there was a convergence between his thought and the Tanzimat that, tragically, the Ottoman state was unable to grasp because of Babism's previous reputation as a vehicle for radical theocracy.
Around the fall of 1867, Bahá'u'lláh in Edirne wrote a letter (The Tablet of the Kings or Súrat al-Mulúk) apostrophizing the world's rulers, in which he addressed Ottoman cabinet officials and to Sultan Abdulaziz. Bahá'u'lláh therein disavows any theocratic or mahdist pretensions, denying that he wishes to lay hold on the worldly possessions of these high officials, and insisting that he is not in rebellion against the Ottoman Sultán. He does say that Sultán AbdulAzíz should be grateful to God for having made him "Sultán of the Muslims," and calls him the "shadow of God on earth." He thus underlines that the civil state derives its ultimate authority from God, but that Bahá'u'lláh's coming does not challenge in any way its authority, since he wishes only to give ethical and spiritual counsel.
We do not know if the Tablet to the Kings actually was sent to the Sublime Porte, though that seems likely. Its attempt at conciliation, in any case, failed. By spring of 1868 Sultan Abdulaziz and his cabinet, in reaction to AzAlí complaints and the importuning of the Iranian ambassador, had decided to exile Bahá'u'lláh and his companions from Edirne to Acre. Grand Vizier or First Minister Alí Páshá and Foreign Minister Fuad Páshá were intimately involved in this decision, which had implications for the Ottoman Empire's relations with Iran and also had the potential to raise protests from the European ambassadors concerned about freedom of conscience. But the motives for taking this step among the high Ottoman elite probably differed. Fuad and Alí could have cared less about Islamic orthodoxy, but they wanted to please Iran for reasons of Realpolitik. Ironically, they may also have worried about the Bábís as Muslim critics of their autocracy. The Islamic backlash against the secularizing Tanzimat reforms had taken two forms. One was the reactionary critique by the conservative Ottoman Muslim clergy (ulema), which had been implicated in the 1858 Kuleli revolt against the Westernizing government. Many of Bahá'u'lláh's statements in his letters to the Ottoman state, calling it back to God, and critiquing its secularizing principles, could have been read as belonging in this reactionary tradition. The other Islamic response was that of the Young Ottomans, a society founded in 1865, who combined an interest in Islamic mysticism and culture with an Ottoman nationalism and a commitment to parliamentary governance and civil rights. Many of these individuals were government translators and had a good knowledge of European languages and of the Enlightenment tradition of thinking about government and rights. One of these was named Sadik [Sadiq] Effendi, and he almost certainly met Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá in the fortress of Acre (Akká).
This fascinating glimpse into the cultural and political situation of the Ottoman empire in 1868 provides obvious further context to Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Fuad. It suggests, for one thing, that predictions of the Sultán's downfall, such as Bahá'u'lláh made in that Tablet, were not unusual but rather were commonplaces of the religious discourse of the time. Second, it shows how a mosque preacher at the time might get enough Western education to be considered a member of the effendi (Westernized secretary) class, and how such men were mixing an Islamic critique of what they saw as Fuad and Ali's extreme Westernization with an Enlightenment critique of their top-down, highly authoritarian approach to government. I suppose there is a parallel between the `republicanism' of these Muslim Young Ottomans and the similar pro-republican stance that the American Baptists took during the 1776 revolution. Third, and most suggestive of all, the French periodical describing Sadik Effendi's exile to the Fortress of Akká is dated Feb. 28, 1869!! It seems to me almost certain that he interacted with the Bahá'ís also imprisoned in the fortress, and while Bahá'u'lláh had his own reasons to condemn Fuad Páshá, his likely dialogue with Young Ottoman thought of the time is probably part of the picture. Note that at that moment, Young Ottomans like Namik Kemal were in exile in London, calling for British-style parliamentary governance in the Ottoman empire, and that Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to Queen Victoria, written in Akká sometime 1868-1869 also did. It is not impossible, in fact, that Sadik Effendi was able surreptitiously to correspond with other Young Ottomans who reported developments to him.
Now Bahá'u'lláh turns to a prophecy similar to but more specific than his jeremiads in the Tablet of the Premier (Súrat ar-Ra'ís) addressed to Alí Páshá. Speaking with the voice of God (using the royal "we"), Bahá'u'lláh predicts that Alí Páshá, then grand vizier, will be deposed (the verb is 'azala, which is used of deposing kings). He says, too, that God will "lay hold" (the verb is akhadha, to take, seize) of Sultán AbdulAzíz (he is called amiruhum, literally, "their prince" or "their commander"). Although Bahá'u'lláh was correct that neither of these powerful men had long at the top in 1869, his prophecy, if taken literally, actually reverses their true fates. Alí Páshá was never deposed, but rather died in office in 1871. It was Sultán AbdulAzíz who was deposed, in the Constitutional Revolution of spring, 1876, shortly after which he committed suicide. Obviously, if Bahá'u'lláh had merely meant to predict that eventually these two men would die, then the prophecy was not very remarkable. Rather, he seems to have believed that Alí Páshá would fall from the Sultán's favor, and that some dramatic event would overtake the Sultán. Even contemporaries such as Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani, who became a Bahá'í in 1876 on hearing of the Sultán's fall, had demanded that the latter meet some extraordinary fate before he would accept that the prophecy in the Tablet of Fuad had been fulfilled. Taken together with Bahá'u'lláh's prediction in the Tablet of the Premier that turmoil would overtake the Ottoman empire and his advocacy from his early Acre years of parliamentary democracy, he does seem to have been prescient about the imminence of the First Constitutional Revolution). Indeed, the matter of Alí Páshá never being deposed seems minor in comparison.
