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from the chronology

date event locations tags see also
1911 10 Sep `Abdu'l-Bahá gives His first public address in the West in the City Temple Church in Holborn, London to an audience of over 2,000 people. He proclaimed that “This is a new cycle of human power…the gift of God in this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and the fundamental oneness of religion.” [ABL17-20, AB140; BW2:227; GPB283–4, In the Footsteps of 'Abdu'l-Bahá p11]
  • He spoke at the invitation of The Reverend R J Campbell. Mr. Wellesly Tudor-Pole read the translation. [CH154]
    • For the text of His talk see AB140–2.
    • For the words He wrote in the pulpit Bible see AB145. The church was bombed in World War II and the pulpit Bible was destroyed. The church was rebuilt in 1958.
    • For a photo see BWNS792.
  • London; United Kingdom Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, First Western tour; Abdul-Baha, Talks at churches; Firsts, Other; BWNS
    1913 18 Jan `Abdu'l-Bahá received guests from the Muslim Community of Britain and was asked to speak at the Shah Jehan Mosque at Woking, one of the two mosques in England at the time and the first built in England and perhaps Western Europe. He spoke on the subject of the Unity of Religions and translation was done by Mírzá Ahmad Sohrab. [CH152, AB370, BW3p278-279, BW4p377]
    • Note ABTM303 reports that this event took place on the 17th of January.
    • Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner (1840–1899) was the builder of the Oriental Institute, founded to train Asians living in Europe for the learned professions, to the study of linguistics and culture, and for the teaching of languages to Europeans who wished to travel to the East. To cater for the spiritual needs of students of all major faiths and to provide for any who lived within reach, Dr. Leitner intended to build a synagogue, a church, a temple and a mosque. Only the Shah Jehan Mosque was completed. (Oct-Nov 1889). The Institute relied too heavily upon Dr. Leitner’s personal enthusiasm and wealth and it did not survive his early death in March of 1899. The Mosque was closed and practically empty between 1899 and 1912. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, a prominent Kashmiri lawyer and founder of the Woking Muslim Mission, worked to repair and re-open the Mosque in 1913. It was the first formal place of Islamic worship in England and became a centre of Islam in the UK. [Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner]
    • For a photo of the gathering see BW3p280 or BWNS818.
    Woking; Surrey; United Kingdom Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Mosques; Unity of religion; Interfaith dialogue; BWNS
    1913 7 Apr `Abdu'l-Bahá travels to Bad Mergentheim by automobile to visit the hotel and mineral bath owned by Consul Schwarz, (Later named Disciple of `Abdu'l-Bahá by Shoghi Effendi). [AB383]
    • Later, in 1916 the local Bahá'í community commemorated the visit with the dedication of a monument, a life-sized likeness of the head of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on a granite stone about two metres in height. The Nazis removed it in 1937 but it was replaced in 2007. [BWNS524]
    Bad Mergentheim; Germany Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Cars; Consul Schwarz; Disciples of Abdul-Baha; Monuments; Abdul-Baha, Pictures and portraits; Portraits; World War II; BWNS
    1918 23 Sep "During the early years of World War I, though no longer imprisoned, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá faced repeated threats against His life by authorities who were antagonistic towards Him and the Baha’is. The Commander of the Ottoman fourth army corps had even threatened to crucify ‘Abdu’l-Bahá if the Turkish army were ever to be displaced out of Haifa." Lady Blomfield in London had learned of these threats and through her contacts in Cabinet, the British Army was instructed to protect Him and His family. [BWNS69, BWNS1202]

    The British army took the city in the 1st Battle of Haifa: The battle was won due to a courageous uphill assault by the Jodhpur Lancers of the Indian Army who took the German and Turkish artillery and machine gun emplacements on top of Mount Carmel by surprise. This attack is believed to have been one of the last cavalry charge in modern military history. Each year, on this date, the Indian Army commemorates this victory as Haifa Day. [AY104; BBR335; DH148, Scroll In 68095]

