Bahá'í Library Online
. . . .
.

Bahá'í Chronology: years 201-

 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 1810s . . . 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s search, tips, key

Search by keyword:

201-

date event locations tags firsts see also
2010 12 Jan – 14 Jun The trial of Iran's seven Bahá'í leaders, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm begins in Tehran. The seven are charged with "espionage", "propaganda activities against the Islamic order", "the establishment of an illegal administration", "cooperation with Israel", "sending secret documents outside the country", "acting against the security of the country", and "corruption on earth". [BWNS748, BWNS778]

  • The profiles of the accused: Profiles.
  • The trial is closed to the public. A film crew and known interrogators are permitted entry. [Video "The Story of the Baha'i Seven" 13 May 2016 BIC]
Tihran; Iran Yaran; Court cases; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
2010 7 Feb Seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders appear in court for a second session of their trial. The session is once again closed and family members are not permitted in the courtroom. The hearing lasts just over one hour but does not go beyond procedural issues. No date is given for any future sessions. [BWNS756] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Court cases; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
2010 20 Mar The Universal House of Justice announced the retirement of Mr. Peter Khan (member since 1987) and Mr. Hooper Dunbar (member since 1988). [BWNS763] BWC Peter Khan; Hooper Dunbar; Universal House of Justice, Members of; BWNS
2010 20 Mar The election of Stephen Birkland and Stephen Hall to the Universal House of Justice to replace retiring members Peter Khan and Hooper Dunbar. [BWNS762] BWC Stephen Birkland; Stephen Hall; BWNS; Universal House of Justice, Members of
2010 12 Apr The seven imprisoned Iranian Baha'i leaders arrive at the court for their third appearance and their families are not allowed to enter, signalling a closed hearing. Inside the courtroom, however, the prisoners see numerous officials and interrogators from the Ministry of Intelligence – along with a film crew which had already set up its cameras. Concerned over the presence of non-judicial personnel in a supposedly closed hearing, the Baha'is – with the agreement of their attorneys – decline to be party to the proceedings. The judge adjournes the session and did not announce a date for continuing the trial. [BWNS767] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Court cases; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
2010 27 Apr The passing of Dr Nossrat Peseschkian (b. 18 June, 1933 in Iran d. 27 April, 2010 in Wiesbaden, Germany). He came to Germany in 1954 for his studies in medicine at the universities of Freiburg, Frankfurt am Main and Mainz. After his medical specialization and his dissertation, he had his postgraduate training in psychotherapy in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the United States. Prof. Peseschkian was the founder and leading figure in the growth and development of Positive Psychotherapy for almost 40 years. As an international lecturer, he had traveled to 67 countries worldwide. A global network of over 100 local, regional and national centers of Positive Psychotherapy has been established in 33 countries to date. Among his works is the book "Oriental Stories as Tools in Psychotherapy: The Merchant and the Parrot", which includes short stories from Persia and other countries that can be used in psychotherapy. [Wikipedia] Wiesbaden; Germany Nossrat Peseschkian; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Psychology; Stories; Persian literature
2010 30 Apr The visit of the President of the Republic of Ireland, Mary McAleese, visits the World Centre. [BWNS774] BWC; Ireland Presidents; Prominent visitors; Mary McAleese; BWNS
2010 May The publication of Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism," for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. The statement can be read at BIC10-0503. [BWNS770] New York; United States Sustainable Development; Prosperity; Consumerism; Materialism; Bahai International Community; BIC statements; Statements; Publications; United Nations; BWNS
2010 10 May New information is obtained regarding the conditions in which the seven Bahá'í prisoners are being held-two small rancid-smelling cells. They have not been given beds or bedding. There is no natural light in their cells so when the light is turned off during the day they are held in darkness. [Video "The Story of the Baha'i Seven" 13 May 2016 BIC] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
2010 12 Jun The seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned for more than two years in Iran make their fourth court appearance. [BIC Report] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Court cases; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights
2010 24 Jul The imprisonment of seven Baha'i leaders in Iran has been extended for a further two months after the lawyers made a request for bail. They have now been held for more than two years under a series of successive orders for their 'temporary' detention, which by law, must not exceed two months. The trial of the seven consisted of six brief court appearances and began on 12 January after they had been imprisoned without charge for 20 months. During this period they were allowed barely one hour's access to their legal counsel. The trial concluded on 14 June and no verdict has since been rendered. [BIC Report] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Court cases; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights
2010 8 Aug The sentence of 20 years in prison is announced for members of the "Yaran-i-Iran" or "Friends of Iran" in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court presided over by Judge Moqayesseh. The charges were several: "espionage", "collaborating with enemy states", "insulting the sacred", "propaganda against the state" and "forming an illegal group". The prominent civil and human right lawyer who defended them was Mr Abdolfattah Soltani. He would later serve a 13-year sentence in the Evin Prison for engaging in his profession. Another member of their legal defense team was the attorney Hadi Esmailzadeh who died in 2016 while serving a 4-year prison term for defending human rights cases. After the sentencing the seven Bahá'í leaders are sent to Gohardasht prison, about 50 kilometers west of Tehran. [BWNS789] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Evin Prison; Gohardasht prison; Abdolfattah Soltani; Hadi Esmailzadeh; Human rights; Prisons; BWNS