It is important to note how political Bahá'u'lláh's statements in this tablet are, and how candidly seditious. Any published or openly circulated criticism of the Sultán and his ministers, who still presided over an absolute monarchy despite their moves toward cabinet government, was strictly forbidden and punishable by death. Had the Tablet of Fuad fallen into Ottoman hands, it could well have led to Bahá'u'lláh's summary execution. As noted above, the only other group that engaged in a similar critique of Fuad Páshá and Alí Páshá, charging them with being overly authoritarian and arguing that the Tanzimat abandonment of spirituality had gone too far, while working for British-style parliamentary governance, was the Young Ottomans (as noted above). This group of intellectuals, many of whom had a Western education and who were well aware of the U.S. Bill of Rights and the French Rights of Man, had a more mainstream political style than did Bahá'u'lláh. But despite his Miltonian imagery, his prophetic rhetorical style, and his Bábí passion, by 1869 Bahá'u'lláh was advocating a political program in the Ottoman Empire and Iran that differed very little from that of Young Ottomans such as Namik Kemal. (In his Tablet to Queen Victoria of 1868 or 1869, he advocated parliamentary rule, another value that was strictly prohibited in Ottoman political discourse). The stark Bahá'í turn to political quietism from the 1930s has resulted in a view of Bahá'u'lláh that reads back into his period the later skittishness about politics, a view made possible only by ignorance of Ottoman imperial policy of the time with regard to politics and censorship. The Tablet of Fuad is as radical a document in its own time as Tom Paine's revolutionary pamphlets were.
The last part of the Tablet of Fuad appears to contain a condemnation of Mírzá Yahyá Subh-i Azal (d. 1912), Bahá'u'lláh's half-brother and a widely recognized leader of the Bábís, with whom Bahá'u'lláh was in competition for the leadership of the Bábí community. Despite the disadvantages of his confinement in the fortress of Acre, Bahá'u'lláh appears to have been already well on the way to winning over most of the Bábís by his assertion that he was the promised one of the Báb. Finally, there is a passage about God having seized or taken "al-Mahdi." The Mahdi is, of course, the Islamic promised one who is expected to fill the world with justice after it had been filled with injustice. I am not sure whether this is an ironic way of referring one last time to Fuad Páshá, or whether it is the name of an enemy of Bahá'u'lláh's who had recently died. "Mihdí" is a common Iranian personal name. Khazeh Fananapazir has wrote to me that this Mahdi was in fact an Azali, and was the recipient of the Kitáb-i Badí` (The Book of Wonder), Bahá'u'lláh's major apologia to the Bábís. This Mihdí was in the circle of Sayyid Muhammad Isfahani, and had written a fierce denunciation of Bahá'u'lláh.
The Tablet of Fuad was called by Baron Rosen a "victory hymn" in celebration of an enemy's death. This is an apt description, but this short piece is much more than that. It condemns the autocratic leadership style of the Tanzimat men, with their vision of modernization dictated from above. It playfully pokes fun at their increasing secularization by depicting one of them at the gates of hell surrounded by vengeful angels, who strike him down for his impudence, taunt him for his unbelief and his despotic deeds, and unceremoniously dump him into the inferno. Fuad Páshá is lambasted as more of a tyrant than Pharaoh, and the entire Ottoman state is thus painted with the same brush. The issues of rights and due process are also key to this tablet. Fuad's crime is to condemn the Bahá'ís to imprisonment without proof of any wrongdoing on their part. Because of their iniquity and despotism, the top three officers of the Ottoman state are here consigned to unpleasant ends. Fuad Páshá suddenly dies at a relatively young 53 or 54, far from home and from his loved ones. The deposition of Alí Páshá is predicted. And it is said that God would lay hold upon the Sultán. The correspondence between their mistreatment of Bahá'u'lláh and his companions and their actual or predicted fates posited in this tablet recalls the conviction among Sufi leaders that the fates of kings and dynasties depend upon how well they treat the mystic masters, and, of course, it echoes the sermons and newspaper articles of progressive Muslim Ottoman dissidents who also predicted an early end to the reign of Sultán AbdulAzíz. But in going on to specify actual mechanisms for the redress of such injustices, such as adoption of a rule of law, the safeguarding of individual rights, and parliamentary governance, Bahá'u'lláh makes his jeremiads against the Ottoman pharaohs much more than mere theological gloating, imbuing them instead with importance for the history of thinking about human rights and democracy in the modern Middle East.

