Suspicious killing of Baha’i in Iran

NEW YORK — The Baha’i International Community has learned about the killing of a Baha’i in Iran, under suspicious circumstances.

A report received on 9 January indicated that Ahmad Fanaian was found dead, having sustained severe burns to his body. Mr. Fanaian was an elderly and respected man from Semnan Province.

This killing comes at a time of ongoing, systematic oppression of Baha’is in Semnan Province, which has been the focus of extensive anti-Baha’i activity. In 2012, the Baha’i International Community published a special report detailing numerous acts of violence and discrimination against Baha’is there.

Further details are expected in the coming days.

Virtually Attend The 2016 National Race Amity Conference

unnamedThe National Race Amity Conference is once again being held at the Boston Marriott Quincy Hotel, November 17-19th 2016.  If you can’t make the trip, you can attend via LIVE VIDEO STREAMING!
The National Race Amity Conference offers positive, focused opportunities for intimate discussion circles, interactive panels, and informative sessions on a variety of topics central to the main theme of race amity in the United States.
The overall theme of this year’s conference is The Impact of Finance and Law on The Other Tradition. The conference will also offer important sessions for skill development toward action avenues in education and media/communication in the area of race amity.
The Conference can be attended via LIVE VIDEO STREAM of selected keynote presentations of the conference. The video recordings will also be available soon after the completion of the conference.
GRAB YOUR TICKET to the 3-DAY LIVE VIDEO STREAM!
For a limited time: single access for just $49!
Group access for just $69!
http://raceamity.org/wi

The full 2016 Conference schedule can be viewed here:

You will really want to attend either in person or by the virtual video live stream if:
!  You’re new to race amity and want to make a difference in the world.
!!  You want to find like-minded people who care about making the world a better and more just place.
!!!  You’re tired of hearing blame in the conversation of race unity and realize that we will overcome these challenges through association, amity, and collaboration.
OR …Create a group in your area! Attend as a group to the Virtual Live Video Stream!

Bahá’ís Enjoy “Twin Birthday”Celebrations

Bahá’ís across North Alabama and the world enjoying double holy days this week for the Birth of The Báb and the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh .

The “Twin Birthdays” of the religion’s founders are on two consecutive days, today, Nov. 1 and tomorrow, Nov. 2. The Huntsville Bahá’í community will hold commemorative events each evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Bahá’í Center, 3209 Pulaski Pike.

The Birth of The Báb, November 1, commemorates the 1819 birth in Shiraz, Persia, of The Báb (born Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, who later took the title “The Báb,” meaning “the Gate”).  The Báb was the herald who prepared the way for Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith.  He called on people to purify themselves for the coming day of God.

The Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, November 2, commemorates the 1817 birth of Bahá’u’lláh (born Mirza Husayn-‘Ali) in Núr, Persia. Bahá’u’lláh means the “Glory of God,” who announced in 1863 that he is God’s messenger for this age.  His teachings and sacred writings are the basis of the Bahá’í Faith, an inclusive monotheistic faith that’s grown to more than five million believers in nearly every country and territory across the globe.

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House of Baha’u’llah in Tehran.

Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed that God, our loving creator, sends divine messengers or manifestations of God with teachings that enable humanity to know and to worship God.  These great manifestations have appeared throughout history every 500 to 1,000 years, bringing human civilization to ever higher levels of spiritual and material advancement. Bahá’u’lláh is the latest in this long line of divine messengers, which has included Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster and The Báb.

The birthdays of The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh occur on consecutive days according to the “Badi” calendar, a lunar calendar.

The Bahá’í Faith has been active in Huntsville since 1957 and offers devotional programs, children’s classes and study circles for spiritual education for people of all backgrounds. For information, check huntsvillebahais.com or email hsvlsa9@gmail.com.  The faith is
represented in every state and thousands of communities throughout the United States.  To learn more about the Bahá’í Faith in America, visit www.bahai.us

Baha’i murdered in Iran—victim of religious hatred

In an appalling act of violence, a Baha’i has been stabbed to death by two men who admitted they attacked him because of his religious beliefs.

Farhang Amiri, 63, was murdered outside his home on 26 September 2016 in the city of Yazd, Iran, where he and his family have long resided.

On the previous night, two young men visited the residence of Mr. Amiri under the pretense of wanting to purchase his van. Mr. Amiri was not home. His son, who answered the door, was surprised and indicated that he was not aware of any plans by his father to sell the vehicle. The two men, however, insisted. When he asked for their contact information, they made excuses and left.

On the evening of the murder, the same two individuals returned, met with Mr. Amiri himself, and violently attacked him outside his residence. Hearing his screams, a family member, who was then joined by several other people, found him severely injured with multiple stab wounds in the chest.

Shortly after the attack, local shopkeepers apprehended a man who was running away from the scene and delivered him to the police. The second culprit was also captured.

While being questioned by the police in front of witnesses, the two suspects admitted to killing Mr. Amiri with a knife they had brought with them for this purpose. When asked about their motive, one of the suspects answered that he carried out the murder because he knew Mr. Amiri was a Baha’i.