    • For details of the battle see BBR335-6.
    • For letters from the British authorities stating that `Abdu'l-Bahá is safe see BBR336-7.
    Mount Carmel; Haifa; Israel World War I; War (general); History (general); Jodhpur Lancers; Indian Army; Germany; Turkey; Haifa Day; Abdul-Baha, Death threats to; BWNS; Lady Blomfield
    1940 9 Feb The monuments of Navváb and the Purest Branch are dedicated at a ceremony in Haifa. [ZK293]
    • For details of the ceremony, see ZK293–6.
    • Marble for the Monument Gardens came from Chiampo, Italy as did marble for the Archives Building, the Resting Place of Shoghi Effendi, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the Terraces Project, and the Houses of Worship in India and Samoa. [BWNS1223]
    Mount Carmel; BWC; Chiampo; Italy Navvab (Asiyih Khanum); Mirza Mihdi (Purest Branch); Monument Gardens; Marble; BWNS; Shoghi Effendi, Life Of
    1943 The first Local Spiritual Assembly was formed in Jamaica. [BWNS233] Jamaica First Local Spiritual Assemblies; BWNS
    1947 1 Feb Reflecting the unity in diversity highly valued by the Baha'i community, Amin Banani, Mildred Mottahedeh, Hilda Yen, and Matthew Bullock presented the statement "A Baha'i Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights" to the UN, which ended by quoting a well-known passage by Baha'u'llah: "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."

    Amin Banani was an influential scholar; Mildred Mottahedeh was a member of the International Baha'i Council from 1961-63 and later a representative of the BIC for many years; Hilda Yen was a leading figure in Chinese-American society who worked as a diplomat for many years; and Matthew Bullock was a Knight of Baha'u'llah for the Dutch West Indies, on this day was also a Knight for the Netherlands Antilles, and later a representative of the BIC. [BWNS1172]

    New York; United States United Nations; Matthew Bullock; Bahai International Community; Firsts, Other; BWNS
    1953 The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Dr. K. M. Fozdar on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. [BWNS271] Andaman and Nicobar Islands Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1953 The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Edith Danielsen in the Cook Islands. [BWNS265] Cook Islands; Pacific Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1953 The arrival of Knights of Bahá'u'lláh Dr. Mihdi Samandari and Mrs. Ursula Samandari (Newman) in Mogadishu, Somalia [BWNS230] Mogadishu; Somalia Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1953 2 May The House of Worship in Wilmette is dedicated in a public ceremony. [BW12:142, BWNS218]
  • For the text of the Guardian’s message of dedication see BW12:141–2.
  • For an account of the event see BW12:154–63.
  • See The Bahá'í Faith 1844-1952 Information Statistical & Comparative p24-26 for project statistics and a chronology of events.
  • Towards the end of his life in Tehran, Ahmad (of "Tablet of Ahmad" fame) had entrusted the original Tablet to his grandson Jamal who in turn, out of the purity of his heart and his devotion to the Faith of God offered it as a gift to Hand of the Cause, Trustee of Huqúq, the son and brother of two illustrious martyrs, Jinab-i-Valiyu'llah Varqá. When Jinab-i-Varqa, according to the instructions of the beloved Guardian, was sent to take part in this dedication ceremony he brought this most precious Tablet as his offering to the archives of the Bahá'ís of the United States. [A Flame of Fire by A.Q. Faizi.]
  • See the message of the Universal House of Justice dated 1 August, 2014 for more on the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in Wilmette.
  • Quick Facts
    Location: Wilmette, Illinois, U.S. Cook County
    Administration: On the same day as the interment of the sacred remains of the Báb on Mount Carmel, March 21st, 1909, the first American Bahá'í Convention opened in Chicago. The Convention established the 'Bahá'í Temple Unity', incorporated to hold title to the Temple property and to provide for its construction. A constitution was framed and an Executive Board of the Bahá'í Temple Unity elected. This body became the future National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada. [BBD39; BBRSM:106; BW10:179; GPB349; PP397; SBBH1:146; BFA2:XVII, 309; BW13:849; MBW142–3]
    Foundation Stone: by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1 May, 1912
    Construction Period:The purchase of the site completed: 1914. Design Chosen: 1920. Superstructure: 1921 – 1 May 1931. External Ornamentation: June 1932 -1943. Interior: 1951
    Dedication: 1 May 1953
    Architects: Louis Bourgeois with Alfred Shaw (interior cladding)
    Seating: 1,191
    Dimensions: 203ft at the base and 191ft high
    Cost: $2.6 million
    Dependencies: Construction of a home for the aged was began in December, 1957 and inaugurated on 1 February, 1959. It is located about three blocks away.
    Note: In GPB349 Shoghi Effendi states that “…this enterprise—the crowning achievement of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the first Bahá’í century…”.
    References: CEBF236-241,GPB348-353, MDM121-239, The Dawning Place

