ReligionPublished Thursday, February 7, 2002
A brief history
Unlike Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, the Baha'i faith is not officially recognized by the Iranian government.
The Baha'i faith started in 1844, when a Persian merchant known as the Bab (which means "gate" in Arabic) proclaimed that his purpose was to prepare humanity for a new messenger. The Bab was executed by Muslim leaders, an event that Baha'is observe annually on July 9.
One of the Bab's followers was Mirza Husayn-Ali, who was imprisoned and exiled for his belief that he was the new messenger. He renamed himself Baha'u'llah, which means "glory of God."
Baha'u'llah promoted the equality of the sexes and counseled humankind to make an effort to do away with prejudice. Baha'is think prejudice is a spiritual disease: It requires a spiritual solution that can come only from God.
In the United States, the Baha'i faith was spread by a Chicago insurance salesman in 1893 who had learned of the faith in England.
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