Rainn Wilson talks about Baha'u'llah, his Life and Teachings at the National Bahá'í Center in Iceland. Here Are Some Errors and Gross Omissions.

At 17:30, he omits that the Babis led a violent, messianic insurrection against the government.

At 17:40, he says "They killed tens of thousands of Babis in Persia in the early 1800's in the most horrifying ways." In fact, Denis MacEoin concludes]( that the "number of early Babi/Bahá'í martyrs was not 20,000, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi mentioned numerous times, but 2,000 to 3,000 (e.g. MacEoin, "A Note on the Numbers of Babi and Bahá'í Martyrs in Iran," in Bahá'í Studies Bulletin, 2.2, Sept. 1983, and "From Babism to Bahá'ísm: Problems of Militancy, Conflation, and Quietism in the Construction of a Religion," in Religion, 13, July 1983)."

At 18:00, he omits that Bahaullah, as one of the leaders of the Babi movement, was imprisoned after some Babis unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the Shah of Iran.

At 20:15, Bahaullah was exiled and not executed due to heavy pressure from the Russian consul, who had some political authority over the Iranian state at the time. In fact, Bahaullah was escorted with an entourage of Russian horseman to his exile in Baghdad, which was part of the Ottoman Empire at the time. Bahaullah left Baghdad without telling his family to study with Sufi sheikhs in Kurdistan.

At 22:00, the Bab said the next manifestation would come in 1000 years, not a short time.

At 22:20, Bahaullah's followers were engaged in internecine fighting with the followers of Subh-i-Azal, which is why the Ottoman authorities moved him to Acre, Palestine.

At 26:18, he correctly quotes Bahaullah as saying, "That diversity in religion should cease."

At 47:30, he says "There are two choices about Bahaullah." No, in fact, there are many more conclusions that one can more objectively reach than those two.

The illegal Yaran

On August 29, 1983, the government of Iran banned the Bahá'í Administrative Order, preventing formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies and the participation of individual Bahá'ís in administrative activities. Unlike the previous ban in the USSR, which was fully followed, the ban in Iran has been circumvented in a number of ways, such as the use of the Yaran as an alternative administrative structure.

It always surprised me that in the community that I was a member of, there were Persian Bahá’ís who would regularly travel to Iran during their summer holidays to visit family. When I would ask them how that was possible, their response was always along the lines that the arrested Bahá’ís were those who were administratively and politically active, almost to the point of referring to them as "troublemakers." The Bahá’í Administrative Order uses these news stories of alleged persecution very astutely to generate media attention. A Google News search for the term "Bahá’í" shows a predominance of news stories regarding Bahá’í temples and discrimination. Otherwise, the Bahá’í Faith generates little to no interest.

The Universal House of Justice on 13 September 1983 communicated this information to the Bahá`í world by cable in these words:

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"Love your enemies" - What a joke!

You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(Matthew 5:43-48)

In 1921, soon after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, this is what Mírzá Muhammad 'Alí wrote about the man who rivalled against him for nearly 30 years:
Mirza Muhammad Ali
I deeply regret to have to record the great and unspeakable bereavement we have recently sustained by the departure of the venerable Ghusn-i-A'zam, Abbas Effendi, Sir 'Abdu'l-Baha, who was the backbone and support of his friends and the pride of his followers. Indeed I feel that the more I try to describe him and show my deep grief for his loss, the more I feel my utter inability by word or pen, to give an exact description of his personality.
(A Lost History of the Baha'i Faith, p. 167)

In contrast, Shoghi Effendi gloated over the misfortunes of his enemies after their deaths.
His brother, Mírzá Ḍíya'u'lláh, died prematurely; Mírzá Áqá Ján, his dupe, followed that same brother, three years later, to the grave; and Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, his chief accomplice, betrayed his cause, published a signed denunciation of his evil acts, but rejoined him again, only to be alienated from him in consequence of the scandalous behavior of his own daughter. Mírzá Muḥammad-'Alí’s half-sister, Furúghíyyih, died of cancer, whilst her husband, Siyyid 'Alí, passed away from a heart attack before his sons could reach him, the eldest being subsequently stricken in the prime of life, by the same malady. Muḥammad-Javád-i-Qazvíní, a notorious Covenant-breaker, perished miserably. Shu'á'u'lláh who, as witnessed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will, had counted on the murder of the Center of the Covenant, and who had been despatched to the United States by his father to join forces with Ibráhím Khayru’lláh, returned crestfallen and empty-handed from his inglorious mission. Jamál-i-Burújirdí, Mírzá Muḥammad-‘Alí’s ablest lieutenant in Persia, fell a prey to a fatal and loathsome disease; Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Dahájí, who, betraying 'Abdu'l-Bahá, joined the Covenant-breakers, died in obscurity and poverty, followed by his wife and his two sons;
(God Passes By, p. 319)

Independent Investigation of Truth in the Baha'i Faith !!!!!!!!?

Baha'ism and Christianity

Left - Mirza Hossein Ali Nuri who gave himself the title of "Glory of God"
Right - William Sears, the follower of so called "Baha'u'llah"

Baha'i figures have said different things at different times regarding Jesus.