2010 15 Sep In the face of the chorus of condemnation for the 20-year sentence for the seven Bahá'í leaders from governments and human rights organizations around the world, the Appeals court reduced the sentences from 20 to 10 years by removing charges such as “Espionage and Collaboration with Israel”. This information was verbally released to Ms. Sabet’s lawyer. [BWNS793, BIC Report]
Following the reduction of his sentence, Vahid Tizfahm was transferred to Rajai-Shahr prison, where he remained until his release. Rajai-Shahr is located in the Alborz Province, and was at the time a maximum-security prison, a place for the “dangerous” individuals. According to Iran’s Department of Prisons, Security and Corrections’ Regulations, and based on the principle of Segregation of Crimes, Tizfahm’s transfer to Rajai-Shahr was not legal. [Iran Press Watch 29 March, 2018]
Tihran; Iran Yaran; Court cases; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; BWNS
2010 29 Oct After three years the restoration work is complete on the Ridván Garden some two kilometers southeast of the old city of Acre. [BWNS797] BWC; Akka Ridvan garden; Restoration; BWNS
2010 28 Nov Excavation work began on the new Bahá'í House of Worship for the South American continent, at a location in the hills of Peñalolén, a "commune" within metropolitan Santiago, at the foot of the Andes. [BWNS800] Santiago; Chile; Penalolen Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; BWNS
2010 7 Dec In an open letter to Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq Larijani, the Head of the Judiciary, the Bahá'í International Community today contrasted the country's persecution of Bahá'ís with Iran's own call for Muslim minorities to be treated fairly in other countries. [BWNS801] Iran Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq Larijani; Open letters; Bahai International Community; Persecution, Iran; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
2010 28 Dec – 1 Jan The conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors held at the World Centre attended by 79 of the world's 81 Counsellors, from some 58 countries. [BWNS804]
  • See the message from the Universal House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors dated 28 December, 2010.
BWC Counsellors; Conferences, Bahai; Counsellors conferences; BWNS
2011 Hundreds killed in crackdown on mass protests calling for fall of President Saleh, an end to corruption and repression and accountability for human rights violations. President Saleh forced to resign and sign power-transfer deal. Yemen Yemen, Recent history
2011 25 Jan January 25th marked the beginning of the revolution in Egypt where millions of protesters from all socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The security of the Bahá'ís during this period of unrest remained an issue. In February 2011, Bahá’í homes in Shouraneya were again set on fire, with some reports alleging the involvement of state security officers in the attack. Salafi leaders (an ultra-conservative reform branch within Sunni Islam) also continued to agitate against Bahá’í as a threat to national stability. Shouraneya; Egypt Salafi
2011 12 Feb Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet were transferred to the notorious Section 200 of Gohardasht Prison. The five men were still being held under close scrutiny in a wing of Gohardasht prison, reserved for political prisoners. [BWNS821] Iran Fariba Kamalabadi; Mahvash Sabet; Gohardasht Prison; BWNS
2011 21 Mar The launch of "Half Light Media". The mandate of this not-for-profit entity is to serve the Bahá'í Faith through the arts and various avenues of media. Founder Naysan Naraqi is assisted by fellow board members Collis Ta'eed and Fuad Ta'eed and scores of collaborators.
Their flagship project is "Bahá'í Blog" but it is so much more than a blog. It is a knowledge repository with almost 1,500 articles by more than 100 contributors. It is also a Video Bank with its own YouTube Channel. Through “Studio Sessions”, they invite Baha’is and their friends to film and record themselves singing something based on the Baha’i Writings.
Baha’i Blogcast with host Rainn Wilson is a collection of interviews with Bahá'ís and their friends. They have a presence on Sound Cloud where one can listen or download talks and music that appear on the site.
There is a page where they showcase photography, design and imagery from around the web that focuses on the Baha'i Faith and Spirituality and another called Personal Reflections, a project that captures portraits of people coupled with an excerpt from an interview with them about how the Bahá'í Faith has touched their lives. There is a calendar page and and another for quizzes where you can challenge yourself on a variety of topics.
Another service they provide is a directory with links to Official Bahá'í Sites, Non-Government Organizations, Education and Training sites, Blogs, Publications and Communities as well as other Bahá'í resources.
Internet; Social media
2011 30 Mar Six months after Iran's Appeal Court reduced their sentences from 20 to 10 years, the seven Baha'i leaders were told that the Appeals Court sentence was recognized as being in contrast with the Law and that their original 20-year sentences have been reinstated. [BWNS814] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Court cases; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; BWNS
2011 Apr In an open letter to their fellow citizens, the Bahá'ís of Egypt offer some advice regarding the future of their nation. [BWNS817] Egypt Open letters; BWNS
