Bahá'í Library Online
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Chronology of the Bábí and Bahá'í Faiths and related history

This chronology was based on A Basic Baha'i Chronology by Glenn Cameron and Wendi Momen (used with permission).
Cameron has continued to add to his database in the years since it was published, and helps maintain this online version.
see also:     1. A note from the publisher
2. Abbreviations and Bibliography    
3. Index (from the original book, as published)
4. Export (use this data for your own spreadsheet)
5. Search & tips
 Enter the first part of a date or an entire date, with or without hyphens, in the form Year-Month-Day. Examples:
century:18 - - decade:184 - year:1848 month:1848-03 day:1848-03-03

or jump to:   1700s 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s . . . 1990s 2000s 2010s

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Browsing 200 most recent entries:

date event locations tags firsts see also
2019 7 May In a letter to all National Spiritual Assemblies, the House of Justice announced the appointment of Hossein Amanat as the architect chosen for the design of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The distinguished Iranian-Canadian architect is best known for his designs of three of the buildings of the Arc on Mount Carmel in Haifa as well as the Azadi Tower in Tehran.
  • They also announced the inauguration of a Fund dedicated to the construction of the Shrine. [BWNS1325;]
  • Photo Hossein Amanat.
  • Photo Ridván Gardens 1.
  • Photo Ridván Gardens 2.
  • BWC AbdulBaha, Shrine of, Hossein Amanat
    2019 28 Apr The passing of Don Otto Rogers (b. 1935 in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan) a former member of the International Teaching Centre, in Picton, Ontario. He served as an Auxiliary Board member and then as a Continental Counsellor followed by a decade as a member of the International Teaching Centre and upon returning to Canada, served on the National Spiritual Assembly. [BWNS1323; Wikipedia.]
  • As an accomplished artist, he was known as "Otto Rogers". He taught at the University of Saskatchewan (1959-1988) after receiving his MA in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin. Mr Rogers helped sustain the Emma Lake Workshops, a meeting place for some of North America’s leading artists including Barnett Newman, Jules Olitski and Mr Rogers himself. His work was held in more than 30 public collections including: the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
  • He website
  • His works at the Oeno Gallery in Prince Edward County.
  • Canadian Art.
  • Video The Artist In Us Interview—Painter Otto Rogers.
  • A talk by Otto Rogers entitled Artist’s Studio.
  • The Canadian Encylopedia.
  • The National Gallery of Canada

    His publications:

    A publications about his work.

  • Kerrobert Saskatchewan; Milford; Ontario Don Rogers; Otto Rogers; Counsellor; In Memoriam
    2019 Ridván In its Ridván Message the Universal House of Justice announced the intention of constructing a Shrine for 'Abdu'l-Bahá near the Ridván Garden on the crescent traced between the Holy Shrines in 'Akká and Haifa. The day after His passing in Haifa on 28 November 1921, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s remains were placed in a vault within the sacred Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel, a temporary arrangement until such time that a separate shrine would be erected in His honor.
  • “...Ridvan messages: As early as 1923 Shoghi Effendi sent a letter of encouragement and greeting to the American national Bahá'í convention at Ridvan. Later it was his regular practice to write a Ridvan letter to the Bahá'ís of the world summarizing the progress of the Faith in the previous year and setting out general directions for the coming year. The Universal House of Justice has continued this practice. Other Bahá'í institutions, especially national spiritual assemblies, also sometimes issue Ridvan letters." [SA241]
  • BWC Abdulbaha, shrine of
    2019 23 Mar A gathering of about 1,200 people attended the groundbreaking of the first local Bahá'í House of Worship in Africa located about 4 kilometers west of the town of Matunda in the Matunda Soy district of Kenya.
  •       Ruth Vuyiya, a much-loved Bahá'í known affectionately as "Mama Ruth", set the temple’s cornerstone on the red soil. Ms. Vuyiya was joined by her daughter, members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Kenya, construction contractors and the temple’s architect Neda Samimi. After the ceremonial groundbreaking, attendees celebrated the moment in song and ululations.
  •      The groundbreaking took place almost one year after its elegant and simple design, inspired by the region’s traditional huts, was unveiled at the same site. The design incorporated an intricate and expressive pattern that used the diamond shape, a familiar motif in Kenyan culture. Exposed roof beams punctuating the nine sides of the edifice will be drawn together at an apex skylight. Inside, the skylight will sit atop a Greatest Name symbol, and 250 people can be seated. The temple will be built from local materials. [BWNS 1317]
  • Concept Drawing.
  • Matunda; Matunda Soy; Kenya BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded first local Baha’i House of Worship in Africa
    2019 28 Feb The Universal House of Justice announced the publication of a compilation of extracts on prayer and devotional life drawn from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and from the letters of the Guardian and the House of Justice that had been prepared by the Research Department at its request. It was made available on the Bahá’í Reference Library with a plan to produce printed editions. BWC Compilation on prayer and devotional life
    2019 2 Feb Hamed Bin Hayadara, who was facing a death sentence, appeared in a Sana’a court where he was charged with "foreign espionage" and "abandonment of religion". The judge adjourned the session until 12 March. He was among the six Bahá'ís detained in Sana'a. [SBSWorldNews] Sana'a; Yemen Hamed Bin Haydara; Persecution, Yemen; Z****
    2019 7 Feb An estimated 5,760 members of the Bahá'í Faith had been charged (and some even executed) for 'membership of a sect' in Iran between 1979 and 2009 according to a report by press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders. The Paris-based watchdog based their report on leaked digital files. [i24NEWS 7 February, 2019] Iran Persecution, Iran
    2019 5 Feb The announcement of the publication of The Call of the Divine Beloved by the Bahá'í World Centre. The book contained revised translations of The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys as well as five newly published selections from Bahá’u’lláh’s writings, including Rashḥ-i-‘Amá (The Clouds of the Realms Above). This tablet is considered to be among the first if not the first revealed by Bahá'u'lláh after being apprised that He was to be the Manifestation of God.
  • For more information about this Tablet and its significance see 1852 (between Aug - Nov).
  • BWC Call of the Divine Beloved (book); Haft Vadi (Seven Valleys); Chahar Vadi (Four Valleys); Rashh-i-Ama (Sprinkling from the Cloud of Unknowing); Bahaullah, Writings of; Publications; Translation; BWNS; Z****
    2019 18 Jan On this, the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the Paris Peace Conference, the Universal House of Justice released a message regarding World Peace. BWC * Institute process; Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; Paris Peace Conference; Promise of World Peace (statement); Peace; World peace (general)
    2019 08 Jan Imprisoned Bahá'í Hamed bin Haydara, 55, who had been sentenced to death, appeared in court in Sana'a for an unexpected hearing. Mr Haydara had been in Houthi detention in central Sana'a since December 2013. UN human rights representatives called for the rebels to overturn his death sentence.
  • In addition to Mr Haydara, five other Bahá'ís were held by the rebels in Sana'a, two of whom had been hidden since last April, They were Waleed Ayyash, 51, and Wael Al Al Ariki, 41, a human-rights activist, Sheikh Akram Ayyas, 37, had been in Houthi detention since October 2017, Badea Senai, 66, who was an urban planning adviser for the government, had been in prison since May 2017 and Qwan Mohammad Qadri, 45, who was arrested by the Houthis in August 2016. He is of Iranian descent and was an employee of the British Council in Yemen.
  • Under a prisoner exchange deal agreed at UN-led peace talks in Sweden in December, the government had repeatedly requested the release of all Bahá'í detainees held by the Houthi rebels. Each side submitted 8,000 names of Yemeni people they believe to be detained, dead or missing for the other side to locate and release as a confidence-building measure but the Iran-backed rebels have not responded to the government's request on the Bahá'í detainees. [The National 13JAN2019]
  • Yemen Hamed bin Haydara; Waleed Ayyash; Wael Al Al Ariki, 41; Sheikh Akram Ayyas; Badea Senai; Qwan Mohammad Qadri, Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Z****
    2018 20 Dec The last imprisoned member of the former leadership body of the Bahá'í community in Iran was released from prison after serving a 10-year prison sentence. He was arrested on 14 May 2008 and charged with, among other false claims, espionage, propaganda against Iran, and the establishment of an illegal administration. Mr. Naeimi and the other six former members of the Yaran faced those charges more than a year after their arrest in a sham trial without any semblance of legal process. Authorities sentenced Mr. Naeimi and the other former members of the Yaran to 10 years in prison. While detained, Mr. Naeimi experienced severe health problems, often receiving inadequate treatment. Authorities made a cruel determination that the brief time Mr. Naeimi, a father of two from Tehran, spent in a hospital recovering would not be counted as part of his sentence. [BWNS1302] Tehran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Human rights; Persecution; Human rights
    2018 Dec During a dialogue with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as it considered a report on measures taken to implement the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination the Iraqi Deputy Justice Minister, Hussein al-Zuhairi, said Bahaism is not a religion or faith. He further expressed the Iraqi government’s commitment to legislation prohibiting the Bahá'í religion in 1970 and added that there was no religion above Islam since the Iraqi Constitution set the tenets of Islam as a source of law. He said that as Iraqi society was Muslim, it was not possible to ignore the tenets of Islam in legislation.
  • Zuhairi’s statement angered representatives of civil society and the delegations of organizations that presented parallel reports to the government’s report in which they outlined the Iraqi government’s and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s violations of the rights of minorities. His statements raised concerns for the Bahá'ís and indicated that the Iraqi government cannot solve the conflict between respecting human rights called for in its constitution and the Islamic principles that are a key source of legislation. [Al-Monitor 11 December, 2018]
  • Iraq
    2018 19 - 22 Nov The second annual Arab Sustainable Development Week was held in Cairo from 19 to 22 November to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030. More than 120 diplomats, government officials, representatives of regional and international organizations, businesses, and academics attended the event. Speakers included Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, among a number of other leaders in the Arab region.
    It was the first time the Bahá'í community had an official presence at a space convened by the Arab League, a regional organization of about 20 nations in North Africa and the Middle East. Bahá'í International Community representatives were Dr. Solomon Belay, from the BIC Addis Ababa office, Shahnaz Jaberi from BIC-Bahrain and Hatem El-Hady from BIC-Egypt. The BIC statement, Summoning Our Common Will: A Baha’i Contribution to the United Nations Global Development Agenda, was distributed at the event. [BWNS1299]
    Cairo; Egypt Solomon Belay; Shahnaz Jaberi; Hatem El-Hady; BIC; Arab League; Sustainable Development; Ahmed Aboul-Gheit; Mostafa Madbouly; Z**** first time the BIC had an official presence at a meeting convened by the Arab League.
    2018 15 Nov The passing of Shapoor Monadjem, (b. 3 October, 1933, Shiraz, Iran) at his last pioneer post in Maringá, Brazil. He had been a member of the International Teaching Center, a pioneer and member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Brazil (1963-1983), a Continental Councillor (1983-1993) as well as a Deputy Trustee of Ḥuqúqu’lláh. [BWNS1296; Bahaikipedia] Maringa; Brazil Shapoor Monadjem; International Teaching Centre; Continental Board of Counsellors; In Memoriam; Z****
    2018 9 Nov The Universal House of Justice announced that the Office of Social and Economic Development would be succeeded by the Bahá’í International Development Organization with a five-member board of directors to serve a five year term of service with appointment to be made on the Day of the Covenant.
  • In addition a new fund, the Bahá'í Development Fund, was inaugurated which will be supported by the Universal House of Justice, individuals and institutions. [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 9 November, 2018]
  • Three days later the Universal House of Justice announced the appointment of the members of the Board of Directors for the Bahá'í International Development Organization for the five-year term beginning 26 November 2018: Elisa Caney, Maame Brodwemaba Nketsiah, Lori McLaughlin Noguchi, Sina Rahmanian, and George Soraya.
  • See also BWNS1308.
  • BWC Social and Economic Development; Social action; Baha’i International Development Organization; Bahai Development Fund; Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; BWNS; Z****
    2018 1 - 7 Nov More than 7,500 people attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This forum began in 1893 at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago as an effort to promote an emerging international movement devoted to promoting dialogue among religions. Since that time, it has been held in Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004), Melbourne (2009) and Salt Lake City (2015). [Website] Bahá'í presenters were:
    • Bani Dugal: “The Equality of Women and Men: Divine Imperative for an Age of Transition.”
    • Hugh Locke: “Half the Sky, Half the Land: The Role of Women Farmers in Transforming Agriculture,”
    • Payam Akhavan: “Equality and Justice, Global Perspectives” and “Countering War, Hate, and Violence Assembly.”
    • Emily Wright: “Making Interreligious Chaplaincy Education Meaningfully Inclusive” and “A New Cup of Grace—A Ukulele Opera
    • Hooshmand Badee: “Interfaith Peacemaking Perspectives from Across the World.”
    • Nader Saiedi: Presenting the new documentary film The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith.
    • Paul Hanley: “Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, the First Global Environmentalist.”
    • JoAnn Borovicka: “Amazing Faiths! An Interactive Workshop on Interfaith Dialogue.”
    • Robert Atkinson: “New Thoughts in Interfaith Spirituality.”
    • Robert Stockman: “The Characteristics of Bahá’í Interfaith Dialogue.” Candace Hill: “From Shiraz to Chicago: Bahá’í Women of the East and the West”
    • Edward Price: “The Divine Curriculum: Understanding the Báb, Divine Educator for the Modern Era.”
    • Sovaida Maani Ewing: “Achieving World Peace: Bahá’í and Catholic Teachings.”
    • Jean Muza: “Bahá’í Civic Engagement: How to Maneuver in America’s Divisive Political Landscape.”
    • Robert Atkinson: “The Golden Rule as the Basis for a Global Justice System: An Interfaith Perspective with a Call to Action.”
    • Edward Price: “The Divine Curriculum Concept as a Framework for Interfaith Inclusion and Love.” [CBN-Preparation; CBN-Inclusion; CBN-Films]
    Toronto; Canada; Chicago; Cape Town; Barcelona; Melbourne; Salt Lake City World Parliament of Religions; Z****
    2018 24 Oct The body of a Bahá'í citizen, Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian, from Gilavand, a suburb of the city of Damavand was exhumed by unknown individuals several days after being buried in the Gilavand Bahá'í Cemetery and abandoned in the deserts of Jaban in the suburbs of that city. No individual or institution has accepted responsibility for this action, although security forces had told the Gilavand Bahá'ís earlier that they had no right to bury their deceased member in this place, and that they should perform burials only in Tehran. Her son refused to move the body but found that it had been taken to Tehran which is a distance of some two hours away. [Iran Press Watch 19720]
  • Subsequently, a group of progressive Muslims strongly condemned the “desecration and excavation of the grave of a Bahá'í compatriot.” In their statement the “systematic and deeply rooted denial of Bahá'í citizens’ rights” was denounced, and the violation of their citizenship rights was called a “hateful” act, “born of ignorant prejudice.” The signatories of the statement called for an open investigation and prosecution of perpetrators and facilitators. The message can be seen at Iran Press Watch19731.
  • Gilavand; Damavand; Iran Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian; Persecution, denial of burial; Z****
    2018 11 Oct Abdullah Al Olofi, member of the Bahá'í community in Yemen, was on his way to the market in Sana’a when suddenly he was surrounded by armed soldiers in a pick-up truck. He was blindfolded and taken away. [Counterpunch 9 November, 2018] Sana'a; Yemen Abdullah Al Olofi; Persecution, Yemen; Z****
    2018 Oct The announcement of the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas into the Philippines’ second most widely spoken language, Cebuano. (Translation into Tagalog was completed in 2003.) This translation was done by Dr Gil Tabucanon and was completed after ten years of effort. Publication was done by the Philippines Baha’i Publishing Trust.
  • Among the languages into which the Kitab-i-Aqdas had been translated, in addition to English, were Albanian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Marathi, Norwegian, Oriya, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. [BWNS1294; BWNS646]
  • Manila; Solano; Philippines Translation; Cebuano language; Tagalog language; Kitab-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book); BWNS first translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas into Cebuano
    2018 Oct The publication of Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, the First Global Conservationist. by Paul Hanley. [BWNS1292
  • See 1982-06-09.
  • Regina,Saskatchewan Richard St Barbe Baker; Man of the Trees; Paul Hanley; BWNS; Z****
    2018 29 Sep In the second court hearing presided over by judge Abdu Ismail Hassan Rajeh, three additional Bahá'ís were sentenced to death. Five of the indicted Bahá'ís were in attendance at the court where the judge requested the prosecutor to publish the names of 19 others indicted in a newspaper, further endangering the lives of the Yemeni Bahá'í community. The judge also ordered that all of the properties belonging to the Bahá'ís indicted be frozen until the court verdict was issued. He furthermore objected to a request by the lawyer for the five to be released on bail and deferred any such decision to the next hearing to be held in a month and ten days.
  • The actions undertaken by the Houthis were condemned in two recent United Nations resolutions, one of which called for the immediate release of all Bahá'ís detained in Yemen due to their religious beliefs and to cease any harassment they are subjected to. [Iran Press Watch 4 October, 2018]
  • Sanaa; Yemen United Nations; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
    2018 21 Sep The Bahá'í World Centre announced the release of three short films that highlighted aspects of the community building endeavours of Bahá'ís and like-minded friends around the world. Totaling about 32 minutes, the new films covered three themes: nurturing younger generations, exploring the empowerment of junior youth, and communities learning to advance together. The films complement the recently produced documentary film A Widening Embrace released in April. [BWNS1286]