For example, on June 24, 1947, Shoghi Effendi stated (also here) "The churches are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ; we believe He has come again in the Glory of the Father. The churches teach doctrines--various ones in various creeds--which we as Bahá'ís do not accept; such as the bodily Resurrection, confession, or, in some creeds, the denial of the Immaculate Conception."
Bahá'ís Must Have No Affiliation with Churches
"...we, as Bahá'ís, must not have any affiliations with churches or political parties. But he feels certain that when you meditate on this matter you yourselves will see the wisdom of it. We, as Bahá'ís, can never be known as hypocrites or as people insincere in their protestations and because of this we cannot subscribe to both the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and ordinary church dogma. The churches are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ; we believe He has come again in the Glory of the Father. The churches teach doctrines--various ones in various creeds--which we as Bahá'ís do not accept; such as the bodily Resurrection, confession, or, in some creeds, the denial of the Immaculate Conception. In other words, there is no Christian church today whose dogmas we, as Bahá'ís, can truthfully say we accept in their entirety--therefore to remain a member of the Church is not proper for us, for we do so under false pretences. We should, therefore, withdraw from our churches but continue to associate, if we wish to, with the church members and ministers.
"Our belief in Christ, as Bahá'ís, is so firm, so unshakeable and so exalted in nature that very few Christians are to be found now-a-days who love Him and reverence Him and have the faith in Him that we have. It is only from the dogmas and creeds of the churches that we dissociate ourselves; not from the spirit of Christianity."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of Vienna, June 24, 1947)

On May 28, 1984, the Universal House of Justice addressed a letter stating "From a Bahá'í point of view the belief that the Resurrection was the return to life of a body of flesh and blood, which later rose from the earth into the sky is not reasonable, nor is it necessary to the essential truth of the disciples' experience, which is that Jesus did not cease to exist when He was crucified (as would have the belief of many Jews of that period), but that His Spirit, released from the body, ascended to the presence of God and continued to inspire and guide His followers and preside over the destinies of His Dispensation."

Concerning the Resurrection of Christ you quote the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke, where the account stresses the reality of the appearance of Jesus to His disciples who, the Gospel states, at first took Him to be a ghost. From a Bahá'í point of view the belief that the Resurrection was the return to life of a body of flesh and blood, which later rose from the earth into the sky is not reasonable, nor is it necessary to the essential truth of the disciples' experience, which is that Jesus did not cease to exist when He was crucified (as would have the belief of many Jews of that period), but that His Spirit, released from the body, ascended to the presence of God and continued to inspire and guide His followers and preside over the destinies of His Dispensation (from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 28 May 1984).

Bahai's in the West have historically argued that their religion is the fulfillment of Christian prophecy, particularly based on Seventh-day Adventist literature and the teachings of Baptist preacher William Miller. William Sears, named a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi in 1957, was a popular radio and television personality, who wrote a best-selling book, Thief in the Night. William Miller, a Baptist preacher, predicted that on October 22, 1844, Christ would return to the Earth. Although the prophecy was not fulfilled, leading to what was called the Great Disappointment, the Millerites would go on to form the various Adventist churches.

Thief in the Night, argues that Miller's interpretation of biblical prophecies for the signs and dates of the coming of Jesus were correct and fulfilled by the Báb who declared that he was the "Promised One" on May 23, 1844, and began openly teaching in Iran in October 1844. In 2016, a Baha'i movie came out loosely based on these events called The Miller Prediction.

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The word "vibrant" is not one, I think, most Bahá'ís would use to describe their Bahá'í experience of community.

Former member of the UHJ, Hooper Dunbar admits that the growth of the Baha'i community in the west has slowed down.

August 9. On this date in 2002, Ismael Velasco wrote the Universal House of Justice asking "what our attitude should be, as believers in Western lands, to the prolonged and sustained absence of growth for already two decades"?

To the cherished Universal House of Justice. ... I write to supplicate clarification of matters that I have come to believe have become sources of perplexity and weakness among the lovers of the Abha Beauty in the West. ... My question concerns what our attitude should be, as believers in Western lands, to the prolonged and sustained absence of growth for already two decades. In my own personal studies, I ascertained that the British Bahá'í community, for instance, had remained static and even slightly reduced in numbers since the year 1975. Without having conducted research on the subject, I understand anecdotally that many communities in Western Europe share this pattern of low or negative growth, such as France, Switzerland, etc. In the United States, according to Robert Stockman (, The community in the period 1979-1998 grew from 77,396 (48,357 confirmed addresses) to 138,168. Of these 138,000 however, roughly half are mail returns and address unknown. This has led Juan Cole to estimate a Bahai population of c.60,000. In addition, Margit Warburg, in her book I Bahá'í, estimated that 10-20% of Bahá'ís were "inactive" in Denmark, and suggested the same might be the case more widely.

Whatever the exact numbers, beloved source of guidance, it appears that for an entire generation of Bahá'ís, particularly those that entered the Faith in a period of high expansion in the 1960's and 1970's and also their children, have experienced constant disappointment, frustration and powerlessness in the teaching work. This has coincided with a growing emphasis on Entry by Troops, and universal expansion, and the combination of high expectations and constant apparent failure, have resulted in the discouragement of large sections of the community, and, just as sadly, in the life-giving task of teaching the faith becoming associated with feelings of pain and inadequacy.