  • A photograph of Farhang Amiri placed atop a floral bouquet at his funeral

“Such a heinous act is a consequence of a longstanding, systematic effort by the Iranian authorities to encourage hatred and bigotry against Baha’is,” said Ms. Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

“Just in the city of Yazd alone, there have been multiple acts of persecution over the past few years, including dozens of wrongful arrests and imprisonments as well as scores of raids on Baha’i residences and businesses,” said Ms. Dugal.

This is not the first incident of persecution against Mr. Amiri’s family. His children had their businesses and residences searched last year by government agents who confiscated laptops, telephones, and other items.

Further, in early August of this year, another Baha’i in Yazd was told, while being interrogated by government agents, that they knew of people in the city who had expressed intentions to kill Baha’is.

“The Baha’i International Community is outraged at the murder of Mr. Amiri,” said Ms. Dugal. “It is deeply concerned about the ongoing and relentless persecution of the Baha’is in Iran that serves as a backdrop to such acts of violence.”

She noted that there has been an increase in hate propaganda against Baha’is in the official Iranian media. In a new report, the BIC says more than 20,000 such items have been disseminated over the last three years.

Ms. Dugal commented that Mr. Amiri, who worked as a driver and also a farmer, lived a modest and honorable life.

“He was known among his neighbours for his kindness, gentleness, wisdom, and humility,” she said. “He had no quarrel with anyone. His family environment was marked by love and tenderness, and he encouraged his four children to be honest and trustworthy.”

Ms. Dugal further stated that the Iranian government must ensure that the cause of justice is uninterrupted by considerations of religious affiliation.

“Open-minded Iranians, together with the international community, are now eager to see how justice will be carried out and wonder when the incitement and the prevailing atmosphere that make possible such heinous deeds will come to an end,” said Ms. Dugal.

CNN: The temple that welcomes all religions, or none at all

161021155253-cg2a1731b-exlarge-169A previously barren golf course on a 10-hectare site near Santiago, Chile has been transformed into a space envisioned to be open to all, regardless of background, religion, gender, or social standing.  Please enjoy this special feature story on the dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship for South America by CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/25/architecture/bahai-temple-chile/index.html

Baha’i Temple: a transcendental ‘gift’ to Chile and South America

1128_12SANTIAGO — On the outskirts of Santiago, in the foothills of the Andes, an extraordinary event took place Thursday—the long-anticipated public dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship for South America and the last remaining continental Baha’i Temple to be constructed.

Some 500 guests from Chile, including senior figures from the government and civil society, as well as representatives from South, Central, and North America and the Caribbean, and further afield, gathered for the first of a series of opening ceremonies this coming weekend that will bring more than 5,000 Baha’is from 110 countries beneath the House of Worship’s soaring dome.

Opening the dedication ceremony, Felipe Duhart—secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Chile—said that the desire of the Baha’is is that “the House of Worship will become the heart and nerve centre for this whole community,” and “a refuge for prayer.”

This role the House of Worship has as a “transcendental space that looks for unity and respect for all religious backgrounds” was emphasised by the representative of the President of Chile, Minister Secretary General Nicolás Eyzaguirre.1128_06

“It is a Temple which makes our landscape a more beautiful one,” he added. “It will become an icon and it will remind us how important it is to find the unity between the city and nature.”

The Temple is located outside of Santiago in Peñalolen, a commune whose name in the local language means “reunion of brothers.” As the site for the final continental Baha’i House of Worship, there could be no better name, and no better location.

“Today we see the beauty of its creation, together with all the divine and human forces that have made it possible,” Mr. Orrego said.

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Minister Secretary General Nicolás Eyzaguirre, representative of the President of Chile, addresses visitors at the welcome reception.

“Santiago will be different from now on because of this beautiful temple that has been given to us…It doesn’t matter what religion we belong to, what creed we profess, our cities are full of the thirst for silence and to transcend.”

The assembled guests—many of them attired in traditional costume—ascended the steps up the mountainside for the first devotional programme to be held in the House of Worship, in which welcoming remarks were made by the representative of the Universal House of Justice, Mrs. Antonella Demonte, and prayers and holy scriptures were recited and sung by a 60-strong choir made up of singers from Chile and Baha’i communities from the rest of the world.

One prayer for unity was sung in the indigenous Mapuche language of Chile by Berta Blanco, who was among the first of her people to join the Baha’i community more than 40 years ago.

“I think the Temple is going to bring a lot of changes for my family, for my community, for my people, for the tradition I come from,” she said.

Representatives from Chile’s diverse religious communities also welcomed the establishment of the Temple in their city.

Father Georges Abed of the Syrian Orthodox church has lived and worked in Santiago for some 26 years. He described the House of Worship as “a great gift for the society here, because it helps opens their minds and see the brotherhood of their citizens in the city.”

Rabbi Daniel Zang, representing the Jewish community, said, “It’s part of our worship to pray together, that all mankind can come together and ask God for peace and brotherhood.”

Today, the power of the Temple to unite humanity in all of its varied cultures and colours—as well its unique position between the city and the mountains—was on full display.