2011 Apr After more than two years of extensive restoration work the Shrine of the Báb is complete. The project required the restoration and conservation of the interior and exterior of the original 1909 structure, as well as measures to strengthen the Shrine against seismic forces. An entirely new retrofit design – combining concrete, steel and carbon fibre wrap technology – was needed for the whole building, from its foundation and original masonry to its octagon, drum and dome. More than 120 rock anchors were fixed into the mountain behind newly fortified retaining walls. [BWNS816] Haifa; Mount Carmel Bab, Shrine of; Restoration; BWNS
2011 Ridván The launch of the Third Five Year Plan (2011-2016). 28 December, 2010 – To the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors. BWC Five Year Plan (2011-2016); Teaching Plans; - Institute process
2011 Ridván Burundi elected its first National Spiritual Assembly in 17 years. Civil war and unrest during recent decades made it difficult for the Bahá'í community to administer its affairs. [BWNS816, BWNS822] Burundi NSA; Re-elected; BWNS
2011 3 May Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi and Mrs. Mahvash Sabet were transported to Qarchak prison, some 45 kilometres from Tehran where the conditions were even worse than those at Rajaei Shahr Prison. [BWNS821] Qarchak; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Qarchak prison; Rajaei Shahr Prison; Prisons; BWNS Conflict with below
2011 3 May After conviction the women were transferred 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] Karaj; Varamin Mahvash Sabet; Fariba Kamalabadi; Rajaei Shahr Prison Conflict with above
2011 20 May Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet are returned to Evin Prison in Tehran. They had spent a brief spell in appalling conditions at Qarchak prison, (from 3 May) some 45 kilometers from Tehran. [BIC Evin]
  • The five men are 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
2011 25 May Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet were transferred from appalling conditions at Qarchak prison to Evin prison in Tehran. [BWNS826] Qarchak; Iran; Tihran Qarchak prison; Evin prison; Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Prisons; BWNS
2011 29 May The official opening of UNESCO for Tolerance and Peace Square, situated at the point where Haifa's historic German Templer colony meets the terraced gardens of the Shrine of the Báb. [BWNS828] Haifa; Israel UNESCO for Tolerance and Peace Square; UNESCO; Tolerance; Peace; BWNS
2011 15 Jul The passing of former Universal House of Justice member Dr. Peter J. Khan in Brisbane, Australia. He served as a member of the Universal House of Justice from 1987 until April 2010. [BWNS840, BWNS841] BWC Peter Khan; Universal House of Justice; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
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 24 Sep The arrest of Abdolfattah Soltani, a senior member of the legal team representing a number of Bahá'ís in Iran await trial for providing higher education to youth barred from university. [BWNS849] Iran Abdolfattah Soltani; Lawyers; Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE); Persecution; Human Rights; Education; BWNS
2011 21 Oct Launch of Inciting Hatred: Iran's media campaign to demonize Baha'is. The Baha'i International Community prepared and launched a report that documents and analyses more than 400 press and media items over a 16-month period that typify an insidious state-sponsored effort to demonize and vilify Baha'is, using false accusations.
  • The report is available in English and in Persian.
New York; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Bahai International Community
2011 1 Dec The passing of former Universal House of Justice member Mr. Ian C. Semple in Switzerland. He served as a member of the Universal House of Justice from 2005 to 2013. [BWNS871] Switzerland Ian Semple; Universal House of Justice, Members of; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
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 12 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 Baha'i 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 Ruhi Institute; - Institute process
2012 Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi elected as president initiating a two-year transitional period. However, government forces continue 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 is 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 is 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 Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Architecture; Beauty; Economics; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad
2012 1 Feb The announcement of the publication of Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh in Korean. [BWNS885] South Korea Korean; Gleanings from the Writings of Bahaullah; Translation; Publications; BWNS
2012 20 Feb The passing of Anneliese Bopp, former Counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre at Bad Bruckenau, Northern Bavaria, Germany. [BWNS892] Bad Bruckenau; Germany Anneliese Bopp; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; International Teaching Centre; BWNS
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; Documetaries; Iranian Taboo; Reza Allamehzadeh; BWNS
2012 21 Apr Plans are announced for the building of the first two national Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs that are 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 first national Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs
2012 21 Apr Plans are announced that the Universal House of Justice is 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] Haifa; Israel; Battambang; Cambodia; Bihar Sharif; India; Matunda Soy; Kenya; Norte del Cauca; Colombia; Tanna; Vanuatu Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local First local Mashriqul-Adhkar
2012 11 May The Universal House of Justice sends 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
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 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] Maryland; United States Hoda Mahmoudi; Bahai Chair for World Peace; University of Maryland; Firsts, Other
2012 29 Oct The Baha'i International Community publishes a special report on The Baha'is of Semnan: A Case Study in Religious Hatred. This video report highlights the effect on one community of the Iranian government’s methodical and organized campaign to incite hatred against the Baha'is and eliminate them as a viable social entity.