    The films can be downloaded using the link below:
    Nurturing younger generations
    Exploring the empowerment of junior youth
    Communities learning to advance together

    BWC Nurturing younger generations; Exploring the empowerment of junior youth; Communities learning to advance together
    2018 15 Sep Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi authorities held a court hearing that targeted some 20 or 24 Bahá'ís, most in absentia, with a string of baseless charges which included espionage and apostasy. The charges were primarily made against individuals who held administrative roles in the Bahá'í community but extended to other Yemeni Bahá'ís including a teenage girl. In a subsequent hearing on September 29, the judge asked the prosecutor to publish the names of the accused in a newspaper and ordered their properties frozen. The judge in the case was Abdu Ismail Hassan Rajeh, the same judge who presided over Mr. Haydara's in January of 2018.
  • Subsequently the governments of Australia, Canada, and Germany issued a joint statement calling for the immediate release of all Bahá'í prisoners. [Global Affairs Canada Joint Statement on the Bahá'ís in Yemen; BWNS1285]
  • Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Court cases; Human rights; BWNS
    2018 9 Sep Ētahi Karakia Bahá'í (Book of Bahá'í Prayers) was launched at the Pūrekireki Marae in Pirongia to coincide with the beginning of Māori Language Week. For Dr. Tom Roa, professor of Maori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato, it was the fourth significant translation of canonical Bahá'í texts he and his team have undertaken. This endeavour came amid broader efforts to revive the Maori language. Dr. Roa, who has been at the forefront of these efforts, said that Maori speakers were a declining share of New Zealand’s population. Maori people made up only 15 percent of the population, and only a fifth of them can have a conversation in Maori, he noted.
  • Providing access to prayers in Maori was a key motivation for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of New Zealand when it undertook the process in 2004. A small team of Bahá'ís worked with Dr. Roa, who had translated other spiritual texts into the Maori language, including the Bible and the Quran. The 14-year translation project began first with The Hidden Words, Bahá’u’lláh’s preeminent ethical work, and then Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, an introduction to the Faith.
  • Bahá'í writings have been translated into some 800 languages to this date. [BWNS1287; Raglan23 18SEP2018]
  • Pirongia; New Zealand Etahi Karakia Bahai; Maoris; Translation; Dr Tom Roa; Z****
    2018 22 Jul The dedication of the second local Bahá'í House of Worship in the world in Norte del Cauca, Colombia. (For information on the first local Mashriqu’l-Adhkár see here.) The event marked the opening of a month-long inauguration period. In a series of weekly visits to the Temple, 1,500 people were expected to participate in a special program called “My First Visit to the Bahá'í House of Worship.”
  • In the Ridván Message of 2012 the Universal House of Justice announced that national Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs would to be raised up in two countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea and that the first local Houses of Worship were to be built in Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu. This was the second of those local Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs to have been completed. [Ridván 2012 Message]
  • See the message from the Universal House of Justice dated 1 August, 2014 where they pointed out the "the dynamic interaction between worship and endeavours to uplift the spiritual, social, and material conditions of society" and recalled the construction of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs in Turkistan and in America.
  • The local Bahá'í House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia, included a budding native forest, called the Bosque Nativo, that aimed to restore the region's indigenous plants. This video in Spanish describes the Bosque Nativo's features.
  • The Universal House of Justice was represented by Mrs. Carmen Elisa de Sadeghian who read a letter addressed to the attendees. “This House of Worship stands now as a symbol of the beauty inherent in the noble people of this region and its design evokes the generosity of their land,” stated the letter, dated 22 July 2018. Also in attendance were Mr. Gustavo Correa and Dr. Farzam Arbab, two former members of the Universal House of Justice, as well as the mayors of four neighbouring towns. [BWNS1275]
  • A musical group sang and dancers performed a piece titled “The Soul of Norte del Cauca,” about the arrival of the Bahá'í Faith to the region and how Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings are given expression in the hopes and aspirations of the people. The group also performed a song called "La Cumbia del Jardinero" which was made available on SoundCloud.
  • See photo of the Greatest Name.

    Specifics

        Location: Aqua Azul, Notre del Cauca, Columbia
        Property acquired:December, 2013
        Design unveiled: 13 September, 2014
        Groundbreaking: 22 May, 2016
        Construction Period: January 2017 to July 2018
        Site Dedication: 22 July, 2018
        Architect:Mr. Gutierrez Chacón
        Architectural firm:CUNA Engineering and Sustainable Architecture
        Seating:
        Dimensions:The Temple is 18 metres tall. Inside height is 15 metres.
        Cost:
        Dependencies:
        References: BWNS1020; BWNS1047; BWNS1109; BWNS1153; BWNS1168; BWNS1222; BWNS1240; BWNS1249; BWNS1268, BWNS1277.
  • Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Columbia Gutierrez Chacon; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; BWNS; Dedications; Quick facts; - Basic timeline, Expanded first...the dynamic interaction between worship and endeavours to uplift the spiritual, social, and material conditions of society
    2018 8 Jul The opening of the play about Tahirih called Daughter of the Sun to an audience of 450 people at the Azerbaijan State Academic National Drama. The dramatic presentation was produced by journalist Kamale Selim Muslimgizi and came at a time when the life of Tahirih was gaining renewed attention and interest in Azerbaijani society due, in part because a book on Tahirih’s life and works that were translated and published in 2016 which catalyzed a growing interest among the people of Azerbaijan about the life of this iconic champion of women’s emancipation.
  • Tahirih wrote in Persian, Arabic, and Azeri, a widely spoken language in Qazvin and the surrounding region. Azeri is also the main language of Azerbaijan. Tahirih has long attracted interest among scholars. Western Orientalists of the 19th century wrote of her influence on literature and gender equality. In recent years, there have been numerous academic articles and books about her as well as translations of three volumes of her poetry into English.
  • The play continued its run in Baku and in the following months on stage in other cities across the country. [BWNS1276; 30 April, 1960]
  • Baku; Azerbaijan Tahirih; Plays; Arts; Kamale Selim Muslimgizi; BWNS; Z****
    2018 22 Jun Following the recitation of prayers, the carved teak Greatest Name symbol was raised 15 meters to be placed at the inner apex of the dome inside the local Bahá'í House of Worship in Agua Azul, Colombia. This marked the near-completion of the world’s second local House of Worship. [BWNS1268] Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Columbia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; BWNS
    2018 9 May The premiere of the film The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith in Los Angeles. The first ever documentary about the origins of the Bahá’í Faith. On May 23rd, Bahá’í communities in multiple locations showed the film as part of their Holy Day observance. The film was directed by Bob Hercules, written by Ed Price, and the producers were Steve Sarowitz, Ed Price and Adam Mondschein. [Film Website] Los Angeles; United States Bab, Life of; Babi history; Documentaries; Film; The Gate: Dawn of the Bahai Faith (film); Bob Hercules The first documentary about the origins of the Bahá’í Faith.
    2018 (post International Bahá'í Convention) Some 80 members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors met for a conference at the Bahá'í World Centre following the 12th International Bahá'í Convention. On that occasion, the Counsellors were able to reflect on major developments in Bahá'í communities around the world. In order to share their experiences some of their stories were recorded and made available via podcasts. The Counsellors discussed the impact of spiritual and moral education programs offered by the Bahá'í community on youth and the communities in which they live, drawing on experiences in Cambodia, Kiribati, India, Norway, Spain, and Timor Leste (or East Timor). [BWNS1264]
  • Counsellors in Africa, Alain Pierre Djoulde, Clément Thyrrell Feizouré, Maina Mkandawire, and Judicaël Mokolédiscuss discussed endeavours in the field of education in that continent. [BWNS1269]
  • The podcasts can be found here or on SoundCloud.
  • BWC; Cambodia; Kiribati; India; Norway; Spain; Timor Leste (East Timor) Counsellors; Conferences, Counsellors; - Institute process; Youth; Podcasts; Education; Conventions, International; BWNS
    2018 30 Apr The announcement of the election of the 12th Universal House of Justice. Those elected were Paul Lample, Chuungu Malitonga, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, Stephen Hall, Ayman Rouhani, Stephen Birkland, Juan Francisco Mora, and Praveen Mallik. [BWNS1258]
  • The Twelfth International Bahá'í Convention was held from the 29th of April until the 2nd of May. In the election of the Universal House of Justice over 1,300 ballots were cast by representatives of 160 national communities. [BWNS1256, BWNS1257, BWNS1259, BWNS1261]
  • See Vimeo for a short film of the International Convention by Farideh Baki-Nasseri.
  • The film A Widening Embrace was screened at the Convention, enriching the consultations of the delegates. It is a documentary film about the community-building efforts of the Bahá'íworld. Many of the themes discussed over the days of the Convention were highlighted in the practical examples presented in the documentary which tells the story of the transformation of communities unfolding throughout the world by featuring the process in 24 communities representing different realities and contexts. The 77-minute film, which was commissioned by the Universal House of Justice, was made available in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, and Persian. [BWNS1260] .
  • BWC; Haifa Paul Lample; Chuungu Malitonga; Payman Mohajer; Shahriar Razavi; Stephen Hall; Ayman Rouhani; Stephen Birkland; Juan Francisco Mora; Praveen Mallik; Universal House of Justice, Election of; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Conventions, International; BWNS; Widening Embrace, A (film); Documentaries; - Institute process; Social action; Social and economic development; Farideh Baki-Nasseri
    2018-04-27 The publication of the booklet entitled For the Betterment of the World by the Office of Social and Economic Development to be made available to the more than 1,300 delegates at the International Bahá'í Convention. As with the editions published in 2003 and 2008, it provided an illustration of the Bahá'í community’s ongoing process of learning and action in the field of social and economic development. [BWNS1255] BWC - Institute process; Social and economic development; Social action; For the Betterment of the World (document); - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2018 23 Apr Afif Naeimi, the seventh and last imprisoned member of the Yaran, returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison (also known as Gohardasht Prison) near Tehran at the end of his medical leave despite suffering from life-threatening ailments.
  • On May 1 the judiciary’s medical experts had ruled that the 57-year-old was too ill to be incarcerated.
  • Naeimi, who had completed his 10-year prison sentence, should have been released by that time but the judiciary extended his term by more than nine months—the period he was out of prison on furlough receiving medical treatment. He had hypertrophy, a condition where the heart muscle thickens and he was afflicted with Syncope disease, which causes temporary losses of consciousness. [Iran Press Watch 18975; Iran Press Watch 18975]
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Rajaei Shahr Prison; Prisons; Persecution, Iran
    2018 22 Apr The announcement of the retirement of Universal House of Justice members Mr. Gustavo Correa, 70, and Dr. Firaydoun Javaheri, 72. Mr. Correa was from Colombia. He was elected to the House of Justice in 2008. Dr. Javaheri was born in Iran and spent much of his life in Africa—first in The Gambia and subsequently in Zambia. He was elected to the Universal House of Justice in 2003. [BWNS1253] BWC Gustavo Correa; Firaydoun Javaheri; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Retirements; BWNS
    2018 15 Apr The design for the local Bahá'í House of Worship was unveiled at a gathering in Matunda Soy, Kenya attended by about 1,000 people. The temple will accommodate about 250 people and the design incorporated the diamond-shaped pattern, a motif commonly found in Kenyan culture. It will be built of construction materials found locally; the roof will be made of local state and the walls from from stone quarried nearby. The Temple’s architect, Neda Samimi, was the first female architect for a Bahá'í House of Worship. [BWNS1251]
  • Concept Drawing.
  • Matunda; Matunda Soy; Kenya Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Architecture; Architects; Women; Firsts, Other; BWNS first woman to design a Bahá'í House of Worship
    2018 12 Apr The premiere of the documentary film, An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition in a television broadcast on station WBGH, channel 2 in Boston, MA. [Trailer]
  • From the film website...."The primary purpose of the documentary project, An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition, is to impact the public discourse on race. To move the discourse from the “blame/grievance/rejection” cycle to a view from a different lens, the lens of “amity/collaboration/access and equity.”
  • Boston; Massachusetts; United States Race (general); Unity; Race Amity; Race unity; Racism; Documentaries
    2018 4 Apr A major milestone in the construction of the local Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Agua Azul was reached. The crown on the topmost part of the roof was installed. [BWNS1020, BWNS1109, BWNS1168, BWNS1109, BWNS1248, BWNS1249] Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Columbia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; BWNS
    2018 1 Apr The launch of a fierce campaign of hatred against members of the Bahá'í Faith, as well as other against peaceful religious minorities was proclaimed by Houthi activist Ahmad Ayed Ahmed in a public Tweet. The campaign coincided with the threats made by the leader of Ansaruallah, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, against the Bahá'ís, Ahmadis, Christians and a number of Islamic sects during his Friday speech on the occasion of Rajab Friday. This marked a clear call for a sectarian war against minorities and specifically the Bahá'í’s and parallelled the already ongoing systematic attack against Bahá'ís including arbitrary arrests, persecution, and torture. This indicated a new stage in Houthi persecution, until this time they had exercised a degree of “political dissimulation” to conceal their direct involvement, however, since al-Houthi’s public speech, Houthis were openly spearheading as well as escalating the systematic persecution of Bahá'ís. [Iran Press Watch 1 April, 2018] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
    2018 23 Mar Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi, the Secretary-General of Yemen’s Shia political party Ansar Allah, accused the Bahá'ís of seeking to create disunity among Muslims. In a televised speech broadcast to a wide audience within and outside of Yemen, he vehemently vilified and denounced the Bahá'í Faith, further intensifying the ongoing persecution of theBahá'ís in that country. It was reported that the Houthis had also launched a social media campaign against Bahá'ís. "The Yemeni Initiative for Defending Bahá'í Rights", a human rights organization, said in a Facebook post that Al-Houthi’s incitement coincided with incitements against Ahmadis, Christians, intellectuals, scientists, and activists, as well as “a number of Islamic doctrines.” [Conatus News 28 March, 2018] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi,
    2018 21 Mar The design for the national Bahá'í House of Worship of Papua New Guinea (PNG) was unveiled.
  • Originally from New Zealand, Rodney Hancock—one of two individuals who brought the Bahá'í Faith to PNG in the 1950s—was asked to unveil the temple design before the audience of over 300 visitors.
  • The architectural team—composed of indigenous architect from PNG Henry Lape and Saeed Granfar—also addressed the audience. They explained that the “search for a universal theme” for the temple was “a profound challenge in a country with more than 700 distinct cultural groups.
  • The central edifice of the House of Worship will have a seating capacity of 350. [BWNS1246, EMTV.com 3 April, 2018]
  • Concept photo. iiiii
  • Port Moresby; Papua New Guinea Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Port Moresby; Architecture; Architects; Rodney Hancock; Henry Lape; Saeed Granfar; BWNS
    2018 19 Mar The release of Mr. Vahid Tizfahm from the Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj after having completed his 10-year sentence. He was the sixth of the seven Bahá'í leaders to be released from prison.
  • At this time the 10 year term of the remaining prisoner, Mr Afif Naeimi, had two months yet to serve. Due to a serious illness he was released to the custody of his family while receiving medical treatment under the proviso that he would return to prison when deemed medically fit. [BWNS1245, Iran Press Watch, 29 March, 2018, Iran Press Watch 30 March, 2018]
  • For his personal history see Iran Watch 11557.
  • According to BIC, there were 97 Bahá'ís in prison as of 1 March. [Middle East Eye Tuesday 20 March 2018 12:39 UTC]
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; Human rights; Court cases; BWNS
    2018 16 Mar Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, at 85 the oldest member of the Yaran to be imprisoned, was released after serving his 10-year sentence. [BWNS1244] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Court cases; BWNS
    2018 15 Mar The Bahá'í cemetery in the city of Kerman was sealed by order of the Kerman judicial authorities and the burial of deceased Bahá'ís was prevented. [Iran Press Watch 19720] Kerman; Iran Persecution, denial of burial; Z****
    2018 12 Mar The Bahá'í International Community in New York released the statement "Beyond Mere Economics: A Moral Inquiry into the Roots of Empowerment" to the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (12 to 23 March 2018). [BWNS1243] New York; United States Bahai International Community; BIC statements; Publications; Women; Empowerment; Economics; United Nations; BWNS
    2018 22 Feb A progress report on the construction of the Mashriqul-Adhkar in Norte del Cauca was made. The main structural components of the central building had been completed and work had begun on the finishing of the floor and the walls as well as the placement of the roof tiles. Construction had begun in a number of auxiliary buildings. [BWNS1240] Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Columbia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local
    2018 2 Feb Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, a former member of the Yaran, was transferred from Evin Prison to a hospital as per directions of the prison doctor after experiencing heart issues. He underwent surgery and, after spending a few days in the ICU, was transferred back to prison. Mr. Khanjani suffered from old age and multiple ailments. He had been in prison since May 18, 2008. Throughout his 10-year term he had not been allowed a single day of leave. Security and Judicial authorities did not even allow him to attend his wife’s funeral. His sentence was completed on March 22. [Iran Press Watch 18815] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Court cases
    2018 18 Feb In an open letter, twenty-five prominent international lawyers and human right activists appealed to Mohammad Javad Larijani, the Secretary-General of the High Council for Human Rights in Iran, to take steps to end the persecution of the Bahá'ís in Iran. In the letter they made reference to the new website, "Archives of the Bahá'í Persecution in Iran", stating that it “vividly demonstrates the depth and breadth of unjust, relentless, and systematic oppression against a religious minority”. [BICNews10Feb2018] Iran; Worldwide Human Rights; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Open letters; Websites; Publications
    2018 16 Feb The release of Saeid Rezaie, one of the seven members of the Yaran, the former leadership group of the Bahá'ís in Iran after completing his 10-year sentence. He was the fourth person from among the Yaran to be released. [BWNS1238] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Court cases; BWNS
    2018 Feb Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), an NGO working to promote the right to freedom of religion or belief of all and raising awareness about the persecution of Christians and other religious groups around the world, published a shocking report that revealed the influence of religious persecution on religious minority children. In its Faith and a Future report, CSW focused on the situation of religious minority children in educational settings in Burma, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan. The report scrutinized three common acts of persecution in the educational setting specifically bias, discrimination and abuse.
  • In Iran, bias can be seen across various educational materials in the country. School textbooks were focused on the Shi’a Muslim perspective and were silent on any other religions. This had an adverse effect on religious minorities. Children belonging to the Bahá'í religion were denied access to schools and often access to higher education. Bahá'í children that were lucky to be enrolled in schools were not free to learn or partake in their religious belief. According to the CSW report, a memorandum from the Iran government stated that Bahá'í children ‘should be enrolled in schools which have a strong and imposing religious [Shi’a] ideology.’ The situation for children partaking in higher education is no better. According to Article 3 of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council’s student qualification regulations (1991), students were to be expelled if they were found to be Bahá'í. Only Muslim or students belonging to recognized religions were allowed to take the national enrolment exam. The report further alleged that some Bahá'í children had been subjected to physical abuse at schools. [Iran Press Watch 18838]
  • Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Human rights; Persecution, Education; Persecution, Education; Persecution; Human rights; Faith and a Future (CSW)
    2018 25 Jan The announcement of the opening of an educational centre at the Bahá'í Lotus Temple. The educational facility, which can accommodate hundreds, will be used to host camps, courses, and seminars for youth and young adults who are involved in efforts to improve their communities. With the opening of the new educational facility, many more will be able to attend these programs than was previously possible.
  • Shaheen Javid, General Manager of the House of Worship reported that the Temple, which opened in 1986, received 10,000–15,000 visitors on weekdays and over 35,000 on weekends. [BWNS1234]
  • New Delhi; India Shaheen Javid; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Delhi; Lotus temple; BWNS; Statistics; Youth
    2018 18 Jan In response to growing interest in the persecution of the Bahá’ís of Iran, a website was launched by the Bahá’í International Community providing a glimpse into several decades of discriminatory treatment against the Bahá’ís in that country. The website, named Archives of Bahá’í Persecution in Iran, made available, for the first time, thousands of official documents, reports, testimonials, and audio-visual material, revealing documentary evidence of years of relentless oppression. BWC; Iran Websites; Internet; Archives; Publications; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Bahai International Community
    2018 2 Jan The Specialized Criminal Court of the Houthi militia in Yemen sentenced 52 year-old detainee Hammed bin Haidara to death on the basis of his Bahá'í beliefs, allegedly for collaborating with Israel and forging official documents. His execution was to be a public event. He had been tortured and ill-treated in custody since being incarcerated in December of 2013. The judgment issued by the Houthi-controlled Criminal Court in Sana'a also confiscated the funds of Hammed bin Haidara and shut all Bahá'í centres in the country. The persecution of Bahá'ís in the area controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia reflected the pattern of persecution in Iran.
  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimated that the number of Bahá'ís in Yemen was about 2,000 people in several Yemeni provinces. [Al Arabiya English 3 January, 2018, BIC 5 January, 2018, Amnesty International 28 April, 2017, Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page]
  • "The Yemini Initiative for Defending Bahá'í Rights", a activist group launched in April of 2017, gained tens of thousands of followers. Prominent media groups in the Arab world have publicized the case. In addition to Mr bin Haidara there were six other Bahá'ís in prison in Sana'a. [BWNS1232]
  • Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Court cases; Human rights; BWNS
    2018 Jan Southern Yemeni separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates seized control of Aden. Aden; Yemen Yemen, Recent history
    2017 17 Dec The announcement by the Universal House of Justice of the passing of former House member Mr. Hartmut Grossmann.