This perspective seems also validated by the analysis in Century of Light, that explains that the seeming impasse reflected unrealistic expectations and triggered a period of learning and change. Unfortunately, many in these communities have yet to see meaning or purpose in this seeming impasse, and consider themselves to be the inhabitants of spiritually barren lands, or the very points of incapacity, or the members of altogether dysfunctional local and national, and sometimes even international Bahá'í communities.

I have seen personally diverse manifestations of such discouragement. I see them in desperate exhortations to teach the Faith in which the sense of urgency is accompanied by an element of despondency or resentment. I see them in strong, faithful Bahá'ís who choose to become inactive in the community on account of their perceptions of dysfunctionality. I see them in steadfast perseverance in the teaching work accompanied by an inner hopelessness and lack of expectation. And I see it in frequent manifestations of disunity as we seek the answer to this question in the abilities and deeds of one another. More recently, these perspectives have coalesced into systematic critiques of the community in internet fora and academic publications.

This is not to say that this is the prevailing spirit of Western communities. I do not know the relative prevalence of such attitudes in relation to the burgeoning of study circles and training institutes, the arts, etc. But I do get the feeling that a culture or at least subculture of discouragement has come to characterise significant segments of the communities in the West. I cannot help but associate the dearth of financial contributions in many national communities to this general discouragement, at least as much as to the general economic slowdown. The word "vibrant" is not one, I think, most Bahá'ís would use to describe their Bahá'í experience of community. ...

With deep submission and unfailing gratitude, Ismael Velasco, August 9 2002

Are the publications of Moshe Sharon a reliable source?

Prof. Moshe Sharon (left) and Eliahu Ben-On: "Independent Action in Iran - National Suicide". (Photo: PR)
I would not trust Moshe Sharon's writings because he lacks basic credibility and is a bigot par excellence.

  • Credibility - Moshe Sharon is interviewed in the 2007 Israeli documentary film, "Bahais in My Backyard." In the interview he states that the only Bahá'í academic chair in the world is in Israel due to his efforts in convincing Hebrew University to establish one and his efforts in finding a benefactor to fund the position. He also says that there are no descendants of Bahá'u'lláh in Israel. Despite Sharon's denial of the existence of such relatives, there are, in fact, dozens, and one of Bahá'u'lláh's great-granddaughters is featured in the film. Furthermore, even at the time of the interview, there were other Bahá'í academic chairs in existence, such as the ones established at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, a state university in Madhya Pradesh in 1991 and at the University of Maryland in 1993. A 1999 article in The Jerusalem Post was titled "Bahá'í Studies chair dedicated in Jerusalem," stating "Prof. Moshe Sharon, the first incumbent of the world's first academic chair in Bahá'í studies...He added that before he began his research in the field, the last academic work on Bahá'í had been done 80 years ago." A 2001 article in The Jerusalem Post covered the "first celebration in Jerusalem of Naw-Ruz, the Baha'i new year," attended by such notable figures as Chair in Bahá'í Studies at Hebrew University Moshe Sharon, Baha'i International Community secretary-general Albert Lincoln and his wife, Joan, Jerusalem Baha'i representative Kern Wisman and his wife, Barbara, and Murray Smith, BIC deputy secretary-general and his wife, Miette. The 2001 article notes "DUE TO his absence abroad, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was unable to attend the first celebration in Jerusalem of Naw-Ruz, the Baha'i new year. Even though Sharon couldn't make it, Moshe Sharon, the incumbent of the Baha'i chair of studies at the Hebrew University, was there, as were numerous representatives of the HU, which was the first and thus far only university in the world to establish a chair in Baha'i studies. Sharon welcomed the presence of yet another monotheistic faith in this part of the world, noting that it is largely composed of the best of the other monotheistic beliefs."
  • Bigot - Moshe Sharon believes that Western leaders fail to understand Islam. He says that "There is no fundamental Islam. There is only Islam full stop." Citing the conflict in Yugoslavia, Sharon continues that "Wherever you have Islam, you will have war. It grows out of the attitude of Islamic civilization." He furthermore argues that not only is there "open war, but there's also war by infiltration." Regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Moshe Sharon has said that there is "no possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians whatsoever, for ever" and that peace agreements with Arabs are "pieces of paper, parts of tactics, strategies...with no meaning." He opposed the Oslo peace accords and believes the dismantling the Israeli settlements, which he terms "expulsions," serve to "increase the appetite of the other side and only achieve the killing of Jews."

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Video : Gender Equality in the Baha'i Faith

Did the Baha'is in the Ottoman Empire and the following British Mandate cooperate with the Zionist movement?

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with Baha'i architect Fariborz Sahba

To give a brief timeline, the Bahá'ís, including Bahá'u'lláh and his family, arrived in Acre on August 31, 1868. Bahá'u'lláh lived in Acre until 1877, when he moved to a mansion in Mazra'a where he lived for two years. From 1879 until his death in 1892, he lived at the Mansion of Bahjí.