The Baha'is of Semnan have 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 Baha'is are not confined to Semnan, the situation there is 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 26 Nov The Universal House of Justice shares, 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 offers 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 has requested us to make clear that the distribution of the document should not be seen as a call for widespread action in this area; it is intended as an instrument to raise further consciousness about the nature of social action and some of the methods it employs. [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 26 November, 2012] BWC - Institute process; Social action; Social and economic development
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] Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Justice; Bahai International Community; BWNS
2013 5 Mar The passing of Mas'ud Khamsi, former Counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre in Lima, Peru. [BWNS943] Lima; Peru Masud Khamsi; Counsellors; International Teaching Centre, Members 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] Bandar Abbas; Iran Ataollah Rezvani; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; BWNS
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 Ridván "In Santiago, Chile, where the Mother Temple of South America is being erected, the building work continues apace. The concrete construction of the foundations, basement, and service tunnel is complete, as are the columns that will bear the superstructure. The anticipation associated with this project is growing..." [Riḍván 2013 To the Bahá’ís of the World ] Santiago; Chile Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago
2013 21 Apr The announcement by the Universal House of Justice in the Ridván Message of the creation of the Office of Public Discourse. [Ridván 2013] BWC Office of Public Discourse; Public discourse
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] BWC 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 14 May The Bahá'í International Community launches 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 reflect the Government’s resolve to oppress completely the Iranian Bahá'í community, which faces a systematic, “cradle-to-grave” persecution that is among the most serious examples of state-sponsored religious persecution in the world today. [Five Years Too Many, BWNS954] Tihran; Iran; Worldwide Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Bahai International Community; BWNS
2013 24 - 26 Jun Contrary to the plans of the Department of Antiquities, the House of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdád is razed to make way for the construction of a mosque. [Message from the Universal House of Justice date 17 July 2013, SETPE1p170] Baghdad; Iraq House of Bahaullah (Baghdad); Mosques
2013 27 Jun In a message from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies it advises of the news of the destruction of the House of Baha’u’llah in Baghdad. [Message of 27 Jun 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 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] Worldwide Conferences, Bahai; Conferences, Youth; Conferences, International; Youth; BWNS
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] Vancouver; Canada Hushmand Fatheazam; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
2013 24 Aug Mr. Ataollah Rezvani is murdered in Bandar Abbas. 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
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 Baha’i 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] Vancouver; Canada Native Americans; Indigenous people; Reconciliation; Cultural diversity; Human rights; Documentaries; BWNS
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] Bahai International Community; Joshua Lincoln; Bahai International Community, Secretary-Generals; Albert Lincoln; Retirements; 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] Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Justice; Bahai International Community; BWNS
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 3 Dec Mr. Hamed Kamal Muhammad bin Haydara (sometimes referred to in the media as "Hamed Merza Kamali Serostani ") is arrested in al-Mukalla, capital of Hadramout province in eastern Yemen. It is 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 Baha'i 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. According to Baha'i estimates, there are about 2,000 Baha'is in Yemen [BIC website, Reuters] Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
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 8 May Despite a worldwide outcry, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards is continuing to destroy 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 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 1 Aug "The erection of the continental House of Worship for South America is moving towards its completion in Chile. The steel-frame superstructure has been almost entirely installed, the placement of the interior translucent stone panels is under way, and the landscaping and the construction of auxiliary facilities are progressing according to schedule. The friends in Santiago, supported by others from throughout the Americas, have been diligently striving to prepare the surrounding population for the emergence of the House of Worship; increasing numbers are participating in the community-building endeavours, and a stream of visitors are being welcomed to the Temple site for prayer and discussion on the practical and spiritual dimensions of the enterprise. Measures are currently being put in place in that country in anticipation of the many demands that are sure to arise once the Temple is 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 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 Sep In Yemen, Houthis call for mass protests after government slashes fuel subsidies. The group advances south and seizes Yemen’s capital, Sana’a overthrowing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's internationally-recognised government. By February 2015 the group dissolves parliament and announces plans for a transitional government. Sanaa; Yemen Yemen, Recent history
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 entails identifying Bahá'í university applicants and then calling them in so they can quietly be confirmed as ineligible under the government's unjust policies and then be sent away without any documentation or proof that it was because they are Bahá'ís that they were prevented from enrolling. [BWNS1021] Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; BWNS
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 14 Sep Some 500 people attend the unveiling of the design of the first local Baha’i House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia [BWNS1020]
  • Julian Gutierrez Chacon is the architect for the House of Worship.
  • The relationship between the environment of the region and the community is 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 is 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 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 document while blindfolded. In September of 2014 NGOs discovered where he was detained and tortured and 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 Nov Fariba Kamalabadi, after having her fourth request to join her daughter Taraneh for her wedding denied, writes her a letter from Evin Prison. [Iran Press Watch] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Evin Prison; Prisons; Human rights
2015 Clashes between pro and anti Huthis escalate. After President Hadi appeals to Gulf and Arab states to intervene militarily, Saudi Arabian-led military coalition launches air strikes against the Huthi armed group positions in Sana’a and Sa’da. President Hadi flees to Saudi Arabia. Over the next six months the conflict spreads across Yemen. Yemen Yemen, Recent history
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
2015 20 Jan The website of the worldwide Bahá'í community at www.bahai.org has been launched in a new version, representing the latest stage in the development of an official presence on the Web that extends back to 1996. [BWNS1037] BWC Websites; Internet; BWNS
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. Sandy; Cambridge; United Kingdom Afnan Library Trust; Afnan; Hasan Balyuzi; Libraries; Bahai studies; Scholarship; BWNS
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 is 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 is also screened in some 300 locations around the world. [BWNS1041, BWNS1025] Los Angeles; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; Documentaries; Education is not a Crime; BWNS
2015 Mar 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.