    "...he poured out his life in uninterrupted service to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, as a teacher, pioneer, and member of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Germany (1963-1969) and Finland (1977-1980), the Continental Board of Counsellors in Europe, (1980-1988) the International Teaching Centre (1988-2003) and, ultimately, of the Universal House of Justice (2003-2008)." [BWNS1228]

  • He was the son of Hand of the Cause of God Hermann Grossmann (1899-1968). He was predeceased by his wife Ursula. [BWNS622; Bahá'í Chronicles]
  • Germany Hartmut Grossmann; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2017 5 Dec The release of Behrooz Tavakkoli, 66, from prison after serving a 10-year term. He was the third member of the Yaran to be released. [Iran Press Watch18533; Iran Press Watch18536; BWNS1225]
  • See Iran Press Watch February 1, 2009 for an interview with his son, Naeim.
  • See Iran Press Watch February 5th, 2009 for an article that appeared in McLean's Magazine two days earlier.
  • See Iran Press Watch 1387 for the text of a talk given by his son Naeim about his father's imprisonment on February 18, 2009 in Ottawa.
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Court cases; BWNS
    2017 3 Dec Ali Abdullah Saleh, the ousted strongman who once governed Yemen and then conspired with Iranian-backed rebels to claw his way back to power, was killed after a bomb blew up his family’s compound in the capital, Sana'a. After fighting along side the Iran-backed Houthis for two years it appeared that he had switched sides to join the Saudi-led coalition. [New York Times headline Monday, December 4, 2017 10:10 AM EST] Sanaa; Yemen Yemen, Recent history
    2017 1 Dec The International Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh announced the appointment of the new Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh to serve in Canada, Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Those appointed to the three-year term were: Mr. Bahram Gustaspi, Mr. John MacLeod, Mr. Bruce Moore, Mrs. Donna Seyed Mahmoud and Dr. Faran Vafaie. The primary function of a Board of Trustees is to educate the friends on the spiritual significance of the mighty law of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, enabling them to better appreciate that obedience to this law is “bound to attract divine confirmations, heavenly blessings and incalculable favours, and to promote the manifold interests of the International Bahá’í Community”. [Letter from the NSA to the Bahá'ís of Canada 7 December 2017]
  • Photo.
  • Canada; Saint Pierre and Miquelon Huququllah, Trustees of
    2017 30 Nov Bahá'ís celebrated the bicentennial of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh in a ceremony in Baghdad attended by representatives from the Iraqi parliament, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, civil society as well as media activists.
  • This was considered the most prominent ceremony where Bahá'ís officially announced themselves for the first time in 47 years, as the Baathist Revolutionary Command Council issued Decree No. 105 in 1970 to ban Bahá'í activities. As a consequence, Bahá'í administrative institutions in Iraq were dissolved and any activity where Bahá'ís declared their religious identity was punishable by imprisonment.
  • During the proceedings they asked for support to rescind the law on prohibiting Bahá'í activity, which was still in effect despite the fact that the law contradicted the 2005 constitution, which guaranteed freedom of belief to all citizens.
  • Millions of Bahá'ís around the world celebrated the honorary bicentennial of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh on Oct. 21-22. Bahá'ís in Baghdad celebrated after one month of postponements given the security difficulties and challenges surrounding the ceremony. [Al-Monitor.com]
  • Baghdad; Iraq Bahaullah, Birth of; Twin Holy days; Holy days; Centenaries; Websites; Persecution, Iraq; Persecution, Bans; Persecution
    2017 17 Nov A committee of the United Nations General Assembly condemned Iran by a vote of 83 to 30 with 68 abstentions for its continuing violations of human rights, the 30th such resolution since 1985.
  • The Third Committee of the General Assembly approved a five-page resolution expressing concern over illegal practices ranging from torture, poor prison conditions, arbitrary detention, and curbs on freedom of religion or belief, to state-endorsed discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities as well as women.
  • The resolution expressed specific concern over Iran’s treatment of members of the Bahá'í Faith and highlighted the economic and educational discrimination against them and called on Iran to release the more than 90 Bahá'ís who were unjustly held in Iranian prisons.
  • The resolution followed a strongly worded document from the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir. Her 23-page report, released earlier this session, she catalogued a broad range of rights violations by Iran. [BWNS1221]
  • New York; United States United Nations; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2017 15 Nov Progress report on the construction of the local Bahá'í House of Worship in Norte del Cauca. [BWNS1222]
    • See BWNS1047 for information on the reforestation project in the vicinity of the Temple.
    Norte del Cauca; Colombia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Environment; BWNS
    2017 6 Nov - 22 Jan An exhibition of Bahá'u'lláh’s writings opened at the John Addis Gallery in the British Museum.
  • One of the central themes was the power of the Word, which refers to divine revelation, a concept fundamental to the origins of all the world’s great faiths. The exhibition showed original handwriting of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as other archival items associated with His life such as His reed pens and examples of "revelation writing" by His scribe as he tried keep up with Bahá'u'lláh's dictation.
  • The exhibition, timed to commemorate the period of celebration of the 200th anniversary of His birth, was open to the public until the 22nd of January. [BWNS1220]
  • See the British Museum blog entitled Displaying the Bahá'í Faith: the pen is mightier than the sword.
  • London; United Kingdom British Museum; Exhibitions of Bahai manuscripts and relics; Relics; Bahaullah, Writings of; Exhibitions; Reed pens; Reed (general); Calligraphy; Revelation writing; Mirza Aqa Jan; Tajalliyat (Effulgences); Kalimat-i-Maknunih (Hidden Words); Bahaullah, Pen portraits of; Portraits; Edward Granville Browne; Gifts
    2017 4 Nov Three young Iranians who complained to state officials after being denied university entrance for being followers of the Bahá'í Faith have each been sentenced to five years in prison. Rouhieh Safajoo (21), Sarmad Shadabi (22), and Tara Houshmand (21) were convicted of the charges of “membership in the anti-state Bahá'í cult” and “publishing falsehoods.” [IFMAT 14NOV17] Tihran; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution
    2017 near the end of Oct Fariba Kamalabadi, a member of the former leadership group of the Bahá'ís called the "Yaran", concluded her ten-year prison sentence. She was the second individual from among the former Yaran to be released. She, along with five others, were arrested on the 14th of May, 2008.
  • Mrs. Kamalabadi had graduated from high school with honours but was barred from attending university because of her Faith. In her mid-30s, she embarked on an eight-year period of informal study and ultimately received an advanced degree in developmental psychology from the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), an alternative institution established by the Bahá’í community of Iran to provide higher education for its young people. She worked as a developmental psychologist before her arrest and imprisonment. She was married with three children. Along with the deprivations of imprisonment itself (she had spent 2 1/2 years of the 10-year sentence in solitary confinement), Mrs. Kamalabadi was also deprived of irreplaceable family moments, including the birth of her first grandchild and the weddings of her daughters. She was 55 years old upon her release. [BWNS1217]
  • See Huffington Post for an article entitled "Iran’s Bahá'í Problem" by Payam Akhavan about the visit of Ms. Faezeh Hashemi, the well-known daughter of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who made a visit to her home while she was on leave from prison.
  • Ms Hashemi, herself a former MP, was heavily criticized after she met with Ms Kamalabadi while the latter was on leave from prision. See the article in The Guardian for details.
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, BIHE; Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Persecution, Education; Court cases; BWNS
    2017 22 Oct Yemeni security forces raided a Bahá'í gathering in Sana’a opening fire on the small group of people assembled to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh. The attack occurred in the family home of prominent tribal leader Walid Ayyash, who had been abducted in April and whose whereabouts were unknown. The attackers were reportedly in four cars and an armored vehicle which they used to break down the front door of the house. They arrested Mr. Ayyash’s brother, Akram Ayyash.
  • This event proved unequivocally the extent of Iran’s role in the persecution of the Bahá'ís in Yemen, especially in Sana’a, which was under the control of Iranian-backed militias. Similar attacks occurred in Iran during the period of celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Bahá'úlláh. [BWNS1215]
  • Sanaa; Yemen; Iran Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Bahaullah, Birth of; BWNS; Walid Ayyash
    2017 22 Oct The bicentenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh was commemorated around the world. A multi-lingual web page was implemented to track the celebrations. [BWNS1212] BWC Bahaullah, Birth of; Twin Holy days; Holy days; Bahaullah, Life of; Centenaries; BWNS
    2017 20 - 22 Oct Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh

    From the time of the setting of the sun on October 21st in Kiribati, an island republic in the Central Pacific just west of the International Date Line, until sunset in Hawaii on the 22nd of October, 72 hours later, celebrations were held in thousands of localities throughout the world commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh.