The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel, Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897. The British conquered Palestine from the Ottomans during World War I in a series of campaigns lasting from March through November of 1917. It was only after the British occupation of Palestine that mass immigration of Jewish settlers occurred. Looking at census data for Palestine, for example, in 1922 there were 83,290 Jews and by 1946 that number had risen to 608,225.

On February 23, 1914, at the eve of World War I, 'Abdu'l-Bahá hosted Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild banking family who was a leading advocate and financier of the Zionist movement, during one of his early trips to Palestine. This event was reported in "Star of the West" magazine.

On September 8, 1919, subsequent to the British occupation of Palestine, at a time when tens of thousands of Jewish settlers were arriving under the auspices of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, an article in the "Star of the West" quoted 'Abdu'l-Bahá praising the Zionist movement, proclaiming that "There is too much talk today of what the Zionists are going to do here. There is no need of it. Let them come and do more and say less" and that "A Jewish government might come later."

On January 24, 1922, Shoghi Effendi received a letter from Herbert Samuel, the British High Commissioner for Palestine. The receipt of the letter is mentioned in Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum's The Priceless Pearl. As High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel was the first Jew to govern the historic land of Israel in 2,000 years, and his appointment was regarded by the Muslim-Christian Associations as the "first step in formation of Zionist national home in the midst of Arab people." Herbert Samuel welcomed the arrival of Jewish settlers under the auspices of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association and recognised Hebrew as one of the three official languages of the Mandate territory.

While Shoghi Effendi was thus occupied and was gathering his powers and beginning to write letters such as these to the Bahá'ís in different countries, he received the following letter from the High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, dated 24 January 1922:

Dear Mr. Rabbani,

I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of Jan. 16., and to thank you for the kind expression it contains. It would be unfortunate if the ever to be lamented death of Sir 'Abdu'l-Bahá were to interfere with the completion of your Oxford career, and I hope that may not be the case. I am much interested to learn of the measures that have been taken to provide for the stable organization of the Bahá'í Movement. Should you be at any time in Jerusalem in would be a pleasure to me to see you here.

Yours sincerely,

Herbert Samuel

On December 16, 1950, a little over a year after the international recognition of the State of Israel, the mansion at Mazra'a was leased from the Israeli government by the Bahá'í Administrative Order. Bahá'u'lláh lived there from 1877 until 1879, before moving to the Mansion at Bahjí.

The transaction is described in Baha'i News, no. 244, June 1951, p. 4

Masra'ih is a Moslem religious endowment, and it is consequently impossible, under existing laws in this country, for it to be sold. However, as the friends are aware, the Ministry of Religions, due to the direct intervention of the Minister himself, Rabbi Maimon, consented, in the face of considerable opposition, to deliver Masra'ih to the Baha'is as a Holy Place to be visited by Baha'i pilgrims. This means that we rent it from the Department of Moslem and Druze affairs in the Ministry of Religions. The head of this Department is also a Rabbi, Dr. Hirschberg. Recently he, his wife and party, visited all the Baha'i properties in Haifa and 'Akka, following upon a very pleasant tea party in the Western Pilgrim House with the members of the International Baha'i Council.

The mansion at Mazra'a would later be purchased by the Bahá'í Administrative Order from the Israeli government as reported in Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1968-1973, published 1976; Ridván Message 1973, p. 119

The Mansion of Mazra'ih, often referred to by the beloved Guardian as one of the "twin mansions" in which the Blessed Beauty resided after nine years within the walled prison-city of 'Akká, and dear to the hearts of the believers by reason of its associations with their Lord, has at last been purchased together with 24,000 square meters of land extending into the plain on its eastward side.

On November 12, 1952, a cablegram sent by Shoghi Effendi announced the "acquisition of vitally-needed property" of the Mansion of Bahji and the area around it from "the Development Authority of the State of Israel...The exchange of said property, including land and houses, was made possible by the precipitate flight of the former Arab owners."

Acquisition of Vitally-Needed Property

Announce to Bahá'í communities, East and West, on the joyous occasion of the hundred and thirty-fifth Anniversary of Bahá'u'lláh's Birthday, the successful termination of the protracted negotiations, initiated two years ago and culminating in the signature to the contract providing the eventual, formal transfer by the Development Authority of the State of Israel to the Palestine Branch of the American National Spiritual Assembly of the extensive, long-desired, vitally-needed property surrounding and safeguarding for posterity the Most Holy Tomb of the Founder of the Faith, as well as the adjoining Mansion.

The acquired area, raising Bahá'í holdings on the holy plain of &Akka from four thousand to one hundred and fifty-five thousand square meters, was exchanged against property donated by children of Zikrullah, grandchildren of Mírzá Muhammad Quli, Bahá'u'lláh's faithful half-brother and companion in exile.

This spontaneous offer contrasts with the shameful action of the family in the sale to non-Baha'is of the property in the neighborhood of the Jordan valley purchased through the instrumentality of `Abdu'l-Bahá during Bahá'u'lláh's lifetime, pursuant to His instructions and alluded to in His writings.