A Saudi-led coalition, backed by the United States, began a campaign against Houthi forces allied with ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh in support of Hadi's government. The Houthis were dislodged from most of the south, but remained in control of Sanaa and much of the north.

In the southern part of the country, the United Arab Emirates, which is 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.

Yemen Yemen, Recent history
2015 21 Mar The implementation of the Badí' Calendar on the first day of the ten 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 require 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]

Badi calendar; Bahaullah, Birth of; Bab, Birth of; Naw-Ruz; Holy days; Twin Holy days; Gradual implementation of laws; Laws first use of the Badí calendar
2015 14 May A global campaign called "Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha'i Leaders" to call attention to the long and unjust imprisonment of seven Iranian Baha'i leaders is 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 17 July Some 300 people attend the unveiling of the design of the first local Baha’i House of Worship in Battambang, Cambodia [BWNS 1062]
  • See BWNS for pictures.
Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; BWNS first local house of worship in Cambodia
2015 Sep As of this date the Baha’i 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 are 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 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 15 Nov The groundbreaking ceremony of the first local Baha’i 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 Bab and the Birth of Baha'u'llah. [BWNS1082]
  • See BWNS for pictures.
Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; Foundation stones and groundbreaking; BWNS first local house of worship in Cambodia
2015 21 Dec Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a senior Muslim cleric in Iran, has 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
2016 The conflict continues to rage throughout the year. UN-sponsored peace talks begin in Kuwait in April but breakdown 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
2016 8 Mar The earthworks for the Local Baha’i House of Worship in Battambang, Cambodia is completed. [BWNS1100] Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; BWNS
2016 Ridván The launch of the Fourth Five Year Plan (2016-2021).
  • The principle goals of the Plan are 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 25 Apr Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara, who has 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 has been sent to solitary confinement in the National Security Prison on the orders of Mr. Rajeh Zayed, the prosecutor who has caused the delays which have kept him in jail for more than three years and who has been mainly responsible for the arrest and persecution of Baha’is in Yemen. Mr. Rajeh Zayed also recently said he plans to delay Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara’s court hearings and treatment until he “dies in jail.” He is suffering from serious health conditions that require proper medical attention. He stands 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] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Human rights
2016 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 Baha'i communities in Australasia as a Counsellor and an Auxiliary Board member and as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia. [BWNS1103] Queanbeyan; Australia In Memoriam; Joy Stevenson; International Teaching Centre, Members of; BWNS
2016 29 Apr In observance of the eighth anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of seven Iranian Baha’i leaders, the Baha’i International Community is launching a global campaign calling for their immediate release. Taking the theme “Enough! Release the Baha’i Seven,” the campaign will emphasize the fact that, under Iran’s own national penal code, the seven are now overdue for conditional release. [Enough!]
  • A special campaign page has been established with information about their current legal situation and other resources. [Enough! Release the Bahá'í Seven].
  • The campaign includes an account on FaceBook.
  • and a Twitter handle. The hashtag for the campaign is: #ReleaseBahai7Now.
Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
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 Bab & Baha'u'llah,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 12 May In commemoration of the incarceration of the Yaran in Iran in 2008 the International Bahá'í Community (BIC) releases a video entitled Enough! Release the Baha’i Seven Now. Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Bahai International Community
2016 13 May Fariba Kamalabadi, while on a five-day furlough from Evin Prison, meets with former Tehran MP Faezeh Hashemi. It is the first temporary leave she has been granted during her eight years of imprisonment.