    Coverage on the bicentenary website began soon after 8:00 GMT on 20 October and concluded at 4:00 GMT on 23 October documenting some of the thousands of celebrations. [BWNS1201, BWNS1203, BWNS1205, BWNS1206, BWNS1207, BWNS1208, BWNS1209, BWNS1210, BWNS1211, BWNS1221, BWNS1213, BWNS1214, BWNS1216, BWNS1218]

  • A number of countries issue commemorative stamps to mark the occasion of the bicentenary of Bahá'u'lláh's birth.
  • Worldwide Bahaullah, Birth of; Twin Holy days; Holy days; Centenaries; Websites; Internet; Publications; Stamps; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2017 18 - 22 Oct The Iranian Bahá'í community was targeted during the bicentenary period. Between 18 and 21 October, some 19 individuals were arrested in Kermanshah, Tehran, and Birjand, and the homes 25 Baha’is were raided. Twenty-six Bahá'í-owned shops around the country were sealed off by authorities because the owners observed the Holy Day on 21 October. These closures occurred in Shiraz, Marvdasht, Gorgan, and Gonbad. [BWNS1215] Iran; Kermanshah; Tihran; Birjand; Shiraz; Marvdasht; Gorgan; Gonbad Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Bahaullah, Birth of; BWNS
    2017 18 Oct The release of the film "Light to the World". The 51 minute film recounted the story of Bahá’u’lláh’s remarkable life and the impact of His teachings on communities around the world. [BWNS1208] BWC Light to the World (film); Film; Documentaries; Bahaullah, Life of; - Institute process; BWNS; * Basics; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2017 Sep Arrests of Bahá'ís in Yemen drew international censure which led to a United Nations resolution, titled “Human Rights, Technical Assistance and Capacity-building in Yemen”. It was introduced by Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group and supported by the entire UN Human Rights Council—calling for the immediate release of all Bahá'í detainees. The Council was the principal human rights body at the UN and was composed of 47 members who are elected by the General Assembly based on equitable geographic distribution.
  • At the time of the resolution there were seven Bahá'ís in prison in Yemen, most of whom are held in undisclosed locations and one of which has been detained for nearly four years due to repeatedly postponement court-hearings. Arrest warrants had been issued for over a dozen others, while a number of families had been forced to leave their homes. Developments in Yemen indicated that the authorities’ prosecution of individuals had broadened in scope to be against the Bahá'í community in general and that efforts were being made to turn public opinion against all of the Bahá'ís under the premise that they are secretly plotting to stir unrest in Yemen.
  • The resolution established a Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts tasked with monitoring and reporting on the situation on human rights in Yemen. It was also mandated to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights in the country. [BIC News 3 October 2017, UN Human Rights Council – 36th Session, Agenda Item 10]
  • Geneva; Switzerland; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; United Nations; Human Rights
    2017 28 Sep The Universal House of Justice announced that a section of the Bahai.org website, created in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Persian, had been activated. This portal will be used to share news of the commemoration of the Twin Holy Days throughout the world.
  • Included on that portal was the Message from the Universal House of Justice date October 2017 regarding the celebration of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh.
  • BWC Websites; Internet; Twin Holy days; Holy days; Publications; Translation
    2017 19 Sep Mahvash Sabet, one of the seven members of the former leadership group of the Bahá'ís in Iran known as the Yaran, was released after 10 years of confinement in Iran's notorious Evin and Raja'i Shahr prisons.
  • She had been arrested in March 2008 and was now 64 years old. Mrs. Sabet distinguished herself by the loving care and kindness she extended to her fellow prisoners. As has occurred with prisoners of conscience, writers, thought-leaders, and poets who have been wrongly imprisoned throughout history, the power of Mrs. Sabet's ideas and beliefs was only amplified by her persecution. The plight of its author attracted attention to this deeply moving collection of poetry, inspiring PEN International to feature Mrs. Sabet in a campaign to defend persecuted writers. Her poems also inspired a musical composition by award-winning composer Lasse Thoresen, performed at an international music festival in Oslo earlier this year. [BWNS1198]
  • See Prison Poems.
  • See CNN article Writing to survive: Bahá'í woman's poetry was her best friend in Iranian jail.
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Court cases; Human rights; Evin prison; Rajai Shahr prison; Prisons; Poetry; Music; Lasse Thoresen; BWNS
    2017 1 - 2 Sep The opening of Cambodia’s first “Local House of Worship” in Battambang, just over two years after the design of the building was unveiled in July 2015.
  • The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar was designed by Phnom Penh-based architect Tang Sochet Vitou. It is situated on a 9 hectare property of which 1.5 hectares is used for the temple, an administrative building as well as gardens and ponds. The temple is a frequent topic of conversation among the local population. Even before its completion, it had galvanized action towards the betterment of the community and brought neighbours together. it will help provide for the spiritual needs of Cambodia’s growing Bahá'í community which, according to the Ministry of Cult and Religion’s most recent annual report, numbers about 12,000 although some adherents say the figure may now be closer to 20,000. Bahá'í communities were first recorded in the kingdom in the 1920s and since 1992 they have grown steadily with the help of aid workers and Asian immigrants.
  • In a letter dated 18 December 2014, the Universal House of Justice explained that a Bahá'í House of Worship is a “collective centre of society to promote cordial affection” and “stands as a universal place of worship open to all the inhabitants of a locality irrespective of their religious affiliation, background, ethnicity, or gender and a haven for the deepest contemplation on spiritual reality and foundational questions of life, including individual and collective responsibility for the betterment of society.”
  • The dedication was marked by a two-day conference bringing together over 2,500 people from Battambang and every other region of Cambodia. A number of Cambodian dignitaries attended along with representatives of other Bahá'í communities in Southeast Asia. The Universal House of Justice was represented by Ms. Sokuntheary Reth who served on the Continental Board of Counsellors in Asia.
  • See the letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated 1 September, 2017, for the message to the gathered friends.

    Specifics

  • Battambang; Cambodia Tang Sochet Vitou; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Architects; Firsts, Other; Gardens; BWNS first Local Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in the world.
    2017 25 Aug The announcement of the opening of the new Pilgrim Reception Centre.
  • The three-story stone structure, which is located immediately to the west of the Shrine of the Bab, was opened in time to receive the season’s first pilgrim group in October, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh. [BWNS1188]
  • BWC; Haifa Pilgrimage; Pilgrim Reception Centre; Pilgrim Houses; BWNS; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre; Pilgrims
    2017 1 Aug The release of the film The Cost of Discrimination by Arash Azizi and Maziar Bahari which compared the social costs of discrimination in present day Iran to South Africa under the apartheid regime where, like in Iran, the Dutch Reform Church used their Holy Texts to justify the suppressive measures taken against people of "non-European" origin. South Africa; Iran Film; Documentaries; Cost of Discrimination; Arash Azizi; Maziar Bahari; Discrimination; Christianity; Islam; Persecution, Iran; Persecution
    2017 Jul The men who admitted to stabbing and killing Farhang Amiri, a 63-year-old father of four children, in September 2016 in Yazd on the street outside his home in public view were sentenced by a court in Yazd.
  • The two brothers immediately admitted to have been motivated by religious hatred. The older brother was sentenced to just 11 years in prison and two years away from home. The court justified the sentence by stating that according to the Islamic penal code, the accused and the victim are not equal for the general purpose of retributive justice. This astonishing provision clearly and deliberately deprives non-Muslims of the legal right to seek justice on equal-footing with the country's Muslim majority.
  • The younger man was sentenced to half of his brother’s sentence for aiding in the murder. [BWNS1182]
  • Yazd; Iran Farhang Amiri; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution, Court cases; Court cases; Human rights; BWNS
    2017 18 Jun The plan for the design of the Local Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Tanna, Vanuatu was announced. Ashkan Mostaghim of Mostaghim & Associates, a firm from Sydney, Australia, was chosen as the Temple’s architect. His design was on the shortlist for the Continental Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Santiago. [BWNS1175]
  • No less than a hundred design ideas had been offered for the Temple. [Ridván Message, 2014]
  • Tanna; Vanuatu Mashriqul-Adhkar, Vanuatu; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Architecture; Architects; Ashkan Mostaghim; BWNS
    2017 Jun - Nov In Yemen an outbreak of cholera killed 2.100 and affected almost 900,000 others. Yemen Yemen, Recent history; cholera
    2017 15 May Hundreds of Yemenis gathered in front of the Criminal Prosecution building in the capital city of Sana'a. They were denouncing the arrest of Yemeni citizens of the Bahá'í faith and calling for their release. The demonstrations were not led by the usual human rights crew but by tribal leaders of some of the most influential tribes in the country, prominently that of the Bani Mattar.
  • What brought the tribes out was the arrest of Sheikh Walid Saleh Ayyash, who has the distinction of being both a prominent tribal figure and one of the 2,000 or so Yemenis who practice the Bahá'í faith. It was Ayyash’s faith that led to his arrest on April 19, as he was driving from the city of Ibb to the port of Hudaydah. Along with another Bahá'í who was in the car, Ayyash was arrested by Houthi forces and transferred to the Hudaydah prison. A statement by the tribal leaders called Ayash “a distinguished personality among the Arab tribes … well-known for his integrity and wisdom, for his love, loyalty and devotion to his country, for his tolerance and respect for the government and the law.”
  • The leaders had previously met with Khalid Al-Mawari, the Houthi government’s Chief of Special Criminal Prosecution. He had promised them that Ayyash would be transferred to Sana'a. When that failed to happen, they organized the demonstration. [TRACKPERSIA 25 Aug 2017]
  • Sana'a; Yemen Sheikh Walid Saleh Ayyash; Khalid Al-Mawari; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
    2017 12 May The Bahá'í International Community launched a global campaign calling for the immediate release of the seven Iranian Bahá'í leaders, unjustly imprisoned for nine years as of the 14th of May.
  • The theme of the campaign, “Not Another Year,” was intended to raise awareness about the seven women and men unjustly arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for their religious beliefs. This sentence was reduced to 10 years in 2015 after the overdue application of a new Iranian Penal Code. [BWNS1167]
    • The official video of the Bahá'í International Community to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of seven Iranian Bahá'í leaders - Not Another Year.
  • Iran Yaran; Court cases; Human rights; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; BWNS
    2017 5 May The film Changing the World, One Wall at a Time was premiered in Harlem on the 5th of May and in Los Angeles on the 5th of June. The film evolved from shorter videos that were posted from the "Education is not a Crime" campaign and was made by Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Maziar Baharie. [BWNS1173]
  • The film Changing the World, One Wall at a Time.
  • Harlem; New York; Los Angeles; California; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; Documentaries; Education is not a Crime; BWNS
    2017 30 Apr In his address to the Canadian National Convention on behalf of the Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh for Canada, Dr A-M Ghadirian stated that there were 1,115 Representatives and Deputy Trustees worldwide in 31 National and Regional Boards of Trustees. Toronto; Canada Huququllah; Huququllah, Trustees of
    2017 28 Apr Amnesty International sent a Joint Public Statement to the Huthi-Saleh authorities in Yemen calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Hamid Haydara. The document can be downloaded from the Amnesty International site. Yemen Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Amnesty International
    2017 25 Apr The formation of the human rights organization, "The Yemeni Initiative for Defending Bahá'í Rights". [Facebook page] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
    2017 19 Apr Houthi-Saleh political security officers arrested Walid Ayyash, Mahmood Humaid, and Badi'u'llah Sanai, all members of the Bahá'í community, at a checkpoint near the city border of Hudiedah. Sanai was released one week later, but was re-arrested in May. All three remain detained, their whereabouts unknown. [UN News Centre 22 May 2017]
  • In total over 25 Bahá'ís, including many prominent members of the Bahá'í community who assisted with organization of community affairs at the national level were arrested around the time. In October it was reported that eight Bahá'ís were still detained but the place of detention was not known. [BWNS1215]
  • Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; BWNS
    2017 3 Mar The publication of Toward Prosperity The Role of Women and Men in Building a Flourishing World Civilization, the Bahá’í International Community’s contribution to the 61st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017 as a follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”. [BIC Statements] New York; NY Toward Prosperity
    2017 23 Feb Plans for the construction of the local Bahá'í House of Worship in Agua Azul, a village in Norte del Cauca, Colombia, reached an important milestone. Construction officially began in January after building contracts were formalized with a local firm in the region. [BWNS1153]
  • Concurrent with the building the House of Worship has been the reinforcement of activities that contributed to the spiritual and material progress of communities in and around Norte del Cauca. Inspired by the Temple, these community-building activities multiplied, and a spirit of prayer, devotion, and participation begun to increasingly permeate the area.
  • Parallel to this, the community undertook a reforestation project, designated for a "Bosque Nativo" or native forest on an 11-hectare piece of land adjacent to the Temple site to reintroduce native vegetation which had been decimated by years of monoculture plantations of sugarcane.
  • For pictures see BWNS1153
  • For development report dated the 14th of May, 2017 see BWNS1168.
  • Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Colombia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; BWNS BWNS1047
    2017 15 Feb The Bahá'í International Community (BIC) announced the launch of a website for the Bahá'ís of Iran at Bahaisofiran.org. "Although the official website of the worldwide Bahá'í community had recently been made available in Persian and a number of other languages, the new "Baha'is of Iran" website was the first website of the Bahá'í community of Iran. This development was especially important at a time when a large volume of anti-Bahá'í propaganda had proliferated in that country. Since 2013 alone, more than 20,000 such pieces had been disseminated in Iran's media." [BWNS1152, The Baha'i Question Revisited]
  • Web sites for other national communities can be found at A Global Community.
  • Iran Websites; BWNS
    2017 18 Jan The announcement of the publication of Days of Remembrance: Selections from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh for Bahá'í Holy Days by the Bahá'í World Centre. It is also made available in electonic format from Bahá’í Reference Library at Days of Remembrance: Selections from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh for Baha'i Holy Days. [BWNS1148] BWC Days of Remembrance (book); Holy days; Bahaullah, Writings of; Publications; Translation; BWNS
    2017 Jan The publication of Training Institutes: Attaining a Higher Level of Functioning by the International Teaching Centre. BWC Training Institutes; - Institute process; Publications
    2016 27 Nov In Yemen, Nadim al-Sakkaf and his brother Nader, who were detained from August 10th, were unexpectedly released from prison in Sana'a. Their release, it was believed, was in no small part due to the relentless advocacy of their wives Ruhiyeh al-Sakkaf and Nafheh al-Sakkaf. Their friend Kaiwan Mohamed Ali Qadri, who was arrested in the same raid, remained in custody. [Religion News Service 20161129]
  • Photos of the four can be found on the same page.
  • Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
    2016 25 Nov In a message addressed to the Bahá'ís of the World on of the Day of the Covenant, the Universal House of Justice marked the beginning of a new five-year term of service for the Auxiliary Board Members and announced an augmentation in the number of members by 144 bringing the total to 1,134 members distributed evenly between the Propagation and the Protection Boards.
  • In the same message it announced plans for a series of conferences called by the International Teaching Centre where the Auxiliary Board Members would be assisted in the deepening of their understanding of the spiritual nature of their work and the wide-ranging responsibilities they will shoulder.
  • BWC Auxiliary Board Members and assistants; Statistics
    2016 24 Nov From her cell in Evin prison, In a open letter to her six-month old granddaughter, Bajar, Fariba Kamalabadi one of the members of the imprisoned Yaran of Iran, wrote about the suffering of the Bahá'í citizens and of her dreams for humanity. [Iran Press Watch 16140] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Evin Prison; Prisons; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
    2016 26 Oct The report from the offices of the Bahá'í International Community entitled The Bahá'í Question Revisited: Persecution and Resilience in Iran was formally released.
  • The full report can be read on-line here.
  • A list of resolutions by the United Nations and United Nations bodies that referenced the situation of Bahá'ís in Iran since 1980 can be found at this location.
  • An annex to The Bahá'í Question Revisited is the report called "Inciting Hatred". It is an analysis of approximately 400 anti-Bahá'í articles, broadcasts, and webpages from late December 2009 through May 2011 and can be found here.
  • A list of the 222 Bahá'ís who have been killed in Iran since 1978 can be read here.
  • Iran; New York; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; Bahai International Community; Human rights; United Nations
    2016 13 - 16 Oct The public dedication of the Mother Temple of South America in Santiago, Chile. The opening ceremonies were attended by over 5,000 people from 110 countries. Live video coverage of the public opening ceremony was provided on the Bahá'í World News Service website for approximately 90 minutes and the video recording has been made available at that website.
  • The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár (Dawning-Point of God’s Remembrance) is located outside of Santiago in Peñalolen, a commune whose name means "reunion of brothers" in the local language. [BWNS1128].
  • The temple was built in the foothills of the Andes, between mountains and city. The 2,415 square-metre edice (26,000-square-feet) is essentially one large room with nine doors made of bronze. The interior is surrounded by a dome that is made up of nine elements – called petals. These begin wide at the bottom of the building and then narrow upward to meet in a spiral at the top, separated by crescent-shaped windows and a round window at the top. The outer surfaces of these petals are made of 32-millimetre-thick panels of cast glass, which have a ruddy, milky quality to them; the inner surfaces are made of smooth Portuguese marble. Both layers are translucent.
  • Each of the nine wings of the building has two surfaces – one of cast glass and one of stone both of which rest on the steel structure. Each of those two surfaces has more than 1,000 separate components in more than 150 different shapes categorized as droops, slumps, bullnoses, shoulders, elbows, or spines. Each piece, which had to be crafted in three dimensions, was shaped using digital models. [BWNS1126]
  • Canadian architect, Siamak Hariri, began work on the $20-million project in 2003. [BWNS1127] The landscape architect was Juan Grimm, one of the most well-known landscapers of Latin America.
  • The Universal House of Justice was represented by Counsellor Antonella Demonte from the International Teaching Centre.
  • Message from the Universal House of Justice.
  • Pictures
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3