    Wilmette; United States Mashriqul-Adhkar, Wilmette; Lawh-i-Ahmad (Tablet of Ahmad (Arabic)); Gifts; Archives; Dedications; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Alfred Shaw; Architects; Bahai home for the aged; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Dependencies of; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Shoghi Effendi, Life of
    1953 2 Aug Fred Schechter, an American, arrives in Djibouti and is named a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for French Somaliland. [BW13:451]
    • Mr Schechter went on to pioneer to several Latin American countries, he spent thirteen year on the Continental Board of Councillors for the Americas and served on the International Teaching Centre. He passed away on 27 January 2017 in California, U.S.A. He was 89 years old. [BWNS1149]
    French Somaliland (Djibouti); Djibouti Fred Schechter; Knights of Bahaullah; Counsellors; International Teaching Centre, Members of; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    1953 Sep The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Enayat Sohaili in Nyasaland (now known as Malawi) [BWNS240] Nyasaland; Malawi; Africa Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1953 20 Sep The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Mr. Max Kanyerezi in Middle Congo (now called Republic of Congo) [BWNS246] Congo, Republic of; Africa Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1953 Oct The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Emma Rice, followed one week later by Knights Stanley and Florence Bagley and their three teenage children, Susan, Gerrold and Carol in Palermo, Sicily. [BWNS254] Sicily; Italy Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1953 Oct The superstructure of the Shrine of the Báb is completed. [BBD210; CB324–5; PP235; ZK85–6]
    • Marble for the Shrine of the Báb came from Chiampo, Italy as did marble for the Archives Building, the Resting Place of Shoghi Effendi, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the Terraces Project, the Monument Gardens and the Houses of Worship in India and Samoa. [BWNS1223]
    • 'Abdu'l-Bahá described the Shrine of the Báb as the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. [ABF18]
    BWC; Haifa; Mount Carmel; Chiampo; Italy Bab, Shrine of; Marble; BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre; Shoghi Effendi, Life of; Shoghi Effendi, Basic timeline; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    1953 13 Oct Una Townshend arrives in Malta and is named a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh. [BW13:454, BWNS234] Malta Una Townshend; Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1953 17 Oct The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Bertha Dobbins in Vanuatu. [BWNS256] Vanuatu; Oceania Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1953 Nov The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Kamil Abbas in the Seychelles. [BWNS272] Seychelles; Africa Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1953 11 Nov Ottilie Rhein (1903-79), an American of German origin, arrives in Mauritius and is named a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for the island. [BW13:454]
    • For the story of her life see BW18:703–5.
    • On her first expedition to provide necessities for living, she met the proprietor of a shop, Mr. Yim Lim, who became the first resident of the country to join the Faith. [BWNS274]
    Mauritius Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1953 Dec The arrival, from Egypt, of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Labib Isfahani in Dakar, Senegal. He was followed by his brother Habib Isfahani in April of 1954 who also received the honour. [BW13:452, BWNS283] Dakar; Senegal; Africa Knights of Bahaullah; Labib Isfahani; Habib Isfahani; BWNS; Z****
    1954 The arrival in Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia) of Knights of Bahá'u'lláh Izzat'u'llah Zahrai, Douglas Kadenhe, Nura Faridian (now Steiner), Enayat and Iran Sohaili, Shidan Fat'he-Aazam (later member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Africa) and his wife Florence. [BWNS275] Zimbabwe; Africa Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Violet Noehnke on the Admiralty Islands, now Manus Province in Papua New Guinea. [BWNS307, BWNS312] Admiralty Islands; Manus Province; Papua New Guinea Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS Find date
    1954 The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Dulcie Dive in the Cook Islands. [BWNS265] Cook Islands Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1954 The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Ted Cardell in South West Africa (now called Namibia). [BWNS280] South West Africa (Namibia); Namibia Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 Jan The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Abdu'l Rahman Zarqani, in the Seychelles. [BWNS272] Seychelles; Africa Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1954 25 Jan Stanley P. Bolton, Jr. arrives in Nuku’alofa, on Tongatapu Island, from Australia and is named a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for Tonga Islands. [BW13:456, BWNS286] Tonga Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1954 1 Mar The arrival of Knights of Bahá'u'lláh Alvin and Gertrude Blum in the Solomon Islands. [BWNS291] Solomon Islands Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1954 4 Mar The arrival of Knights of Bahá'u'lláh Elena (Marsella) and Roy Fernie in Kiribati. [BWNS301, BW13:452]

    They had left their home in Panama and their service on the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama to pioneer. They arrived on the island of Abaiang (aka Charlotte Island, of the Gilbert Islands), on March 4, 1954 and for this service they were named Knights of Baha'u'llah. About the first of June 1954, former Catholic seminarian and mission teacher Peter Kanere Koru became the first convert on the island.

