Friday, March 2, 2012

Minister Baird Visits the Bahá’í World Centre

February 6, 2012
Haifa, Israel

Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada, John Baird visited the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa.

Minister Baird has spoken up many times for the Bahá’í community around the world, including while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Bahá’ís continue to face persecution in Iran where its leaders are imprisoned on unfounded charges.

Speaking in London about human rights, Minister Baird said, “These abhorrent acts fly in the face of our core principals, our core values. And nowhere is religious intolerance more present than in Iran. Baha’i’s and Christians are consistently threatened with death and torture simply for believing.”

Baird used this latest opportunity to speak with Albert Lincoln, Secretary-General of the Bahá’í International Community, about the importance of religious freedom in emerging democracies and how Canada can continue to be a staunch advocate for these freedoms.

Our appeal to dear Mr. John Baird

We the Bahá'ís of Jewish background appreciate your concern about the religious freedom for Christians and Bahá'ís in Iran during your visit to our World Centre in Haifa Israel. Like you, we also believe that religious freedom is our core principal and our core values. But then why this fundamental freedom is not been given to Bahá'ís in Israel where the Christians, Muslims and Jews are allowed to teach and propagate their Faiths but the Bahá'ís are denied with this core principal and core values.

We Bahá'ís of Jewish background appeal to you to take up this very important matter with the Israeli authorities and raise this matter in the United Nations.

We are sure that by your sincere efforts these fundamental rights will be given to the Bahá'ís and the Bahá'ís will be able to teach the Jewish children and the Jewish Junior youth and give them the Healing Message of the Manifestation of this age, Bahá'u'lláh.

(Below are the two reference showing that Bahá'ís cannot teach their Faith in Israel.)

Reference 1

Universal House of Justice

Teaching the Faith in Israel

The Universal House of Justice has received your email message dated 29 June 1995 and we have been asked to respond. You have asked how the policy of not teaching Israelis applies in the situation in which you have contact with an Israeli via an "interactive relay chat" (IRC) connection. The House of Justice has not asked the friends to avoid contact with Israelis. When you discover that a person you are in contact with via IRC is an Israeli, you should feel free to maintain friendly contact, but you should not teach the Faith to him. If he has already developed a personal interest in the Faith and seeks more information, you should refer him to the Offices of the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa.

For your information, the people in Israel have access to factual information about the Faith, its history and general principles. Books concerning the Faith are available in libraries throughout Israel, and Israelis are welcome to visit the Shrines and the surrounding gardens. However, in keeping with a policy that has been strictly followed since the days of Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'ís do not teach the Faith in Israel. Likewise, the Faith is not taught to Israelis abroad if they intend to return to Israel. When Israelis ask about the Faith, their questions are answered, but this is done in a manner which provides factual information without stimulating further interest.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

Reference 2

Whenever an Israeli citizen living in the West, irrespective of his background and religious affiliation, declares his belief and interest in becoming a member of the Bahá’í community ,he should be informed that the Faith is not taught in Israel and that there is no Bahá’í community there apart from those who are associated with the Bahá’í World Center. He cannot be accepted into the Bahá’í community if he is planning to return to Israel to reside there.

If he plans to continue to reside outside Israel, his enrollment can be accepted, but he will then be subject to the same restrictions about travel to Israel as any other Bahá’í, in that he could do so only with the express permission of the Universal House of Justice.

In any event, the Universal House of Justice should be informed of any such declaration.

Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated October 20, 1994, to several National Spiritual Assemblies