    Specifics

  • Santiago; Chile Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Siamak Hariri; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Awards; Architects; Juan Grimm; Counsellors; Marble; Gardens; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2016 11 Oct The final newsreel on the construction of the Bahá'í House of Worship for South America was released as the time for the highly-anticipated dedication of the Temple approached. The video highlighted major developments over the previous year and the growing connection of the community to the Temple and the activities of service and worship that it inspired. [Video; Architect Siamak Hariri] Santiago; Chile Siamak Hariri; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture
    2016 Oct An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a crowded funeral in Sana'a killing 140 mourners and injuring another 500. Sana'a; Yemen Yemen, Recent history
    2016 26 Sep The murder of Farhang Amiri in Yazd. [BWNS1133; Archives of Bahá'í Persecution in Iran]
  • See also Iran Wire4167.
  • In a message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís in Iran dated the 19th of October, 2016, it stated

    And at the age of sixty-three, that pure soul, that radiant and magnanimous soul, offered up his life in absolute meekness, hoisted the ensign of martyrdom and attained his Beloved's presence in the realms above, and in the Abha Kingdom joined the company of the other martyrs of this Faith--among whom number his own noble father and six other relatives who, sixty-one years ago in Hurmuzak, near Yazd, sacrificed their lives in the path of the Blessed Beauty.

  • At the time of the murder of his father, Farhang was 13 months old. See entry for July 28th, 1955 for details of The Seven Martyrs of Hurmuzak.
  • See a paper by Kamyar Behrang entitled "Extrajudicial killings supported by law and Islamic jurisprudence" for an explanation of how a Bahá'í might be murdered with near impunity in Iran.
  • Hurmuzak; Yazd; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; Farhang Amiri; BWNS
    2016 16 Sep For a progress report on the construction of the Local House of Worship in Battanbang, Cambodia see BWNS1120
  • See BWNS1120 for pictures.
  • Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; BWNS
    2016 6 Sep In a letter the BIC called on Iranian President Rouhani to end systematic economic oppression. The letter signed by Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Bahá'í International Community to the United Nations, drew attention to the stark contradiction between statements espoused by the Iranian government regarding economic justice, equality for all and reducing unemployment on one hand, and the unrelenting efforts to impoverish a section of its own citizens on the other. New York; United States Bani Dugal Gujral; Bahai International Community; Persecution, Iran; Persecution
    2016 10 Aug Armed officers, masked in balaclavas from Yemen’s National Security Bureau (NSB) intelligence agency, which worked hand in hand with the armed Houthi authorities, (also knowns as Ansar Allah) stormed a Bahá’í youth educational workshop in Sana’a. The event was part of a nine day, cross country moral and educational program for Bahá’í youth organized by the Bahá'í -run Nida Foundation for Development. Sixty-five people were arrested including 14 women and six people under 18 without an arrest warrant. Half were Bahá'ís and, at the time of this writing, it was believed some fourteen remained in prison, including young mothers. Further arrests were carried out later and within a week all but 10 of those who had been incarcerated had been released.
  • Among those detained are Nadim Tawfiq Al-Sakkaf, (British Council’s country manager in Yemen), his brother Nader Tawfiq Al-Sakkaf and Kaiwan Mohamed Ali Qadri. [UN Human Rights 4 Oct 2016, BWNS1118, publicaffairs.bahai.us, UN Human Rights, Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page]
  • Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; Youth; BWNS
    2016 14 Jul The Ghorveh Bahá'í cemetery, in the province of Kurdistan, was destroyed by government agents. [Iran Press Watch 19720] Ghorveh; Kurdistan; Iran Persecution, denial of burial; Z****
    2016 23 - 24 May The first World Humanitarian Summit was held in Istanbul, Turkey. The summit, organized by the United Nations, called on government leaders as well as those from business, aid agencies, civil society and faith-based organizations to consult on the question of disaster relief.
  • A statement released by the Bahá'í International Community (BIC) for the occasion, titled "Rising Together: Building the Capacity to Recover from Within" is available at their website.
  • Istanbul; Turkey United Nations Summits; United Nations conferences; Conferences; Disaster relief; Charity and relief work; Bahai International Community; BIC statements; Statements; Publications
    2016 22 May Some 700 people gathered on the temple land in the small village of Agua Azul, in the municipality of Villa Rica near Norte del Cauca, Colombia to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the first local Bahá'í House of Worship. [BWNS1109]
  • See BWNS1100 for pictures.
  • Following the groundbreaking ceremony the three-meter high central mound on which the 18-meter tall Temple will stand will be completed, and the foundational work for the surrounding auxiliary structures will be laid. In time, these structures will be painted in the bright colors traditional to buildings in Colombia.
  • Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Colombia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Foundation stones and groundbreaking; BWNS first local House of Worship in Colombia, first local Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Columbia
    2016 13 May Fariba Kamalabadi, while on a five-day furlough from Evin Prison, met with former Tehran MP Faezeh Hashemi. It was the first temporary leave she had been granted during her eight years of imprisonment.
  • Faezeh Hashemi was the activist daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and she previously shared a prison cell with Kamalabadi in Evin Prison. Hashemi was strongly condemned by politicians and religious leaders for meeting with Mrs Kamalabadi. A high-ranking member of the Iranian Judiciary vowed that action would be taken against her. Despite the widespread criticism she received from powerful quarters in Iran, Faezeh Hashemi publicly defended her decision to meet with Kamalabadi. [Iran Press Watch, from NY Times, BWNS1108]
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Evin prison; BWNS
    2016 12 May In commemoration of the incarceration of the Yaran in Iran in 2008 the International Bahá'í Community (BIC) released a video entitled Enough! Release the Baha’i Seven Now. Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Bahai International Community
    2016 7 May The passing of Jenabe Esslemont Caldwell, 89 in Wailuku, Hawaii. (b. August 7, 1926 in Butte, Montana). He and his wife Elaine were named Knights of Bahá’u’lláh for pioneering to the Aleutian Islands in July, 1953 where they started a king crab and salmon cannery. They sponsored the Bahá’í­ singing group Windflower that toured Europe, including the United Kingdom, in the 1980s. He was the author of the books: The Story of the Báb & Bahá'u'lláh, From Night to Knight, Follow the Instructions and Reflections. He is well-known for his mass teaching successes. [Bahaikipedia] Butte; Montana; Aleutian Islands; Wailuku; Hawaii Jenabe Caldwell; Elaine Caldwell; Knights of Bahaullah; Windflower (singing group); Mass teaching
    2016 29 Apr In observance of the eighth anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of seven Iranian Bahá'í leaders, the Bahá'í International Community was launched a global campaign calling for their immediate release. Taking the theme “Enough! Release the Bahá'í Seven,” the campaign emphasized the fact that, under Iran’s own national penal code, the seven were now overdue for conditional release. [Enough!]
  • A special campaign page was established with information about their current legal situation and other resources. [Enough! Release the Bahá'í Seven].
  • The campaign included an account on FaceBook.
  • and a Twitter handle. The hashtag for the campaign was: #ReleaseBahai7Now.
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
    2016 25 Apr The passing of former member of the International Teaching Centre, Joy Stevenson (b. 1919) in Queanbeyan, Australia. She made a distinctive contribution to the advancement of Bahá'í communities in Australasia as a Counsellor and an Auxiliary Board member and as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia. [BWNS1103]
  • Bahaipedia.
  • Queanbeyan; Australia In Memoriam; Joy Stevenson; International Teaching Centre, Members of; BWNS
    2016 25 Apr Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara, who had been imprisoned without trial since December 2013, was again brought to court for a hearing but the trial was again postponed, this time to 1 August 2017. Reports indicate that he had been sent to solitary confinement in the National Security Prison on the orders of Mr. Rajeh Zayed, the prosecutor who had caused the delays which have kept him in jail for more than three years and who had been largely responsible for the arrest and persecution of Bahá'ís in Yemen. Mr. Rajeh Zayed had stated that he planned to delay Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara’s court hearings and treatment until he “dies in jail.” He was suffering from serious health conditions that required proper medical attention. He stood accused of ‘compromising the independence of the Republic of Yemen’, including spreading the Bahá’í faith in the Republic of Yemen as well as "apostasy" (He has been a Bahá'í from birth.) and “insulting Islam” . [BIC 30 Apr 2017; BWNS1285] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Human rights
    2016 Ridván The launch of the Fourth Five Year Plan (2016-2021).
  • The principle goals of the Plan were to “seek to raise the number of clusters where a programme of growth has become intensive to 5,000 by Riḍván 2021” and to add “several hundred more” to some two hundred clusters that have already advanced beyond the third milestone. [Message dated 29 December 2015 from the Universal House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors.

    Other messages related to the Plan are:

