Friday, October 02, 2009

Baha'is in the News

Dizzy Continues to Teach the Faith

"He was a Baha'i," she says. "We used to have great conversations about Judaism and Baha'ism and the oneness of mankind. But I do say when I play, I also feel Diz, I feel his connection with me, and that feels really special." Gillespie's Goddaughter Blows Her Own Horn

The following article appeared in our local paper, the Dunnville Chronicle, reporting on this month's public meeting, a commemoration of the visit to Canada of the Master.

Abdu'l-Baha spreads message of unity, equality

Cathy Pelletier, Dunnville Chronicle

Dunnville's Baha`i community hosted Joseph Woods of Hamilton as their guest speaker at the Library recently. Woods, who spent time with the Maxwell family in Montreal --where Abdul Baha also stayed during his famed 1912 visit to Canada --shared some of the basic principles of the faith as put forth by its founder, Baha`u`llah, and Abdul Baha, his son.
"We have been asked to recognize the importance of his visit to Canada each year," said Woods, adding, "The year 2012 will be the 100th anniversary of his visit and it will be highly celebrated."

Former Dunnville citizen Ron Speer began the evening of presentations with a moving rendition of Queen of Carmel, in honour of the Baha`i shrine in Israel.

Abdul Baha was a prisoner for 50 years, said Woods, and in his own words, "entered prison as a youth and left as an old man. He never went to school but his speeches were brilliant, because he was thought to have the grace of God."

Travelling from temples to churches to synagogues -a feat Woods called unparalleled by any other religious leader at the time -Abdul Baha spread his father's teachings, which include the absolute oneness of religion, the unity of mankind, racial equality, and equality of men and women. "They are two wings of one bird," said Baha`u`llah.

Woods described how at age 68, Abdul Baha travelled extensively throughout Europe and arrived in North America in April of 1912. "It was the beginning of a journey that lasted 239 days." Although he only spent nine days in Canada and about six months in the U. S., "it was a blessing for us," stated Woods, charting the leader's path through Toronto, Hamilton and Smithville before moving on to the U. S. via Buffalo.

"At the end of his time in North America, he was so exhausted he could no longer meet with people but he aching his followers," said Woods.

"At that time, racial unity was very much a concern but he invited blacks and whites to have dinner with him. This was a shock for people around him. His father said religious fanatacism was an all-devouring fire," and many Baha`is were routinely tortured and executed for their beliefs. Muslims who merely mentioned the word Baha`i were killed immediately.

Woods shared some quotes from Abdul Baha: "We must at all times try to keep our ego in check. We have to realize that the insistent self, or ego, should contribute to the betterment of the community. The way we organize ourselves is lamentably defective." 

According to Woods, Abdul Baha publicly predicted the coming of World War I in a Montreal paper, and WWII as well, prior to his death in 1921.

John Taylor of Dunnville gave a slide presentation depicting highlights of Abdul Baha's life and journey through North America. Born in 1844 in Teheran, Persia, he was basically the first child to be raised in the Baha`i faith, explained Taylor. From a young boy, he was badly bullied for his beliefs, and though he didn't go to school, he educated himself by reading the writings of the Bab, who was executed in Tabriz in 1850.


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