Monday, August 29, 2011

Jewish groups urge release of Baha'i Academics in Iran

Wednesday 17 August, 2011 THE JEWISH CHRONICLE ONLINE

By Marcus Dysch , August 17, 2011

Iran's detention of 11 Baha'i academics has been condemned by the Board of Deputies and Union of Jewish Students. British Jews have repeatedly raised concerns about the treatment of Iran's Baha'i community. More than 100 are being held in Iranian prisons, including seven of the community's most senior leaders, some having been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Those detained worked for the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), which had been established to meet the educational needs of young Baha'is denied access to Iran's higher education system.

In a joint statement calling for the academics' immediate release, the Board and UJS said the detention was "totally unacceptable and a violation of Article 27 of the UDHR, which guarantees all citizens the right to freely 'participate in the cultural life of the community'.”Only through fostering a culture of mutual respect can Iran progress to a legal and political situation worthy of all its citizens. We believe that all people, and all Iranians, should be given equal access to higher education on the basis of merit, and not de-barred because of their religious beliefs." Iran has repeatedly repressed its Baha'i community and has for more than 30 years barred Baha'i academics from working in universities.

Dear Jewish Brothers and Sisters (Board of Deputies and Union of Jewish Students),

We are indeed very thankful to you for taking up our cause and calling for the immediate release of the Academics in Iran. We acknowledge that this is not just your first support but since the emergence of the Baha’i Faith our Jew brothers and sisters are on forefront for help and support. Since the Establishment of our beloved holy Land the State of Israel. The government has left no stone unturned to help and support us.

We also take this opportunity to convey to you that please bring your generous pressure on the Israeli Government, because we Baha’is are not permitted to Propagate Baha’i Faith in Israel. This prevention of Teaching and propagation of Baha’i Faith in Israel is totally unaccepted and it is clear violation of Religious Freedom. We also believe that the State of Israel should give same opportunity of teaching and propagation of Baha’i beliefs as it has been granted to the followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Since the Establishment of State of Israel in 1948 the prevention and prohibition is only for the Baha’is. Although we are very sure that the State of Israel takes all the care for the Baha’is, not only in Israel but through out the world. In fact the Israeli ambassadors in every country takes a deep interest in well being of Baha’is of that country taking utmost care to see that no law is made to prevent the Baha’is from teaching the Baha’i Faith in that country. So then the natural question arises is why the Baha’is are not allowed to teach in Israel?

In 2009 the beloved Universal House of Justice gave a Message in which they exhorted the Baha’is to “Go and teach the Iranians, and face whatever consequences are there”. Although the law of obeying the government is still not abrogated in Baha’i Faith.

There is a very strange contradiction here! The Iranian Government is deadliest Enemy of Baha’i Faith, yet the House says go and teach the Iranians and become Martyrs, whereas The State of Israel is so friendly with Baha’is - extending all the facilities and hospitality to Baha’is - yet we are not supposed to teach the Israelis.

Please campaign for removal of this discrimination. We would be greatly obliged and forever pray for your well-being.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Jews are an example of God’s wrath

{When followers of a religion became totally attached to dogmas and blind imitations and gave up the essential foundation and reality of their religion}

… When the Jews became fettered by empty forms and imitations, the wrath of God became manifest. When they forsook the foundations of the law of God, Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered the Holy Land. He killed and made captive the people of Israel, laid waste the country and populous cities and burned the villages. Seventy thousand Jews were carried away captive to Babylon. He destroyed Jerusalem, despoiled the great Temple, desecrated the Holy of Holies and burned the Torah, the heavenly book of Scriptures. Therefore, we learn that allegiance to the essential foundation of the divine religions is ever the cause of development and progress, whereas the abandonment and beclouding of that essential reality through blind imitations and adherence to dogmatic beliefs are the causes of a nation's debasement and degradation. After their conquest by the Babylonians the Jews were successively subjugated by the Greeks and Romans. Under the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70 the Holy Land was stripped and pillaged, Jerusalem razed to its foundations and the Israelites scattered broadcast throughout the world. So complete was their dispersion that they have continued without a country and government of their own to the present day [1912].

From this review of the history of the Jewish people we learn that the foundation of the religion of God laid by Moses was the cause of their eternal honor and national prestige, the animating impulse of their advancement and racial supremacy and the source of that excellence which will always command the respect and reverence of those who understand their peculiar destiny and outcome. The dogmas and blind imitations which gradually obscured the reality of the religion of God proved to be Israel's destructive influences, causing the expulsion of these chosen people from the Holy Land of their Covenant and promise.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 362)

Appeal of Baha’is of Jewish background to all the Jews

The only way for Jews to escape the Wrath of God is to join the Bahá'í Community, accept Baha’u’llah as the promised one of all Religions and actively involve themselves in teaching the Bahá'í Faith in the Holy Land of Israel. The best way of teaching the Bahá'í Faith is to concentrate on Children because once the Children accept the Bahá'í Faith it is but obvious that the parents will also accept it and it will open the doors for “Entry by Troops.” This is what has been conveyed in very recent Messages of Universal House of Justice.

“The various recent messages from the Universal House of Justice calling for the multiplication of children’s classes, however, refer to Bahá'í classes that are open to non-Bahá'í children. It is clear that classes focusing on the development of virtues are distinct from the classes we are called upon to establish in the context of the Five Year Plan. The interests of Bahá'í education are best served by the materials and methods being used by the training institutes, including those in the main Ruhi sequence such as Books 3 and 3A (known previously as Book 5), and the Core Curriculum, which is a branch course after Book 3.

Experience has abundantly demonstrated that many parents of non-Bahá'í children who attend neighborhood classes are receptive to the Faith. If children’s classes are established as a means of social and economic development alone, then their potential to serve as one of the “portals for entry by troops” will remain unrealized. The National Assembly understands that this arena of service, like all the features of the Five Year
Plan, is characterized by an increasing appreciation of the value of process and action-learning. Some friends may already have initiated neighborhood classes using the Virtues material, and some may be inclined to begin classes with this approach because of their thoughtful consideration of the receptivity of their friends and neighbors. However, we expect that they would view the use of these materials as only a transitional stage in the process of establishing Bahá'í classes for all children. Where virtues-based classes are already underway we hope that the friends will experiment with a gradual shift toward content that more directly presents the Bahá'í teachings to the students. This would present an excellent opportunity to invite graduates and participants of Book 3 in your cluster to assist with children’s classes.”

Be assured of our prayers in the luminous Mashriqu’l-Adhkár that your steadfast endeavors to prosecute the central elements of the Five Year Plan and advance this mighty Cause of God may attract the bountiful confirmations of His Supreme Manifestation.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

Kenneth E. Bowers
(Message To, the American Bahá'í Community)