Thursday, December 11, 2008

Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

References in the Baha'i Writings to Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust
by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice

In an email message of 8 July 1998, Mr. xxx asks for "any and all available references to anti-Semitism" in the Bahá'í Writings, especially in the correspondence of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. Furthermore, he asks if there are any references to the Holocaust in the Bahá'í Writings. We reply as follows.

We have been able to find very few references specifically dealing with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. However, we share with Mr. xxx the attached compilation entitled "The Holocaust and the Greater Plan of God", [on line here] which was prepared in response to a question as to whether the Holocaust was part of the Greater Plan of God. In a letter on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer dated 3 February 1988, we read that the "Bahá'í attitude to the Holocaust and the massive sufferings inflicted on mankind by the World Wars is clearly set forth by Shoghi Effendi in The Promised Day is Come...." Extracts 3 and 8 of the attached compilation are such references taken from The Promised Day is Come. Further, Mr. xxx may be interested in the following two extracts from letters written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice regarding the Jewish people:

"It would be impossible for any community, much less the Bahá'í community, to forget the suffering of the Jewish people throughout a long period of history. As you know, Bahá'u'lláh, like the Prophets before Him, stated in His Writings that the Jews would return to their homeland, and this fulfillment of their heart's desire has taken place. Moreover, 'Abdu'l-Bahá has confirmed that the travail of the Jewish people is now to be ended. He wrote in a Tablet: "... The ignominy which Israel has suffered for well-nigh twenty-five hundred years will now be changed into eternal glory, and in the eyes of all, the Jewish people will become glorified to such an extent as to draw the jealousy of its enemies and the envy of its friends.

"However, beyond this lies the supreme reality that the Manifestation of God for our age spent the latter part: of His life in that area of the world in which the Jews have today established a State. The Centre of our Faith, its Shrines and administrative headquarters are established there. From these two distinct points of view, you can see that it is impossible for the Jews to be forgotten in a Bahá'í context. The blessings which will be conferred upon them for what has occurred in the Holy Land in this new dispensation will become increasingly evident." (2 January 1992, to an individual believer)

It is important to bear in mind that in the Writings it is not, Judaism, per se, which is criticized. On the contrary, like the other great religions of the world, Judaism is a divinely revealed system, albeit as with all previous dispensations it has been overtaken by an ineluctable superannuation. As recounted in the Book of Certitude, it is principally the clerics who, from age to age, have misled their followers and contributed to confusion and lack of true understanding. This benighted condition, induced by the leaders of religion, has never been limited to a single people. It prevails at the advent of each of God's Messengers and is the primary cause of their persecution.

Accordingly, Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá speak against the spiritual blindness which led the Jews to denounce Christ to Pontius Pilate, leading to His crucifixion. The purpose is mainly didactic, to illustrate the ever-recurring patterns enacted in the dialogue between mankind and the successive Messengers of God.

However, in our time, it is the followers of Muhammad, not the Jews, whose malevolence subjected the Supreme Manifestation of God to incalculable suffering and who are thus the object of divine judgement.

by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice

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