Special report: David Kelly
Suicide is condemned in the Baha'i writings
Wednesday September 3, 2003
A leader of the religion to which David Kelly converted said yesterday that the Baha'i faith did not condone suicide.
Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the UK, said Dr Kelly had joined the faith in September 1999 while in the US.
Mr Leith told the Hutton inquiry that press reports after the scientist's death had led to the posting of a statement on a Baha'i website stressing that suicide was not acceptable.
He said: "The act of suicide is condemned in the Baha'i writings because it is an undue curtailment of the life that should be lived to the full. However, Baha'is and the Baha'i institutions never would take a condemnatory attitude to people who unfortunately commit suicide. Quite the opposite.
"There would begreat sympathy, as indeed there has been for Dr Kelly, and Baha'is would pray for the progress of the soul of that person as they have for the soul of Dr Kelly."
Dr Kelly was briefly the treasurer of his local Baha'i group in Oxfordshire and attended meetings at Mr Leith's home in Abingdon.
Mr Leith also said a newspaper report that said Dr Kelly had attacked the government's September 2002 dossier was wrong: "The particular press comment claimed that he had spoken at a Baha'i meeting critically about the September dossier. This was not the case. I was at that meeting."
Mr Leith said there were five to six million followers of the Baha'i faith globally. It had emerged in the mid 19th century in Persia.
Mr Leith said April 21 was an auspicious day for the religion because that was the date in 1863 when its founder, Baha'u'llah, announced a special mission - "that he had come to bring a message from God, that the message that God wished the world to have at this particular time is that all human beings of whatever ethnic group, whatever creed, whatever language, wherever they live in the world are all part of a single human family and that the work of this time is to make that a reality".
©Copyright 2003, Guardian (UK)
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