Faezeh Hashemi is the activist daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and she previously shared a prison cell with Kamalabadi in Evin Prison. Hashemi is strongly condemned by politicians and religious leaders. A high-ranking member of the Iranian Judiciary vows that action will be taken against her. Despite the widespread criticism she has received from powerful quarters in Iran, Faezeh Hashemi publicly defends 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 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 Baha’i 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 23 - 24 May The first World Humanitarian Summit is 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 Baha'i 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 10 Aug Armed, officers masked in balaclavas from Yemen’s National Security Bureau (NSB) intelligence agency, which works 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 Baha’i-run Nida Foundation for Development. Sixty-five people were arrested including 14 women and six people under 18 without an arrest warrant. Half were Baha'is and, currently, it is believed some fourteen remain 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 6 Sep In a letter the BIC calls on Iranian President Rouhani to end systematic economic oppression. The letter signed by Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations, draws 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 16 Sep For a progress report on the construction of the Local House of Worship in Battanbang, Cambodia see BWNS1120 Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; BWNS
2016 26 Sep The murder of Farhang Amiri in Yazd. BWNS1133
  • 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 states
    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.
  • A group of extremists murdered Amiri’s father, Hedayatollah Daftari, and six others in the village of Hormozak in Yazd province more than 60 years ago. At the time, Farhang was 13 months old. See entry for July 28th, 1955 for 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 11 Oct The final newsreel on the construction of the Baha’i House of Worship for South America has been released as the highly-anticipated dedication of the Temple approaches. The video highlights major developments over the past year and the growing connection of the community to the Temple and the activities of service and worship that it has inspired. [Video][Architect Siamak Hariri] Santiago; Chile Siamak Hariri; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture
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 Baha'i 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
Quick Facts
Location: Santiago, Chile
Foundation Stone:
Construction Period: 2013 – October 2016
Site Dedication:13-16 October 2016
Architect Siamak Hariri
Landscape Architect; Juan Grimm
Seating:
Dimensions: 2,415 square-metre (26,000 square-feet)
Cost: approximately $30m
Dependencies:
References: BWNS800, BWNS921, BWNS940, BWNS959, BWNS982, BWNS1123, BWNS1125, BWNS1055, BWNS1199
Santiago; Chile Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Siamak Hariri; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Architects; Juan Grimm; Counsellors; Marble; Gardens; BWNS
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 reference the situation of Baha’is 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-Baha'i articles, broadcasts, and webpages from late December 2009 through May 2011 and can be found here.
  • A list of the 222 Baha’is 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 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, writes 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 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 27 Nov Nadim al-Sakkaf and his brother Nader, who were detained from August 10th, are unexpectedly released from prison in Sana'a. Their release, it is 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, remains in custody. [Religion News Service 20161129]

Photos of the four can be found on the same page.

Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
2017 Jan The publication of Training Institutes: Attaining a Higher Level of Functioning by the International Teaching Centre. BWC Training Institutes; - Institute process; Publications
2017 18 Jan The announcement of the publication of Days of Remembrance: Selections from the Writings of Baha'u'llah for Baha'i 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 Baha'u'llah for Baha'i Holy Days. [BWNS1148] BWC Days of Remembrance (book); Holy days; Bahaullah, Writings of; Publications; Translation; BWNS
2017 15 Feb The Bahá'í International Community (BIC) announces the launch of a website for the Bahá'ís of Iran at Bahaisofiran.org. "Although the official website of the worldwide Baha'i community has recently been made available in Persian and a number of other languages, the new "Baha'is of Iran" website is the first website of the Baha'i community of Iran. This development is especially important at a time when a large volume of anti-Baha'i propaganda has proliferated in that country. Since 2013 alone, more than 20,000 such pieces have been disseminated in Iran's media." [BWNS1152, The Baha'i Question Revisited] Iran Websites; BWNS
2017 23 Feb Plans for the construction of the local Baha’i House of Worship in Agua Azul, a village in Norte del Cauca, Colombia, have recently 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 contribute to the spiritual and material progress of communities in and around Norte del Cauca. Inspired by the Temple, these community-building activities have multiplied, and a spirit of prayer, devotion, and participation has begun to increasingly permeate the area.