The forty acre property acquired in this single transaction almost equals the entire Bahá'í international endowments purchased in the course of sixty years in the vicinity of the Báb's Sepulcher on the slope of Mount Carmel.

The exchange of said property, including land and houses, was made possible by the precipitate flight of the former Arab owners, traditional supporters of the old Covenant-breakers and descendants of the notorious enemy of `Abdu'l-Bahá who placed his residence at the disposal of the Committee of Investigation.

The signature to the agreement signalized the commencement of large-scale landscaping, aiming at the beautification of the immediate precincts of the holiest spot in the entire Bahá'í world, itself the prelude to the eventual erection, as happened in the case of the Báb's Sepulcher, of a befitting Mausoleum enshrining the precious Dust of the Most Great Name.

Desire to acknowledge the indefatigable efforts exerted by both Larry Hautz and Leroy Ioas enabling the consummation of the initial stage of the enterprise destined to eclipse in its final phase the splendor and magnificence of the Báb's resting-place on Mount Carmel.


[Cablegram, November 12, 1952]

On January 21, 1949, Shoghi Effendi met with David Ben Gurion. In the chapter titled The Heart and Nerve Centre in her book The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum describes this meeting...

In January 1949 Mr. Ben Gurion, the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, came to Haifa on his first official visit and the Mayor naturally invited Shoghi Effendi to attend the reception being given in his honour by the Municipality. The dilemma was acute, for if the Guardian did not go, it would, with every reason, be taken as an affront to the new Government, and if he did go he would inevitably be submerged in a sea of people where any pretence at protocol would be swept away (this was indeed the case, as my father, Shoghi Effendi's representative, reported after he returned from this reception). The Guardian therefore decided that as he would not be attending, but was more than willing to show courtesy to the Prime Minister of the new State, he would call upon him in person. With great difficulty this was arranged through the good offices of the Mayor of Haifa, Shabatay Levy, as Mr. Ben Gurion's time in Haifa was very short and it was only two days before the first general election in the new State.

The interview took place on Friday evening, January 21st, in the private home the Prime Minister was staying in on Mt. Carmel and lasted about fifteen minutes. Ben Gurion enquired about the Faith and Shoghi Effendi's relation to it and asked if there was a book he could read; Shoghi Effendi answered his questions and assured him he would send him a copy of his own book God Passes By — which he later did, and which was acknowledged with thanks. Typical of the whole history of the Cause and the constant problems that beset it was a long article which appeared in the leading English-language newspaper on December 20, 1948, in which, in the most favourable terms, its teachings were set forth and the station of Shoghi Effendi as its World Head mentioned. On January 28, 1949, there appeared in the letter column of this paper a short and extraordinary statement, signed "Bahai U.N. Observer", which flatly refuted the article and asserted, "Mr. Rabbani is not the Guardian of the Bahai faith, nor its World Leader" and gave the New History Society in New York as a source of further information

As there was no such thing as a "Bahai U.N. Observer" this move was plainly inspired by the once-more hopeful band of old Covenant-breakers, who sought, at the outset of a new regime, to blacken Shoghi Effendi's reputation and divert attention from his station by referring to Ahmad Sohrab's rootless group in America. At a later date, when in 1952 the Covenant-breakers in Bahji brought their case in the local courts against Shoghi Effendi for the demolition of an old building near the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh, Sohrab sought, unsuccessfully, to bring pressure on the Minister of Religious Affairs to discredit the Bahá'í claims. It was with attacks such as this, both open and covert, that the Guardian, on the threshold of a new phase in the development of the affairs of the Faith at its World Centre, once more had to content.

It had long been the desire of Shoghi Effendi to obtain control of the Mansion at Mazra'ih, where Bahá'u'lláh had first lived when He quitted once-for-all the walls of the prison-city of 'Akka. This property was a Muslim religious endowment and had now fallen vacant. It was planned by the government to turn it into a rest home for officials. All efforts, through the departments concerned, to procure this property were unavailing until Shoghi Effendi appealed directly to Ben Gurion, explaining its significance to the Bahá'ís and his desire to have it visited by pilgrims as a place so closely associated with Bahá'u'lláh. The Prime Minister himself then intervened in the matter and it was leased to the Bahá'ís as an historic site. Shoghi Effendi proudly informed the Bahá'í world, on December 16, 1950, that its keys had been delivered to us, by the Israeli authorities, after the lapse of more than fifty years.

The affairs of the Bahá'í Community, in matters concerning its day-to-day dealings with the government in connection with the work at the World Centre, had been placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and was at first handled by the head of the Department that dealt with Muslim affairs. This Shoghi Effendi violently objected to as it implied the Faith was in some way identified with Islam. After much negotiation a letter was received from the Minister of Religious Affairs, dated December 13, 1953, addressed to "His Eminence, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, World Head of the Bahá'í Faith" in which he said:

"...I am pleased to inform you of my decision to establish in our Ministry a separate Department for the Bahá'í Faith. I hope that this department will be of assistance to you in matters concerning the Bahá'í Centre in our State. In the name of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the State of Israel, I wish to assure Your Eminence that full protection will be given to the Holy Places as well as to the World Centre of the Bahá'í Faith."

