March 27, 2012

1981: Inaugural meeting of the Continental Board of Counsellors in the Americas

Inaugural meeting of the Continental Board of Counsellors in the Americas (1981) with the Hand of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. Seated, left to right: Ruth Pingle, Velma Sherrill, Carmen de Burafato, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Lauretta King, Sarah Pereira. Standing, left to right,: Peter McLaren, Angus Cowan, Farzam Arbab, Artemus Lamb, Hidayatu'llah Ahmadiyyih, Raul Pavon, Lloyd Gardner, Masud Khamsi, Donald Witzel, Athos Costas, Fred Schechter. (The Baha'i World, 1979-1983)

March 24, 2012

‘Abdu’l-Baha explains the circumstances pertaining to His incarceration and final release

When the deposed Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdu’l-Hamid, arose in tyranny and oppression, ‘Abdu'l-Baha was incarcerated in the prison of Acca and was surrounded with the utmost surveillance of police, detectives and men of the Secret Service. The door of communication was entirely closed and the means of correspondence was prevented. If any soul approached the house he was searched; nay, rather, threatened with dire persecution. The affairs reached to such a degree that, not being satisfied with these restrictions, the Sultan sent an oppressive investigating Commission, so that with all kinds of wiles, simulations, slander and fabrication of false stories they might fasten some guilt upon ‘Abdul-Baha in order that he might crucify Him, or cast Him into the sea, or banish Him into the heart of the distant and unknown Sahara of Feyzan (Africa) That oppressive investigating Commission exercised its rights with tyranny and passed the sentence that ‘Abdu'l-Baha merited all kinds of persecution. Finally they decided to send Him to Feyzan, and when they cabled this decision to the palace of Abdu’l-Hamid, an answer was received that the matter of Feyzan was approved by the Imperial Order. Then that unjust investigating Commission returned to Constantinople. They were in the midst of the sea when the cannon of God boomed forth before the palace of Abdu’l-Hamid, a charge of dynamite was exploded, a number of people were killed, Abdu’l-Hamid fled into the interior of his residence, difficulties and trials surrounded him, and incidents and events developed rapidly. Therefore he did not find the opportunity to oppress ‘Abdu’l-Baha; public revolution was started, which ended in his deposition, and the Hand of Divine Power released the neck of ‘Abdu’l-Baha from the chains of the prison of Joseph and the fetters and manacles were placed around the unblessed neck of ‘Abdu’l-Hamid. Be ye admonished, O ye people of insight! Now ‘Abdu’l-Baha, with the greatest power, has hastened to the country of Egypt from the land of prison. Praise be to God, that through the Bounty and Providence of the Blessed Perfection, no sooner did he land in Alexandria than the Word of God was promoted and the melody of the Kingdom of Abha was heard. All the newspapers wrote innumerable articles. Some gave the utmost praise; others raised a great cry, saying: "The arrival of this personage in this land will shake the pillars of Religion and will shatter to pieces ancient customs and conventions. He attracts everyone he meets and when he loosens his tongue in any meeting, it creates faith in the hearts of the deniers.'' The papers are still writing detailed articles and will continue to do so. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a Tablet addressed to the American believers in 1911, Star of the West, vol.2, no. 4, May 17, 1911)

March 20, 2012

First National Spiritual Assembly of the Andama and Nichobar Islands, April 28, 1984

The Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum (fifth from left) is pictured with members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Andama and Nichobar Islands, April 28, 1984. (Baha'i News, January 1985)

March 18, 2012

April 11, 1912: 'Abdu’l-Baha’s Arrival in America

(By Wendell Phillips Dodge a reporter for the New York City News Association, who boarded the Cedric at quarantine and interviewed ‘Abdu’l-Baha coming up the bay. It was given to all of the New York newspapers, and, through the Associated Press, was sent, though boiled clown considerably, to newspapers throughout the world.)

‘Abdu’l-Baha, the eminent Persian philosopher and leader of the Baha’i movement for the unification of religions and the establishment of universal peace, arrived April 11th on the steamship Cedric from Alexandria, Egypt. It is his first visit to America, and except for a brief visit to Paris and London last summer and fall, it is the first time in forty years that he has gone beyond the fortification of the 'prison city" of Acre, Syria, to which place he and his father, Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i movement, were banished by the Turkish government a half century ago.

He comes on a mission of international peace, to attend and address the Peace Conference at Lake Mohonk the latter part of the month, and to address various peace meetings, educational societies, religious organizations etc.

While the ship news reporters boarded the Cedric down the bay, ‘Abdu'l-Baha was found on the upper deck, standing where he could see the pilot, his long, flowing oriental robe flapping in the breeze. He was clothed in a long, black robe open at the front and disclosing another robe of light tan. Upon his head was a pure white turban, such as eastern patriarchs wear.

His face was light itself as he scanned the harbor and greeted the reporters, who had been kept waiting at quarantine for three and a half hours before they could board the ship with the customs officers, owing to a case of smallpox and several cases of typhoid fever in the steerage, which had to be removed to Hoffman Island for isolation, and the ship then fumigated. He is a man of medium height, though at first sight he seemed to be much taller. He is strongly and solidly built, and weighs probably one hundred and sixty five pounds. As he paced the deck, talking with the reporters, he appeared alert and active in every movement, his head thrown back and splendidly poised upon his broad, square shoulders, most of the time. A profusion of iron grey hair bursting out at the sides of the turban and hanging long upon the neck; a large, massive head, full domed and remarkably wide across the forehead and temples, the forehead rising like a great palisade above the eyes, which were very wide apart, their orbits large and deep, looking out from under massive overhanging brows; strong Roman nose, generous ears, decisive yet kindly mouth and chin; a creamy white complexion, beard same color as his hair, worn full over the face and carefully trimmed at almost full length -- this completes an insufficient word picture of this "Wise Man Out of the East."

His first words were about the press, saying:

March 16, 2012

Members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Gabon, April 1984

Members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Gabon, elected at Ridvan 1984, are shown with Dr. Hushang Ahdieh, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Africa (front row center) who represented the Universal House of Justice at Gabon's National Convention. (Baha'i News, November 1984)

March 11, 2012

Site of the Garden of Ilkhani, Tihran, Persia, where Tahirih suffered martyrdom

Site of the Garden of Ilkhani, Tihran, Persia, where Tahirih suffered martyrdom (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

March 9, 2012

Canada’s First International Baha’i Youth Conference, London, Ontario, August 25-27, 1984

The Youth Movement and its impact on the Faith in North America was the centerpiece August 25-27 as nearly 2,000 young people from 52 countries gathered at Canada's first International Baha’i Youth Conference to rededicate themselves to securing a resounding victory in the final months of the Seven Year Plan.

The conference, whose theme was "If you only knew ...,” was blessed by the presence of the Hands of the Cause of God 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, John Robarts and 'Ali-Muhammad Varqa.

Registration figures showed that about 800 youth from the U.S. and another 800 from Canada were among the 1,972 participants who also included four youth who traveled all the way from the Philippines, 10 who came from Germany, and six youth from Japan who were members of that country's National Teaching Committee and National Youth Committee. 
(Baha’i News, October 1984)