    Their teaching work brought opposition from the Roman Catholic priest who told his congregation not to attend the Bahá'í meetings. He began to criticize them in the Roman Catholic newsletter and actually contributed to the knowledge of the Faith because the newsletter had a wide distribution.

    The priest persisted in his opposition by informing his bishop who asked the government to send the Fernies away and to send Peter Kanere back to his native island of Tabiteuea. At the time, to be a registered religious organization required a membership of at least 100 believers so the government approved sending the Fernies away however, in a single night some 300 people registered. A certificate of registration was issued on the 24th of September, 1955, but not before they managed to send Roy Fernie away. Elena continued the teaching work on her own and was responsible for firmly establishing the Faith on Abaiang.

    Meanwhile, Peter Kanere, back on his home island, managed to teach a Protestant minister who was under discipline of his church at the time. Together they spread the Faith on Tabiteuea. [Island Churches: Challenge and Change by Makisi Finau page 101]

    Tabiteuea; Kiribati; Gilbert Islands Knights of Bahaullah; First Bahais by country or area; Islands; BWNS
    1954 25 Mar The passing of Marion Jack (General Jack) at her pioneer post in Sofia, Bulgaria at the age of 87. She had been at her post since 1931. [BWNS385, Never be Afraid to Dare p. 227]
  • See also Marion Jack: Immortal Heroine by Jan Jasion
  • See CBNOctober1979 for tributes as well as a photo of her gravesite.
  • Sofia; Bulgaria Marion Jack; General Jack; Pioneers; BWNS
    1954 Apr The arrival of Knight Mr. Enoch Olinga in British Cameroon [BWNS291] British Cameroon; Africa Knights of Bahaullah; Enoch Olinga; BWNS
    1954 Apr The arrival of Knight Samuel Njiki in French Cameroon [BWNS249] French Cameroon; Cameroon Samuel Njiki; BWNS
    1954 Apr The arrival of Knight David Tanyi in Togoland (now Togo) [BWNS249] Togoland (Togo); Togo Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 Apr The arrival of Knight Edward Tabe in British Togoland (now part of Ghana) [BWNS249] British Togoland (Ghana); Ghana Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 Apr The arrival of Knight Martin Manga to Northern Territories Protectorate (now part of Ghana) [BWNS249] Northern Territories Protectorate (Ghana); Ghana Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 Apr The arrival of Knight Benedict Eballa to Ashanti Protectorate (now part of Ghana) [BWNS249] Ashanti Protectorate (Ghana); Ghana Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 2 May The arrival of Knights of Bahá'u'lláh Mavis Nymon and Vivian Wesson in French Togoland (now called Togo). [BWNS329 ] French Togoland (Togo); Togo Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 2 May The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Cynthia Olson in the Mariana Islands. [BWNS303] Mariana Islands Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1954 17 May The arrival of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Elise Lynelle (then Schreiber) in Bata, Spanish Guinea, now Equatorial Guinea. [BWNS330] Bata; Spanish Guinea; Equatorial Guinea Elise Schreiber (later Lynelle); Knights of Bahaullah; BWNS
    1954 12 Jul The arrival of Knights of Bahá'u'lláh Dudley Moore Blakely and his wife Elsa (Judy) Blakeley in Tonga. They shared the honour with Dr. Stanley Bolton. [BWNS286] Tonga Knights of Bahaullah; Islands; BWNS
    1955 to 2007 The fifth Trustee of the Huqúqu'lláh was 'Ali-Muhammad Varqá. He inherited both the Trusteeship and the station of Hand of the Cause of God from his father upon his passing. [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 25 March, 1985]
    • During his tenure the compilation Huqúqu'lláh was published (1985) by the Universal House of Justice.
    • The delegates gathered at the National Convention of the Bahá'ís of the United States in 1984 petitioned the Universal House of Justice to make the Law of the Huqúqu'lláh applicable in their country. (Up to this point the law only applied to Bahá'is of Persian origin.) The Universal House of Justice replied that it was not yet time for such a measure but did agree to make more information available in preparation for such a time. [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 3 January, 1985, AWH30]