Parallel to this, the community has been undertaking 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 has 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 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 19 Apr Houthi-Saleh political security officers arrested Walid Ayyash, Mahmood Humaid, and Badi'u'llah Sanai, all members of the Baha’i community, at a check point near the city border of Hudiedah. Sanai was released one week later, but was rearrested in May. All three remain detained, their whereabouts unknown. [UN News Centre 22 May 2017]

In total over 25 Baha’is, including many prominent members of the Baha’i community who assist with organization of community affairs at the national level were arrested around the time. In October it was reported that eight Baha’is were still detained but the place of detention was not known. [BWNS1215]

Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; BWNS
2017 25 Apr The formation of the human rights organization, "The Yemeni Initiative for Defending Baha’i Rights". [facebook page] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
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 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 states that there are 1,115 Representatives and Deputy Trustees worldwide in 31 National and Regional Boards of Trustees. Toronto; Canada Huququllah; Huququllah, Trustees of
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] Harlem; New York; Los Angeles; California; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; Documentaries; Education is not a Crime; BWNS
2017 12 May The Baha'i International Community launches a global campaign calling for the immediate release of the seven Iranian Baha'i leaders, unjustly imprisoned for nine years as of the 14th of May. The theme of the campaign, “Not Another Year,” is 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 15 May Hundreds of Yemenis gathered in front of the Criminal Prosecution building in the capital city of Sanaa. They were denouncing the arrest of Yemeni citizens of the Baha’i 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 Baha’i 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 Baha’i who was in the car, Ayyash was arrested by Houthi forces and transferred to the Hudaydah prison. A statement by the tribal leaders calls 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 Sanaa. When that failed to happen, they organized the demonstration. [TRACKPERSIA 25 Aug 2017]

Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
2017 18 Jun The plan for the design of the Local Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Tanna was announced. Ashkan Mostaghim of Mostaghim & Associates, a firm from Sydney, Australia, has been chosen as the Temple’s architect. His design was on the shortlist for the Continental Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Santiago. [BWNS1175] Tanna; Vanuatu Mashriqul-Adhkar, Vanuatu; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Architecture; Architects; Ashkan Mostaghim; BWNS
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 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 Baha’u’llah. [BWNS1188] BWC; Haifa Pilgrimage; Pilgrim Reception Centre; Pilgrim Houses; 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 has galvanized action towards the betterment of the community and brought neighbours together. it will help provide for the spiritual needs of Cambodia’s growing Baha’i 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. Baha’i 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 Baha’i 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 Baha’i communities in Southeast Asia. The Universal House of Justice was represented by Ms. Sokuntheary Reth who serves on the Continental Board of Counsellors in Asia. [BWNS1185, BWNS1187, BWNS1189, BWNS1190 (slide show), BWNS1191 (video), BWNS1192]

Battambang; Cambodia 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 19 Sep The release of Mahvash Sabet, one of the seven members of the former leadership group of the Baha'is in Iran known as the Yaran, after 10 years of confinement in Iran's notorious Evin and Raja'i Shahr prisons. She was arrested in March 2008 and is 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: Baha'i 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 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 commemmoration 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 Sep Arrests of Baha’is in Yemen has drawn 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 Baha’i detainees. The Council is the principal human rights body at the UN and is 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 Baha’is 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 postponed 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 Baha’i community in general and that efforts were being made to turn public opinion against all of the Baha’is under the premise that they are secretly plotting to stir unrest in Yemen.