The victory was all the more welcome, following as it did the previously mentioned court case against Shoghi Effendi brought on a technicality by the Covenant-breakers in connection with the demolition of a house adjoining the Shrine and Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji. Never tired of seeking to publicly humiliate and discredit the Head of the Faith, be it 'Abdu'l-Bahá or the Guardian, they had had the temerity to summon Shoghi Effendi to appear in court as a witness. Once more, greatly concerned for the honour of the Cause at its World Centre, Shoghi Effendi appealed direct to the Prime Minister, sending as his representatives the President, Secretary-General and Member-at-Large of the International Bahá'í Council (whom he had summoned from Italy for this purpose) to Jerusalem on more than one visit to press the strategy he himself had devised. These representations were successful and on the grounds of its being a purely religious issue it was removed by Government from the jurisdiction of the civil courts. As soon as the plaintiffs found their plan to humiliate Shoghi Effendi had been forestalled, they were willing to settle the case by negotiation. That the authorities and the Bahá'í Community were equally pleased by this conclusion of the matter is shown in these letters written to the Guardian by members of the Prime Minister's staff — two men to whom the Faith owed much for their sympathetic efforts on its behalf at that time:

PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE Jerusalem, 19th May, 1952. His Eminence Shoghi Rabbani, World Head of the Bahá'í Faith, Haifa. Your Eminence, I am instructed to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 16th May addressed to the Prime Minister. As you are no doubt aware, the dispute between yourself as the World head of the Bahá'í Faith and members of the family of the founder of the Faith has found its solution and there is no need, therefore, to take any administrative action in order to solve the problem. May I express to you our gratitude for your wise and benevolent attitude taken in the dispute which enabled us to impose a just and, as we hope, a lasting solution on the dissident group? The Prime Minister assures you of his personal esteem and sends you his best wishes.
Yours sincerely, S. Eynath Legal Adviser

It is significant to note that they address Shoghi Effendi as "His Eminence", a title which, though still far below what his position merited, was the one that had been introduced in the earliest days of his ministry, but never really used by any officials until the formation of the Jewish State.

The cordial nature of the relations established between the Guardian and the officials of the State of Israel encouraged Shoghi Effendi to ascertain if the President would care to visit the Bahá'í Shrine in Haifa; when word was received that he would accept such an invitation, Shoghi Effendi formally invited him to do so and arrangements were made for the morning of April 26, 1954, at which time, the Director of the President's Office wrote to Shoghi Effendi, the President would "be pleased to pay you an official visit". Accordingly the President and his wife arrived at the home of the Master, attended by two officials, partook of light refreshment and were presented by the Guardian with a Persian album, painted with miniatures and bound in silver, containing some photographs of the Shrines, as a memento of their visit. The Presidential party, with Shoghi Effendi and those who accompanied him, then proceeded to the gardens on Mt. Carmel. It was the first time in the history of the Cause that the Head of an independent nation had ever made an official visit of this kind and it constituted another milestone in the development of the World Centre of the Faith. The President and his companions showed the greatest respect to the Shrine of the Bab, removing their shoes as we did, before entering it, the men keeping their hats on out of reverence as Jews for a holy place; it was a very moving moment to see President Ben Zvi standing beside Shoghi Effendi, the former with his European hat, the latter with his simple black fez, before the threshold. After a few words of explanation from Shoghi Effendi we all withdrew and walked about he gardens for a few minutes before saying good-bye in front of the Oriental Pilgrim House where the President's car was awaiting him.

On April 29th the President wrote personally to the Guardian: "I should like to express my thanks for your kind hospitality and for the interesting time I spent with you visiting the beautiful Gardens and remarkable Shrine... I do appreciate the friendship which the Bahá'í Community has for Israel and it is my sincere hope that we may all live to see the strengthening of amity between all peoples on earth." On May 5th the Guardian replied to this letter in equally warm terms: "...It was a great pleasure to meet Your Excellency and Mrs. Ben Zvi, and be able to show you one of our places of Bahá'í pilgrimage in Israel... If it suits your convenience, Mrs. Rabbani and I, accompanied by Mr. Ioas, would like to call upon Your Excellency and Mrs. Ben Zvi in Jerusalem..." The time for this return call was set for the afternoon of May 26th and we had tea and a pleasant conversation with the President and his wife, in her own way as much a personality as her husband and equally nice. In the interim between these two visits Shoghi Effendi had sent to the President some Bahá'í books which he had promised him and these had been acknowledged with the thanks of the President and the assurance that he would read them with great interest. Ever meticulous in all matters, Shoghi Effendi wrote on June 3rd to the President: "I wish to thank you and Mrs. Ben Zvi for your kind hospitality. Mrs. Rabbani and I enjoyed our visit with you very much, and I feel sure that this opportunity we have had of visiting with you our Bahá'í Holy Places and calling upon you in the capital of Israel has served to reinforce the bonds of affection and esteem which unite the Bahá'ís to the people and Government of Israel. With kind regards to you and Mrs. Ben Zvi..." Thus ended another memorable chapter in the process of winning recognition for the Faith at its World Centre.
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