    • 2 January 2016 – To the Bahá’ís of the World
    • 26 March 2016 – To the Bahá’ís of the World acting under the Mandate of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
    • 26 March 2016 – To the chosen recipients of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablets of the Divine Plan, the Bahá’ís of the United States and the Bahá’ís of Canada
    • Riḍván 2016 – To the Bahá’ís of the World
  • BWC Five Year Plan (2016-2021); Teaching Plans; - Institute process
    2016 (End of the Five Year Plan) The Preparation for Social Action programme that was implemented at the beginning of the Five Year Plan was expanded to seven additional countries: Cambodia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Panama, the Philippines and Vanuatu.
  • Over 10,000 had participated in the programme with about 1,800 among these who had studied all of the texts available.
  • In addition some 1,700 individuals serving institutions and agencies of the Fatih in 25 countries had studied a selection the the materials in a seminar setting. [5YPSumPage94-95]
  • Preparation for Social Action was implemented as a course of study at the New Era High School and Senior Secondary in Panchgani.
  • Cambodia; Central African Republic; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ecuador; Panama; Philippines; Vanuatu Five Year Plan (2011-2016); Teaching Plans; Preparation for Social Action; Z****
    2011 - 2016 (The Five Year Plan) The annual number of seminars for undergraduate students offered by the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity rose from 21 at the start of the Plan to 39. More than 4,000 youth in more than 60 countries were served.
  • The seminar for university graduates and for young professionals, first offered in North America in 2008, was extended to Australia, Europe, Latin America and south and Southeast Asia over the duration of the Plan. As of this date more than 700 individuals had taken part. [The Five Year Plan 2011-2016: Summary of Achievements and Learning pg113]
  • Australia; Europe; Latin America; Southeast Asia; South Asia; North America Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity; statistics; Z****
    2016 Apr In Yemen th UN-sponsored peace talks began between the government on one side and the Houthis and form President Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) on the other. Yemen Yemen, Recent history; Saleh
    2016 8 Mar The earthworks for the Local Bahá'í House of Worship in Battambang, Cambodia was completed. [BWNS1100]
  • See BWNS1100 for pictures.
  • Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; BWNS
    2016 The conflict in Yemen continued to rage throughout the year. UN-sponsored peace talks began in Kuwait in April but broke down in early August. On 8 October, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition killed more than 100 people attending a funeral gathering in Sana’a and injured more than 500 others – one of the largest death tolls in any single incident since the start of the coalition’s bombing campaign. Yemen Yemen, Recent history
    2015 21 Dec Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a senior Muslim cleric in Iran, had courageously called on his nation's people to uphold a higher standard of justice and dignity for all of their countrymen and women. In an article on his website, he dedicated a new piece of calligraphy—a passage from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh—to the Bahá'ís who were arrested on baseless charges in November 2015. [BWNS1089, BWNS987] Iran Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani; Ayatollahs; Calligraphy; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; BWNS
    2015 15 Nov The arrest and disappearance of Navid Aqdasi, a cousin of 'Ata'ollah Rezvani who was murdered on the 24th of August, 2013. Mr Aqdasi had been demanding justice for his cousin. [175YP322n3] Bandar Abbas; Iran Ataollah Rezvani; Iran, persecution; Navid Aqdasi; Z****
    2015 15 Nov The groundbreaking ceremony of the first local Bahá'í House of Worship in Battambang, Cambodia was attended by some 200 community members. The event coincided with the commemoration of the Twin Holy Birthdays—the Birth of the Báb and the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh. [BWNS1082]
  • See BWNS1082 for pictures.
  • Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; Foundation stones and groundbreaking; BWNS first local house of worship in Cambodia
    2015 6 Nov The première of Mercy's Blessing, a film by May Taherzadeh in Lilongwe, Malawi. To date it has won 12 film awards and has been distributed for use in 115 countries. [Official Web Site]
  • See the trailer.
  • Lilonqwe; Malawi Mercys Blessing; Film; Documentaries; Arts; Awards
    2015 30 Oct The cemetery of the 20,000 strong Bahá'í community of Rajasthan, located in Jaipur, was violently attacked and vandalised by a vigilante group of 50 to 60 persons allegedly led by the local right wing political party. They damaged a building that was under construction and threatened the caretaker physical harm. [The Wire 01/11/2015] Jaipur; Rajasthan; India Persecution, India; Persecution, Destruction; Persecution; Cemeteries and graves
    2015 25 Sep The UN further defined its Sustainable Development goals at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Subsequently, on the 15th of November, the Bahá'í International Community published the statement, Summoning Our Common Will: A Baha’i Contribution to the United Nations Global Development Agenda.
  • New York; United States Sustainable Development; Bahai International Community; BIC statements; Statements
    2015 Sep President Hadi returned to Aden after Saudi-backed government forces recaptured the port city from Houthi forces. Aden; Yemen Yemen, Recent history; Hadi
    2015 Sep As of this date the Bahá'í community in the United States had about 175,000 Bahá’ís (less than one percent of the nation’s population), residing in more than 9,000 localities. The makeup of the Faith’s adherents was very diverse. The largest communities were in California, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas. There were Bahá’í communities in every state. (From ‘Information about the Bahá'í Faith for Funeral Directors’, a document available at US National website)[ Bahá'í Historical Facts MARCH 4, 2018] United States Statistics
    2015 24 Jul The Qom Seminary* announced the planning of classes called “Understanding Baha’ism” and “Understanding Ahl-e Haqq”. These classes, which presented a one-sided view of religious minorities, had the sole purpose of destroying the Bahá'í Faith and the Ahl-e Haqq**.
  • Subsequently, the Qom Seminary started extensive propaganda on these subjects in most government centres and government sponsored news websites. In an advertisement on its site, Tasnim news agency announced that the Qom Seminary intended to hold online introductory courses on the Bahá'í Faith and the Ahl-e Haqq for all seminary students in the country. Similar to other classes held in previous years, these courses provided an entirely one-sided view and no Bahá'í or Ahl-e Haqq citizen had the right to defend his religion. [Iran Press Watch 12642]
    *The Qom Seminary is the largest seminary, or traditional Islamic school of higher learning, established in 1922 by Grand Ayatollah Abdul-Karim Ha’eri Yazdi in Qom. [Wikipedia]
    **Ahl-e Haq (Dervishes)– “The People of the Absolute Truth” ‒ People treading the Ahl-e Haqq Muslim ascetic path, known for their extreme poverty and austerity. Their focus is on the universal values of love and service deserting the illusions of ego to reach God. [Wikipedia]
  • Qom; Iran Qom Seminary; persecution, Iran
    2015 17 July Some 300 people attended the unveiling of the design of the first local Bahá'í House of Worship in Battambang, Cambodia [BWNS1062]
  • See BWNS1062 for pictures.
  • Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; BWNS first local house of worship in Cambodia
    2015 14 May A global campaign called "Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Bahá'í Leaders" to call attention to the long and unjust imprisonment of seven Iranian Bahá'í leaders was launched on the seventh anniversary of their arrest. Each day of the week-long campaign, starting 14 May 2015, was dedicated to one member of the seven: Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm. [7 Days] Tihran; Iran; New York; United States; Worldwide Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Bahai International Community
    2015 22 Apr Pressures on Jamaleddin Khanjani’s family had increased since his arrest in 2008. Their country home in Semnan was demolished by Security Forces. The family had been given 48 hours to evacuate the house and even though they had succeeded in obtaining a ruling from the Supreme Court to stop the demolition, the home was destroyed. Authorities objected to a house that had been built with a City permit 18 years previously claiming that the owner of this property is unknown and the deed was not acceptable. The farmland, where the house was situated, had belonged to the family for more than 200 years.
  • Their farm had more than 40 thousand fruit trees, however, in recent years the authorities had blocked the road during harvest time to prevent more than 200-300 Tons of apples and peaches from reaching the market. A few years prior they had demolished a water storage facility that the family had legally constructed (the government permit and other documents were all available). More than 100 million Liters of water had been stored for agricultural purposes. The family had a thirty-year permit for a pasture for their cattle however they were forced to sell some and purchase forage for the remainder.
  • About two weeks prior the CEO of the family's farming company had been sentence to a one-year imprisonment. He had been in prison a few times before and was now back in prison again.
  • Although the Khanjani family included both Bahá’ís and Muslims, systematic confrontations and harassment of the family continued during his incarceration. The authorities erected a security station at the entrance to the property where they inspected the cars of family members and did bodily searches. Everyone had to be inspected to be able to go to his/her home. Even the 85-year old mother of Mr Kanjani had to obtain an access card to go to her residence.
  • Semnan’s Revolutionary Guard and Ministry of Information declared the farm to be a military area. They built a duty post next the site of the demolished family home. Authorities prohibited the transfer the animals to a warmer climate in a truck. As a result a number of the sheep died.
  • With respect to the condition of Jamaleddin Khanjani in prison; he was over 80 years old and on one occasion, had to be transferred to the hospital once for a heart surgery. He was immediately returned to prison although having a medical furlough would have been the usual procedure.
  • Mr. Khanjani's family members had been the objects of persecution as well. Foad, his grandson had been in prison for four years and his granddaughter, Leva, had just completed her sentence. His nephew, Navid, who had filed a complaint with the judicial system for having been deprived of education, was faced with fictitious charges and had been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. He has had a number of medical issues for which he has not received adequate treatment.
  • The workplace of Mr. Khanjani’s son, who worked in the optical field, had been raided a few months prior. All his belongings and property were confiscated based on unfounded accusations of illicit transactions. He had spent some time in prison and had been recently been released.
  • Mr. Khanjani's brother had a factory in Semnan and had imported equipment for making prescription lenses from Germany. He had suspended work in his factory for the anniversary of passing of Bahá’u’lláh and the authorities closed his business based on different excuses. The Ministry of Information asked him why the factory had been closed and he said it was his religious holiday. They shuttered the factory permanently, confiscated all the equipment and auctioned it all without any compensation.
  • Although a large number of their family members were Muslim they lived together, the Muslims participating in the Bahá’í commemorations and the Bahá’ís participating in theirs. [Iran Press Watch 11853]
  • See the report from the Bahá'í International Community on the persecution of the Bahá'ís of Semnan.
  • Semnan; Iran Jamaleddin Khanjani; Persecution; Z****
    2015 21 Mar The implementation of the Badí' Calendar on the first day of the tenth Váhid of the first Kull-i-Shay’ of the Bahá’í Era.

    "Báb introduced the calendar and its broad pattern of periods and cycles, months and days. Bahá’u’lláh provided essential clarifications and additions. Aspects were elucidated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and arrangements for its adoption in the West were put in place at the direction of Shoghi Effendi, as described in the volumes of The Bahá’í World. Still, ambiguities surrounding some Islamic and Gregorian dates, as well as difficulties in the correlation of historical observances and astronomical events with explicit statements in the Text, left certain issues unresolved. When responding to questions concerning the calendar, both ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi left these matters to the Universal House of Justice. Of its many features, three required clarification for the calendar’s uniform application: the means for the determination of Naw-Rúz, the accommodation of the lunar character of the Twin Holy Birthdays within the solar year, and the fixing of the dates of the Holy Days within the Badí‘ calendar." [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 10 July, 2014] (notes below extracted from the message)

    The Festival of Naw-Rúz: The birthplace of the Abhá Beauty, will be the spot on the earth that will serve as the standard for determining, by means of astronomical computations from reliable sources, the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and thereby the day of Naw-Rúz for the Bahá’í world.

    The Festivals of the Twin Birthdays: They will now be observed on the first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Rúz. This will result in the observance of the Twin Birthdays moving, year to year, within the months of Mashíyyat, ‘Ilm, and Qudrat of the Badí‘ calendar, or from mid-October to mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar.

    The dates of the Holy Days are: Naw-Rúz, 1 Bahá; the Festival of Riḍván, 13 Jalál to 5 Jamál; the Declaration of the Báb, 8 ‘Aẓamat; the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, 13 ‘Aẓamat; the Martyrdom of the Báb, 17 Raḥmat; the Day of the Covenant, 4 Qawl; and the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 6 Qawl. These dates have been fixed within the solar calendar in accordance with explicit statements of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi. [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 10 July, 2014]