    The resolution establishes a Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts tasked with monitoring and reporting on the situation on human rights in Yemen. It is 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, Arrest; Persecution; United Nations; Human Rights
    2017 18 Oct The release of the film "Light to the World". The 51 minute film tells the story of Baha’u’llah’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 18 - 22 Oct The Iranian Baha’i 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 Baha’i-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 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 22 Oct The bicentenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh is commemorated around the world. A multi-lingual web page is implemented to track the celebrations. [BWNS1212] BWC Bahaullah, Birth of; Twin Holy days; Holy days; Bahaullah, Life of; Centenaries; BWNS
    2017 22 Oct Yemeni security forces raided a Baha’i gathering in Sana’a opening fire on the small group of people assembled to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah. 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 Baha’is in Yemen, especially in Sana’a, which is 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
    2017 near the end of Oct Fariba Kamalabadi, a member of the former leadership group of the Baha’is 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 is also 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 Baha’i 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. See the article in The Guardian for details.
    Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Court cases; BWNS
    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 Baha’i cult” and “publishing falsehoods.” [IFMAT 14NOV17] Tihran; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution
    2017 6 Nov - 22 Jan An exhibition of Baha’u’llah’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 Baha’u’llah, 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] 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 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 Baha’i Faith and highlighted the economic and educational discrimination against them and called on Iran to release the more than 90 Baha’is who were unjustly held in Iranian prisons. The resolution follows a strongly worded document from the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir. Her 23-page report, released earlier this session, 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 16 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; Reforestation; Environment; BWNS
    2017 30 Nov Baha’is 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 is considered the most prominent ceremony where Baha’is officially announced themselves for the first time in 47 years, as the Baathist Revolutionary Command Council issued Decree No. 105 in 1970 to ban Baha’i activities. As a consequence, Baha’i administrative institutions in Iraq were dissolved and any activity where Baha’is declared their religious identity was punishable by imprisonment. During the proceedings they asked for support to rescind the law on prohibiting Baha’i activity, which is still in effect despite the fact that the law contradicts the 2005 constitution, which guarantees freedom of belief to all citizens. Millions of Baha’is around the world celebrated the honorary bicentennial of the birth of Baha'u'llah on Oct. 21-22. Baha’is 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 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] Canada; Saint Pierre and Miquelon Huququllah, Trustees of
    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 appears 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 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] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Court cases; BWNS
    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
    2018 2 Jan The Specialized Criminal Court of the Houthi militia in Yemen have sentenced detainee Hammed bin Haidara to death on the backdrop of his Bahá'í beliefs. 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, has 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 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 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 focuses on the situation of religious minority children in educational settings in Burma, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan. The report scrutinizes 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 are focused on the Shi’a Muslim perspective and are silent on any other religions. This has an adverse effect on religious minorities. Children belonging to the Baha’i religion are denied access to schools and often access to higher education. Baha’i children that are lucky to be enrolled in schools are not free to learn or partake in their religious belief. According to the CSW report, a memorandum from the Iran government stated that Baha’i 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 are to be expelled if they are found to be Baha’i. Only Muslim or students belonging to recognized religions are allowed to take the national enrolment exam. The report further alleges that some Baha’i children have 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 16 Feb The release of Saeid Rezaie, one of the seven members of the Yaran, the former leadership group of the Baha’is 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 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 make 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 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 suffers from old age and multiple ailments. He has been in prison since May 18, 2008. Throughout his 10-year term he has 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 will be completed on March 22 of this year. [Iran Press Watch 18815] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Court cases
    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 have been completed and work has begun on the finishing of the floor and the walls as well as the placement of the roof tiles. Construction has begun in a number of auxiliary buildings. [BWNS1240] Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Columbia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local
    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; Women; Empowerment; Economics; United Nations; 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 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]
    • According to BIC, there were 97 Baha'is 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 21 Mar The design for the national Baha’i House of Worship of Papua New Guinea (PNG) was unveiled. Originally from New Zealand, Rodney Hancock—one of two individuals who brought the Baha’i 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] 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 22 Mar Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi, the Secretary-General of Yemen’s Shia political party Ansar Allah, accused Baha’is of seeking to create disunity among Muslims. It was reported that the Houthis have also launched a social media campaign against Baha’is. "The Yemeni Initiative for Defending Baha’i 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
    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 Baha’is, Ahmadis, Christians and a number of Islamic sects during his Friday speech on the occasion of Rajab Friday. This marks a clear call for a sectarian war against minorities and specifically the Bahá'í’s and parallels the already ongoing systematic attack against Bahá'ís including arbitrary arrests, persecution, and torture. This marks a new stage in Houthi persecution, until now they had exercised a degree of “political dissimulation” to conceal their direct involvement, however, since al-Houthi’s public speech, Houthis are now openly spearheading as well as escalating the systematic persecution of Baha’is. [Iran Press Watch 1 April, 2018] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
    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 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 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 incorporates 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 woman to design a Baha’i House of Worship. [BWNS1252] 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 22 Apr The announcement of the retirement of Universal House of Justice members Mr. Gustavo Correa, 70, and Dr. Firaydoun Javaheri, 72. Mr. Correa is 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 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 is too ill to be incarcerated. Naeimi, who has 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 has hypertrophy, a condition where the heart muscle thickens and he is afflicted with Syncope disease, which causes temporary losses of consciousness. Tihran; Iran Yaran; Rajaei Shahr Prison; Prisons; Persecution, Iran
    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 provides an illustration of the Baha’i 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 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]

    The film A Widening Embrace was screened at the Convention, enriching the consultations of the delegates. Many of the themes discussed over the days of the Convention were highlighted in the practical examples presented in the documentary. 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 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
    Home Site Map Forum Links Copyright About Contact
    .
    . .