  • See Introduction to Badí‘ Calendar.
  • BWC Badi calendar; Bahaullah, Birth of; Bab, Birth of; Naw-Ruz; Holy days; Twin Holy days; Gradual implementation of laws; Laws; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages first use of the Badí calendar
    2015 Mar Clashes escalated between pro and anti-Huthis allied with security forces loyal to Mr Saleh, who was thought to have backed his erstwhile enemies in a bid to regain power. Southerners took to arms and formed resistance to further advance their cause for independence by fighting in order to defend their territory from northern control and a coup of the legitimate government. President Hadi was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia in March. He appealed to Gulf and Arab states to intervene militarily.
  • A Saudi Arabian-led military coalition of Arab states backed by the United States launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group positions in Sana’a and Sa’da with ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh in support of Hadi's government.
  • The Islamic State carried out its first major attacks in Yemen, two suicide bombings targeting Shia mosques in Sana'a in which 137 people were killed. Houthi rebels started to advance towards southern Yemen and it was at that point that President Hadi fled to Aden. The Saudi-led coalition of Gulf Arab states launched air strikes against Houthi targets and imposed a naval blockade on Aden.
  • Over the next six months the conflict spread across Yemen.
  • In the southern part of the country, the United Arab Emirates, which was part of the Saudi-led coalition, set up its own security forces, running virtually a state-within-a-state and fuelling the south's independence movement.
  • The Houthis were dislodged from most of the south, but remained in control of Sana'a and much of the north.
  • Sana'a; Aden; Yemen Yemen, Recent history; Ali Abdullah Saleh; Islamic State
    2015 27 Feb The premiere of the film To Light a Candle by Iranian-Canadian filmmaker and journalist, Maziar Mahari. The gala in Los Angeles was part of a campaign called "Education is Not a Crime", started in 2014, to highlight the plight of Bahá'í students in Iran and their recourse to the denial of education, the Bahá'í Institute of Higher Education. The film was also screened in some 300 locations around the world. [BWNS1041, BWNS1025]
  • See also Not a Crime.
  • Los Angeles; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; Documentaries; Education is not a Crime; BWNS
    2015 20 Feb The National Spiritual Assembly of Canada announced the names of the five members appointed by the International Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh to serve on the Board of Trustees for Canada and Saint Pierre and Miquelon, with a three-year term of service, commencing 1 December 2014.
  • Those appointed were: Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian, Mr. Bruce William Moore, Ms. Nasrin Neyestani, Mrs. Donna Ann Marie Seyed Mahmoud, Mrs. Shabnam Tashakour.
  • In its letter to the National Spiritual Assembly announcing these appointments, the International Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh shared the following regarding their service:
  • The primary function of a Board of Trustees is to educate the friends on the spiritual significance of the mighty law of Huqúqu’lláh, enabling them to better appreciate that obedience to this law is “bound to attract divine confirmations, heavenly blessings and incalculable favours, and to promote the manifold interests of the International Bahá'í Community. [CBNS20150220]
  • Canada Huququllah; Board of Trustees
    2015 12 Feb The official opening of the new location of the Afnan Library Trust at Sandy, close to Cambridge. The Afnan Library Trust was established in 1985 to manage the collection bequeathed by Hasan Balyuzi when he passed away in 1980. It consists of some 10,000 books, as well as a vast quantity of manuscripts, original letters, maps, documents, periodicals, and unpublished items – some of them dating back to the nineteenth century. [BWNS1040]
  • The official website can be found here.
  • "In a letter dated the 10 November and the 20 November 1979 he (Hasan Balyuzi) left instructions that all his books and document are to be kept together perpetually... and that they are to form the nucleus of the Afnán Library, founded in the name of his father, Muvaqqari'd-Dawlih, and dedicated to Khadíjih Bagum". [KBWBix]
  • Sandy; Cambridge; United Kingdom Afnan Library Trust; Afnan; Hasan Balyuzi; Libraries; Bahai studies; Scholarship; BWNS; Z****
    2105 Feb In Yemen, Houthis appointed a presidential council to replace President Hadi who fled to Aden. Sana'a; Yemen; Aden Adbrabbuh Mansour Hadi; Yemen, Recent history
    2015 27 Jan The National Spiritual Assembly of Canada announced the names of the Members of the Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh for Canada and Saint Pierre and Miquelon. The members were: Mr. Bruce Moore, Mrs. Donna Seyed Mahmoud, Mrs. Nasrin Neyestani and Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian.
  • In December of the same year they announced the new term of service for the Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh in Canada and added an additional member with the appointment of Dr. Faran Vafaie as Deputy Trustee member of the Board of Trustees. [BCNS31Dec2017]
  • Canada Huququllah; Board of Trustees
    2015 20 Jan The website of the worldwide Bahá'í community at www.bahai.org was launched in a new version, representing the latest stage in the development of an official presence on the Web that extended back to 1996. [BWNS1037] BWC Websites; Internet; BWNS
    2015 18 Jan The first trial hearing of Hamed bin Haydara was held. Legal and human rights NGOs witnessed tampering and interference on the part of the prosecution. The prosecutor, Rajeh Zayed, threatened to detain and execute Bahá'ís. More were arrested. [Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page] Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Hamed bin Haydara
    2014 Nov Fariba Kamalabadi, after having her fourth request to join her daughter Taraneh for her wedding denied, wrote her a letter from Evin Prison. [Iran Press Watch]
  • See Iran Press Watch 11274 for Taraneh's story of how she grew up without her mother.
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Evin Prison; Prisons; Human rights; Taraneh Kamalabadi; Fariba Kamalabadi; Z****
    2014 3 Oct Hamed bin Haydara had been held at an undisclosed location since his arrest by National Security Forces on the 3rd of December, 2013. During this time he was held in prolonged solitary confinement, severely tortured and electrocuted, and forced to sign documents while blindfolded. In September of 2014 NGOs discovered where he was being detained so the National Security was forced to relocate him to the Criminal Investigation Detention Centre in the Central Prison in Sana'a. [Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page] Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; Hamed bin Haydara
    2014 21 Sep The Houthi movement, which championed Yemen's Zaidi Shia Muslim minority and had fought a series of rebellions against Mr Saleh during his tenure as president in the previous decade, took advantage of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's weakness by taking control of their northern heartland of Saada province and neighbouring areas overthrowing the internationally-recognised government. By February 2015 the group had dissolved parliament and announced plans for a transitional government. Sanaa; Yemen Yemen, Recent history
    2014 14 Sep Some 500 people attend the unveiling of the design of the first local Bahá'í House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia [BWNS1020]
  • Julian Gutierrez Chacon was the architect for the House of Worship.
  • The relationship between the environment of the region and the community was also expressed in the design of the House of Worship, which was inspired by the shape of the cocoa pod, a plant that grows abundantly in Colombia and was integral to the identity of the landscape and the lives and economy of the people.
  • See BWNS for pictures.
  • Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Colombia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Architects; BWNS first local Baha’i House of Worship in Colombia BWSN1153
    2014 8 Sep Ayatollah Hamid Masoumi Tehrani presented an illuminated calligraphic work of the words of Bahá'u'lláh to the Bahá'ís of the world. [BWNS1017; One Country 23.2] Iran Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani; Ayatollahs; Calligraphy; BWNS
    2014 Sep The exclusion of Shadan Shirazi, an exemplary student who placed exceptionally well in the college entrance exams administered to students throughout Iran. The Iranian government deployed new tactics in their treatment of Bahá'í students to deny them access to higher education without raising the concern of the international community. The new procedure entailed identifying Bahá'í university applicants and then calling them in so they could quietly be confirmed as ineligible under the government's unjust policies and then be sent away without any documentation or proof that it was done because they were Bahá'ís that they were prevented from enrolling. [BWNS1021] Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; BWNS
    2014 8 Aug The official ban on the Bahá'í Faith in Indonesia was lifted. [The Jakarta Post August 8, 2014] Jakarta; Indonesia Persecution, Indonesia; Persecution, Bans; Persecution
    2014 1 Aug "The erection of the continental House of Worship for South America was moving towards its completion in Chile. The steel-frame superstructure had been almost entirely installed, the placement of the interior translucent stone panels was under way, and the landscaping and the construction of auxiliary facilities were progressing according to schedule. The friends in Santiago, supported by others from throughout the Americas, had been diligently striving to prepare the surrounding population for the emergence of the House of Worship; increasing numbers were participating in the community-building endeavours, and a stream of visitors were being welcomed to the Temple site for prayer and discussion on the practical and spiritual dimensions of the enterprise. Measures were being put in place in Chile in anticipation of the many demands that were sure to arise once the Temple had been inaugurated in 2016." [Message from The Universal House of Justice dated 1 August, 2014 to the Bahá’ís of the World] Santiago; Chile Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago
    2014 6 Jun At her request, the Universal House of Justice sent a message to Her Excellency Ms. Dilma Rousseff, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil on the occasion of the World Cup of football. [BWNS] Brazil Sport; Dilma Rousseff; BWNS; Z****
    2014 28 May In the presidential election in Egypt, former Egyptian defence minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected with 97% of the vote according to government sources. The subsequent 2014 Constitution of the Sisi government, while guaranteeing the ‘inviolable’ right of freedom of religion, extended this only to Islam, Christianity and Judaism – meaning that Bahá’i were still prohibited from many basic freedoms, such as practicing their religious laws and constructing places of worship. Though Bahá’í representatives lobbied during the constitutional drafting processes to expand religious freedoms to their community, this did not occur.
  • In December 2014, a public workshop was held by the Ministry of Religious Endowments to warn of the dangers of the spread of the Bahá’i faith in Egypt.
  • Egypt Opposition; Persecution, Egypt; Persecution; Human rights; History (general); Constitutions
    2014 9 May Vahid Tizfahm, a former member of the imprisoned Yaran, wrote to his son, Samim, in which he recounted the imprisonment and martyrdom of his own father when he was yet a child. For the full text of the letter see Iran Press Watch10181. Gohardasht; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Vahid Tizfahm; Z****
    2014 8 May Despite a worldwide outcry, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards continued destroying an historic Bahá'í cemetery in Shiraz. Between 2005 and 2012 some 42 Bahá'í-owned cemeteries were desecrated in a similar fashion. [BWNS993, BWNS1016] Shiraz; Iran Cemeteries and graves; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Destruction; Persecution; BWNS
    2014 7 May The imprisoned Yaran addressed a letter to Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Human Rights Division of the Judiciary Branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding his claim that “No one is in prison for being a Bahá'í and if Bahá'í s do not commit illegal acts their citizenship rights will be protected”. They reiterated some of the acts of oppression and discrimination, security force encounters and human rights violations imposed on the Bahá'í citizens and have asked the officials to change their view toward citizens and minorities.
    The full text of the letter can be viewed at Iran Press Watch 9946
    Iran Yaran, persecution, Iran; Mohammad Javad Larijani; Z****
    2014 Apr In Shiraz, the Revolutionary Guard began excavation of some 200 square meters of the Bahá'í cemetery. The site, which had been in use since the 1920s, had been confiscated by the government in 1983 and the Revolutionary Guard had taken ownership of the site some three years earlier with plans to build a cultural and sports centre. It is the site of the remains of the ten Bahá'í of Shiraz who were hanged in 1983 for the crimes of being Zionists and teaching children's classes. [BWNS993, BWNS994] Shiraz; Iran Cemeteries and graves; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Destruction; Persecution; BWNS
    2014 13 Mar From Rejai Shahr Prison Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli wrote a letter to his first grandchild who had just been born three days prior in Canada. The letter can be found at Iran Press Watch 9766. Rejai Shahr Prison Behrouz Tavakkoli; Yaran; Z****
    2014 Mar The Bahá'í cemetery in Ahwaz was closed and the alley leading to it was blocked by heavy cement blocks. No organization has accepted responsibility for this action. [Iran Press Watch 19720] Ahwaz; Iran Persecution, denial of burial; Z****
    2014 (In the year) The publication of the new, extensively retranslated edition, of Some Answered Questions. It is a collection of transcriptions of table talks given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Akká between 1904 and 1906 in response to questions posed by Laura Dreyfus-Barney. It was first published in 1908.
  • For a Spanish translation, Contestación A Unas Preguntas of the 1994 edition
  • Some Answered Questions 1990 edition.
  • Some Answered Questions: Study Outline compiled by Brett Zamir.iiiii
  • BWC Some Answered Questions; Laura Dreyfus-Barney; Publications; Translation
    2013 12 Dec After confirmation of a court order in Sanandaj and confiscation of the land belonging to the Bahá'ís which had been used as a cemetery, the site was demolished by a bulldozer. [Iran Press Watch 19720] Sanandaj; Iran Persecution, denial of burial; Z****
    2013 3 Dec Mr. Hamed Kamal Muhammad bin Haydara (sometimes referred to in the media as "Hamed Merza Kamali Serostani ") was arrested in al-Mukalla, capital of Hadramout province in eastern Yemen. It was suggested that he was arrested on the orders of Mr. Khaled al-Mawari, the Chief Prosecutor who was involved in the unwarranted arrest and detention of another member of the Yemeni Bahá'í community.
  • The family of Hamed bin Haydara had lived in Socotra since 1945, when his father arrived on the Yemeni island from Iran as a doctor under British colonial rule and was granted Yemeni citizenship.
  • The National security Office raided his home and seized laptops and documents. Reports indicated that he has been tortured (beaten and electrocuted).
  • According to Bahá'í estimates, there were about 2,000 Bahá'ís in Yemen [BIC website, Reuters]
  • Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
    2013 Dec The imprisoned members of the Yaran sent a letter addressed to Iranian President, Dr. Hassan Rouhani in response to the invitation that President Rouhani extended to the citizens of Iran to comment on the draft Charter of Citizens’ Rights on the president’s website.
  • A copy of the letter in English can be found online at BWNS977.
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Hassan Rouhani; Z****
    2013 Nov The announcement by the Universal House of Justice of the retirement of Dr. Farzam Arbab and Mr. Kiser Barnes. Mr. Arbab was first elected in 1993 and Mr. Barnes was elected in 2000. [BWNS948] BWC Farzam Arbab; Kiser Barnes; Retirements; Universal House of Justice, Members of; BWNS
    2013 28 Oct The release of the video Violence with Impunity: Acts of Aggression Against Iran's Bahá'í Community based on the report of the same name. [BWNS972]
  • Engish
  • Farsi
  • Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Justice; Bahai International Community; BWNS; film; Violence with Impunity
    2013 1 Oct The Bahá'í International Community announced the appointment of Joshua Lincoln as its new Secretary-General. This announcement followed the announcement of the retirement of Mr. Albert Lincoln who had served as Secretary-General for 19 years. [BWNS968, BWNS969] BWC; Haifa Bahai International Community; Joshua Lincoln; Bahai International Community, Secretary-Generals; Albert Lincoln; Retirements; BWNS
    2013 20 Sep Deloria Bighorn, chairperson of the National Spiritual Bahá'ís of Canada, presented, on behalf of the Bahá'í Community of Canada, a submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the BC National Event held in Vancouver from September 18th to the 21st. The formal presentation followed a panel organized by the Canadian Bahá'í Community and Reconciliation Canada. The previous week 250 people listened to Chief Doug White, Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, and Dr. Paulette Regan from the Commission discussing the challenge of reconciliation. [T&R website, CBN 24 September, CBN 9 February, 2018, BWNS1248]
  • For the text see Submission of the Bahá’í Community of Canada to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission or download PDF.
  • The Bahá'í community also produced a short film, The Path Home, which it screened in Ottawa in association with the final national gathering.
  • Vancouver; Canada Native Americans; Indigenous people; Reconciliation; Cultural diversity; Human rights; Documentaries; BWNS; film; The Path Home
    2013 24 Aug Ataollah Rezvani disappeared while on his way home and the next day the Criminal Investigation Office of Bandar Abbas informed the family that his body had been found outside the city. The report of the forensic physician determined the cause of death to be “a hard trauma on the brain tissues, due to being hit with some penetrating object, such as (a bullet)” and ruled it as a suicide. Strong evidence exists to indicate that it was not. [Archives of Bahá'í Persecution in Iran]
  • The assassins were never identified. The murder was not reported in the Iranian newspapers and did not raise any protest except among prisoners of conscience at Rejaee prison who condemned the assassination in a statement and demanded justice. [175YP266-267]
  • Bandar Abbas; Iran persecution, Iran; Ataollah Rezvani; Z****
    2013 13 Aug The passing of former Universal House of Justice member Mr. Hushmand Fatheazam in Vancouver, Canada. He served on the Universal House of Justice for forty years since 1963. [BWNS964]
  • See Life of Hushmand Fatheazam as told by Fariborz Sahba.
  • Vancouver; Canada Hushmand Fatheazam; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2013 15 Jul Iranian filmmaker and blogger as well as a former Islamist hardliner who has become an outspoken critic of the government, Mohammad Nourizad, kissed the feet of 4 year old Artin whose parents had been arrested for participation in the Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education. [Wikipedia entry; Faith and a Future p38-39]
  • Some years later Mr Nourizad repeated this gesture, kissing the feet of a six year old boy named Bashir whose parents, Azita Rafizadeh and Peyman Kushak Baghi had been sentenced to four year prison terms for teaching at the BIHE.
  • Iran Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE); Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; Human Rights; Education; Mohammad Nourizad;
    2013 Jul – Oct The holding of 114 Youth Conferences around the world at the request of the Universal House of Justice. The purpose of the gatherings were to explore such themes as the characteristics inherent to the period of youth, the historical contribution of young people to the transformation of society, the responsibilities of the present generation of youth, the society-building power of the Bahá'í Teachings, and the importance of faith and tenacity to a life of service. [List of places and dates for Youth Conferences]
  • See The Five Year Plan 2011-2016: Summary of Achievements and Learning pg46-43.
  • Worldwide Conferences, Bahai; Conferences, Youth; Conferences, International; Youth; BWNS
    2013 27 Jun In a message from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies it advised of the news of the destruction of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad. [Message of 27 Jun 2013; Message of 17 July, 2013]
    In truth, I declare, it shall be so abased in the days to come as to cause tears to flow from every discerning eye...And in the fulness of time, shall the Lord by the power of truth exalt it in the eyes of all the world, cause it to become the mighty standard of His domination, the shrine round which shall circle the concourse of the faithful. [BA99-100, BWNS961]
    Baghdad; Iraq House of Bahaullah (Baghdad); BWNS
    2013 24 - 26 Jun Contrary to the constitution which established the government's commitment to assuring and maintaining the sanctity of holy shrines and religious sites and guaranteeing the free practice of rituals. In addition the penal code that criminalized disrupting or impeding religious ceremonies and desecrating religious buildings, and specified that it applied to religious minorities. In Iraq followers of all religious groups and sects were free in the practice of religious rites and in the management of religious endowments, their affairs, and their religious institutions.
    And contrary to the plans of the Department of Antiquities who had declared it a heritage site in a decree by the Iraqi Culture Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi not two years earlier, the House of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdád was razed to make way for the construction of a husseniya or Shiite congregation hall. [Message from the Universal House of Justice date 17 July 2013, SETPE1p170; Al-Monitor 11 December, 2018]
    Baghdad; Iraq House of Bahaullah (Baghdad); Z****
    2013 14 May The Bahá'í International Community launched the Five Years Too Many campaign to protest the 20-year prison sentences given to the Bahá'í leaders in Iran, the longest sentence given to prisoners of conscience under the current regime. The harshness of the sentences reflected the Government’s resolve to completely oppress the Iranian Bahá'í community, which faced a systematic, “cradle-to-grave” persecution that was among the most serious examples of state-sponsored religious persecution in the world. [Five Years Too Many, BWNS954] Tihran; Iran; Worldwide Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Bahai International Community; BWNS
    2013 29 Apr – 2 May The Eleventh International Bahá'í Convention in Haifa and the 50th anniversary of the inaugural Convention in 1963 at which the first Universal House of Justice was elected. Those elected were Paul Lample, Firaydoun Javaheri, Payman Mohajer, Gustavo Correa, Shahriar Razavi, Stephen Birkland, Stephen Hall, Chuungu Malitonga, and Ayman Rouhani. [BWNS950, BWNS951, BWNS953]
  • More than a thousand members of one hundred and fifty seven National Spiritual Assemblies attended, and nearly five hundred more, including those from an additional fourteen countries, participated in the election by mail. [Letter from the Universal House of Justice to the delegates gathered at Bahá'í National Conventions dated 16 May, 2013]
  • BWC; Haifa Universal House of Justice, Election of; Elections; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Conventions, International; Paul Lample; Firaydoun Javaheri; Payman Mohajer; Gustavo Correa; Shahriar Razavi; Stephen Birkland; Stephen Hall; Chuungu Malitonga; Ayman Rouhani; Anniversaries; BWNS
    2013 Ridván The announcement by the Universal House of Justice in the Ridván Message of the creation of the Office of Public Discourse. [Ridván 2013] BWC; Haifa Office of Public Discourse; Public discourse
    2013 Ridván "In Santiago, Chile, where the Mother Temple of South America was being erected, the building work continued apace. The concrete construction of the foundations, basement, and service tunnel was completed, as were the columns that will bear the superstructure. The anticipation associated with this project was growing..."[Riḍván 2013 To the Bahá’ís of the World ] Santiago; Chile Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago
    2013 11 Apr – 5 Dec The commemoration of the centenary of the visit of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá to North America. [BWNS918] Wilmette; United States Centenaries; Abdul-Baha, Travels of; BWNS
    2013 7 Apr Mr. Ataollah Rezvani, a well-known Bahá'í in the city of Bandar Abbas was shot and killed in his car. It is of note that a few years before his murder, the Friday prayer Imam had incited the local population against the Bahá'ís, referring to them as un-Islamic. He further called on the people of the city to rise up against the Bahá'í community. [BWNS987, BWNS1031; Iran Press Watch 9306]
  • Rezvani was shot in the back of the head and his body was found in his car near the railway station on the outskirts of the city. His assailants had forced him to drive to that location. His body was discovered following a search when he failed to return home. [http://publicaffairs.bahai.us/388]
  • Bandar Abbas; Iran Ataollah Rezvani; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; BWNS; Z****
    2013 5 Mar The passing of Mas'ud Khamsi, former Counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre in Lima, Peru. [BWNS943]
  • Photo.
  • Slideshow in Spanish.
  • Bahaipedia.
  • Lima; Peru Masud Khamsi; Counsellors; International Teaching Centre, Members of; BWNS
    2013 Mar The publication of the report entitled Violence with Impunity: Acts of Aggression Against Iran's Bahá'í Community published by the Bahá'í International Community. The report documents a rising tide of violence directed against the Iranian Bahá'í community - and the degree to which attackers enjoy complete impunity from prosecution or punishment.
  • From 2005 through 2012, for example, there were 52 cases where Bahá'ís have been held in solitary confinement, and another 52 incidents where Bahá'ís have been physically assaulted. Some 49 incidents of arson against Bahá'í homes and shops, more than 30 cases of vandalism, and at least 42 incidents of cemetery desecration were also documented. [BWNS972]
  • Report in English.
  • Report in Farsi.
  • Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Justice; Bahai International Community; BWNS
    2013 (In the Year) The Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity initiated a line of action conceived as "areas of inquiry". Through this initiative the Institute aimed to develop capacity to describe and examine, in the light of the Revelation, social phenomena that were pressing and crucial to the life of humanity. Working with collaborators such topics as the global movement of populations, peace and justice in societies in transition, and the role of religion in migration. [The Five Year Plan 2011-2016: Summary of Achievements and Learning pg113] Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity; Z****
    2012 Dec (mid) Sangesar’s old Bahá'í cemetery was thoroughly covered in soil and rubble by bulldozers and trucks and all the graves were covered by dirt and rocks so that no more graves could be seen. [Iran Press Watch 19720] Sangesar; Iran Persecution, denial of burial; Z****
    2012 26 Nov The Universal House of Justice shared, in a message to all National Assemblies, a statement prepared by the Office of Social and Economic Development at the Bahá’í World Centre, a statement on the subject of and with the title of, Social Action. The statement offered a brief overview of the involvement of the Bahá’í community in the area of social and economic development, placing it in the context of current activity at the level of the cluster. In this connection, the House of Justice requested the Bahá'í Community to make clear that the distribution of the document should not be seen as a call for widespread action in this area; it was intended as an instrument to further raise consciousness about the nature of social action and some of the methods it employed. [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 26 November, 2012] BWC - Institute process; Social action; Social and economic development
    2012 29 Oct The Bahá'í International Community published a special report on The Baha'is of Semnan: A Case Study in Religious Hatred. This video report highlighted the effect on one community of the Iranian government’s methodical and organized campaign to incite hatred against the Bahá'ís and eliminate them as a viable social entity.
  • The Bahá'ís of Semnan had been the focus in recent years of an intensifying persecution, facing an array of economic, physical and psychological attacks. While these types of attacks on Baá'ís were not confined to Semnan, the situation there was noteworthy for its particular intensity and the mobilization and coordination of official and semi-official elements -- including the police, the courts, local officials, and the clergy.
  • Semnan; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution
    2012 Jul The Bahá'í Chair for World Peace was assumed by Professor Hoda Mahmoudi who previously headed a research department at the Bahá'í World Center in Israel. [Bio Professor Hoda Mahmoudi]
  • The Bahá'í Chair for World Peace website.
  • Publications.
  • Maryland; United States Hoda Mahmoudi; Bahai Chair for World Peace; University of Maryland
    2012 Jun After the January 25th revolution against Mubarak and a period of rule by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt through a series of popular elections with Egyptians electing Islamist Mohamed Morsi to the presidency in June 2012.

    On 3 July 2013, Morsi was deposed by a coup d'état led by the minister of defense General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The situation of Egypt’s Bahá’í community remained uncertain. The prescriptions of the 1960 Presidential Decree, despite the revolution, had yet to be annulled. This meant that despite the 2009 lifting of the restrictions on identification documents, the Bahá’í Faith still had not received actual recognition as a religion and Bahá'í were frequently subjected to public vilification. It was a period of extreme unrest. It is estimated that between Sisi's overthrow of Morsi and the 2014 presidential elections, an estimated 20,000 activists and dissidents were arrested by the police under the interim government. El-Sisi went on to become Egypt's president by popular election in 2014.

    Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; History (general)
    2012 11 May The Universal House of Justice sent a message to the Bahá'ís of Iran near the four-year anniversary of the illegal arrest and imprisonment of the former members of the Yárán and the more recent injustice meted out against the co-workers of the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). [BWNS823, Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 11 May, 2012, In Farsi] Iran Yaran; Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE); Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; UHJ; BWNS; persecution; Persecution, Education
    2012 21 Apr Plans were announced that the Universal House of Justice was entering into consultations with respective National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the erection of the first local Houses of Worship in each of the following clusters: Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu. [Riḍván 2012 To the Bahá’ís of the World] Matunda; Haifa; Israel; Battambang; Cambodia; Bihar Sharif; India; Matunda Soy; Kenya; Norte del Cauca; Colombia; Tanna; Vanuatu Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded First local Mashriqul-Adhkar
    2012 21 Apr Plans were announced for the building of the first two national Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs that were to be raised up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea. [Riḍván 2012 To the Bahá’ís of the World] BWC; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC); Papua New Guinea Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; - Basic timeline, Expanded first national Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs
    2012 24 Feb The inaugural screening of Iranian Taboo by Dutch-Iranian filmmaker Reza Allamehzadeh in Los Angeles. [Iranian Taboo, BWNS890] Los Angeles; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Documentaries; Iranian Taboo; Reza Allamehzadeh; BWNS
    2012 20 Feb The passing of Anneliese Bopp, former Counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre at Bad Bruckenau, Northern Bavaria, Germany. [BWNS892]
  • First appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors at Ridván 1970, she served at the International Teaching Centre from 1979 until 1988.
  • See Vimeo for a short biographical film on Anneliese Bopp entitled Miss Anneliese Bopp: A Champion of Faith.
  • Bahaipedia.
  • Bad Bruckenau; Germany Anneliese Bopp; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; International Teaching Centre; BWNS
    2012 1 Feb The announcement of the publication of Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh in Korean. [BWNS885] Korea Korean; Gleanings from the Writings of Bahaullah; Translation; Publications; BWNS
    2012 Feb Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected as president initiating a two-year transitional period. However, government forces continued to commit human rights violations, including unlawful killings and enforced disappearances, against supporters of secession in south and a conflict with the Huthi armed group in north was renewed. Yemen Yemen, Recent history
    2012 (In the Year) The Office of Temples and Sites was established at the Bahá'í World Centre. The purpose of the office was to coordinate initial preparations for the temple builds with the respective National Spiritual Assemblies.
  • Firstly a committee is formed in each country, entrusted with identifying, together with institutions and agencies at all levels of the community, means to promote widespread participation and to channel the enthusiasm engendered among the friends following the announcement of the projects.
  • Another practical step in these national and local projects has been the selection of a suitable piece of land, one which is modest in size, strategically located, and easily accessible. Then a construction office for the project is established to assist with the management of technical, financial, and legal issues.
  • The next step is to call for the preparation of a design for the Temple edifice. This begins with the selection of potential architects and the formulation of an architectural brief defining the requirements for the structure which will ultimately result in a contract for the final design. Architects are presented with the singular challenge of designing Temples “as perfect as is possible in the world of being” that harmonize naturally with the local culture and the daily lives of those who will gather to pray and meditate therein. The task calls for creativity and skill to combine beauty, grace, and dignity with modesty, functionality, and economy and consideration for local customs and practices. [The Universal House of Justice message dated 1 August, 2014]
  • BWC; Haifa Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Architecture; Beauty; Economics; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2011 11 Dec The announcement by the Universal House of Justice of the creation of "an International Advisory Board to assist the Ruhi Institute in overseeing its system for the preparation, production, and distribution of materials, the content and structure of which now draw extensively on Bahá’í experience worldwide in applying the teachings and principles of the Faith to the life of humanity. As it gradually takes up its work, the Board will be able to respond to related issues and follow the development of supplementary materials that are aligned with the direction set by the global Plans". [December 11, 2011] BWC; Haifa Ruhi Institute; - Institute process
    2011 1 Dec The head of state of the Republic of Palau, President Johnson Toribiong, paid an official visit to the Bahá'í World Centre. [BWNS870] BWC; Palau Presidents; Prominent visitors; Johnson Toribiong; Islands; BWNS
    2011 1 Dec The passing of former Universal House of Justice member Mr. Ian C. Semple (b. 2 December 1928 in New Barnet, Hertfordshire) in Switzerland. He served as a member of the Universal House of Justice from its inception in 1963 until his retirement in 2005. [BWNS871]
  • See UK Bahá'í Histories.
  • See Bahá'í Blog.
  • Bahaipedia.
  • Some publications by Ian Semple.
  • Switzerland Ian Semple; Universal House of Justice, Members of; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2011 21 Oct The launch of Inciting Hatred: Iran's media campaign to demonize Bahá'ís. The Bahá'í International Community prepared and launched a report that documented and analysed more than 400 press and media items over a 16-month period that typified an insidious state-sponsored effort to demonize and vilify Bahá'ís, using false accusations.
  • The report was made available in English and in Persian.
  • New York; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Bahai International Community
    2011 24 Sep The arrest of Abdolfattah Soltani, a senior member of the legal team (4 lawyers) representing a number of Bahá'ís in Iran awaiting trial for providing higher education to youth barred from university. Soltani is a co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, along with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi and others. The Tehran-based Centre was shut down in a police raid in December 2008. [BWNS849]
  • In 2008 when Shirin Ebadi took the defense of seven Bahá'ís she was accused of changing her religion and her law office was attacked and faced other problems. [Iran Press Watch]
  • U.S Bahá'í Office of Public Affairs Press Release.
  • See interview with Mr Soltani by Iran Press Watch.
  • Iran Abdolfattah Soltani; Lawyers; Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE); Persecution; Human Rights; Education; BWNS; Yaran; Persecution, Education
    2011 27 – 28 Aug The Bahá'ís of Geneva commemorated the 100th anniversary of the start of ‘Abdu'l-Baha's journeys to the West. [BWNS854] Geneva; Switzerland Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Centenaries; BWNS
    2011 Aug As of this time the Bahá'í community of Tabriz had been prohibited from burying their dead in that city and the bodies were being transferred by intelligence officers to the city of Miandoab, in West Azerbaijan province some 175km away. [Iran Press Watch 19720] Tabriz; Miandoab; Iran Persecution, denial of burial; Z****
    2011 15 Jul The passing of former Universal House of Justice member Dr. Peter J. Khan (b. 2 November, 1936 in New South Wales) in Brisbane, Australia. He was buried in the Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane. Dr Khan served as a member of the Universal House of Justice from 1987 until April 2010. [BWNS840, BWNS841]
  • See Dr Peter J. Khan Memorial video.
  • See the tribute on Bahá'í Blog.
  • See Wikipedia.
  • See Bahaipedia.
  • Find a grave. He was buried in the Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane.
  • BWC Peter Khan; Universal House of Justice; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2011 18 Jun Representatives from government, religious communities and civil society organizations were among the 800 human rights supporters who gathered to call upon Iran to cease its persecution of Bahá'ís and other religious minorities. Almost 8,000 images depicting the faces of Iran's seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders (Yaran) were on display on the Copacabana beach, corresponding to the number of days of detention the seven had suffered after three years in prison. [BWNS834]
  • Photo 1, Photo 2, and Photo 3.
  • Rio de Janeiro; Brazil, Yaran
    2011 29 May The inauguration of the UNESCO Square for Tolerance and Peace, situated at the point where Haifa's historic German Templar colony met the terraced gardens of the Shrine of the Báb. [BWNS828]
  • Photo.
  • Over the next year the Square was developed through the addition of upgraded stonework and decorative floral plantings in the centre of the traffic circle. [The Five Year Plan 2011-2016: Summary of Achievements and Learning pg113]
  • Haifa; Israel UNESCO for Tolerance and Peace Square; UNESCO; Tolerance; Peace; BWNS; Z****
    2011 20 May Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet were returned to Evin Prison in Tehran. They had spent a brief time in the appalling conditions at Qarchak prison, (from 3 May) some 45 kilometers from Tehran. [BIC Evin; BWNS826]
  • The five men were still being held under close scrutiny in a wing of Gohardasht prison, reserved for political prisoners. [BIC Report]
  • Tihran; Iran Yaran; Evin Prison; Gohardasht Prison; Qarchak prison; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Prisons; BWNS
    2011 3 May After conviction, the two women of the Yaran were transferred from Evin Prison to the even more notorious Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj, near Tehran. In that prison, Fariba Kamalabadi, Mahvash Sabet, and a number of political prisoners were locked up in the communal ward with hundreds of ordinary female prisoners — inmates incarcerated for crimes not linked to politics. When authorities closed the women’s ward of that prison, the prisoners were all transferred to Gharchak Prison in Varamin near Tehran, where the conditions were even worse than those at Rajaei Shahr Prison. [IranWire4985; BWNS821] Karaj; Varamin Varan; Mahvash Sabet; Fariba Kamalabadi; Rajaei Shahr Prison; BWNS
    2011 May Some 39 homes of Bahá'ís associated with the Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) were raided in a coordinated attack. Educator Kamran Mortezaie served a five-year jail term. Mahmoud Badavam, Noushin Khadem, Farhad Sedghi, Riaz Sobhani and Ramin Zibaie were each sentenced to four year prison terms. The judgments against them cast their activities in support of BIHE as crimes and as “evidence” of their purported aim to subvert the state. Two psychology teachers, Faran Hesami and her husband Kamran Rahimian, were also sentenced to four years in prison. Another BIHE administrator Vahid Mahmoudi was released on 8 January 2012 after his five-year sentence was reportedly suspended. [BWNS910] Iran Persecution, Iran; Baha'i Institute for Higher Education; BIHE; Persecution, Education; Z****

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