    • Friends in Austria and the United States published codifications on the Law of the Huqúqu'lláh. To the benefit of the believers everywhere the Research Department at the World Centre was asked to prepare a brief history and a Codification. This information was sent to all national assemblies in the Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 25 March, 1987.
    • In 1991 the Central Office of Huqúqu'lláh was established in the Holy Land under the direction of the Chief Trustee in anticipation of the worldwide application of the law. Subsequently regional and national boards were established. [Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 26 November, 1991]
    • With the publication of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas in English in 1992 the law of the Huqúqu'lláh became universally applicable.
    • In 2005 an International Board of Trustees of the Huqúqu'lláh was established to guide the regional and national boards. Three members appointed to the Board were Sally Foo, Ramin Khadem, and Grant Kvalheim. Their term of office was to be determined. [Ridván 2005]
    • The last Hand of the Cause of Cause and Trustee of the Huqúqu'lláh, Alí Muhammad Varqá, passed away in Haifa on the 22nd of September, 2007. [BWNS579]
    BWC; Haifa Varqa, Ali-Muhammad; Huququllah; Huququllah, Trustees of; Hands of the Cause; Hands of the Cause, Activities; Varqa; BWNS
    1955 Jan Dorothy Senne becomes the first Bahá'í in South Africa. [BWNS270] South Africa Dorothy Senne; BWNS
    1958 1 Nov The monument marking Shoghi Effendi’s resting place is completed. [MC117]
    • Dust from the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh is placed in the foundations. [MC117]
    • For a description of the resting place see BBD194–5 and MC135–6.
    • The monument is paid for from a Memorial Fund established after Shoghi Effendi’s passing. Money in excess of the amount required is spent on the teaching work and on the construction of the Temples. [MC132]
    • Marble for the monument came from Chiampo, Italy as for the Archives Building, the Shine of the Báb, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, The Terraces project, the Monument Gardens and the Houses of Worship in India and Samoa. [BWNS1223]
    London; United Kingdom Shoghi Effendi, Resting place of; Bahaullah, Shrine of; BWNS
    1961 autumn/winter The International Bahá’í Archives is opened to Bahá’í pilgrims. [BW13:429; MC20]
    • For details of the Archives building and several pictures see BW13:403–34.
    • Marble for the the International Baha’i Archives building was cut and chiseled by Margraf, a firm from Chiampo, Italy formerly known as Industria Marmi Vincentini. [BWNS1223]
    BWC International Bahai Archives; Pilgrimage; Marble; BWNS
    1972 Ridván The National Spiritual Assembly of the Malagasy Republic formed with its seat in Tananarive. [BW15:199, BWNS288]
    • For pictures see BW15:153, 198.
    Tananarive (Antananarivo); Malagasy Republic (Madagascar); Madagascar NSA; BWNS
    1977 The Bahá'í Faith, along with many other religious groups, are banned in Uganda. [BWNS135] Uganda Persecution, Uganda; Persecution, Bans; Persecution; BWNS
    1982 14 May Amoz Gibson, a member of the Universal House of Justice from 1963 until 1982, passes away in Haifa. [BW18:669; VV52]
    • For his obituary see BW18:665–9.
    • Elected to the Universal House of Justice was Mr. Glenford Mitchell. He was born in Jamaica and held a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University. An author, he had worked as a magazine editor and managing editor and taught English and journalism at Howard University. He served as chief executive officer of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States from 1968 until his electinn to the Universal House of Justice. [BWNS208]
    BWC Amoz Gibson; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Glenford Mitchell; BWNS
    1983 Jan - Feb c. The Seat of the Universal House of Justice is completed; the Universal House of Justice formally occupies it. [BBD204; BW19:23; VV62]
    • For a description and history of the building see BW19:24–6.
    • Marble for the Seat of the Universal House of Justice quarried from Mount Pentelikon, just north of Athens and was cut and chiseled by Margraf, a firm from Chiampo, Italy formerly known as Industria Marmi Vincentini. [BWNS1223]
    • For pictures see BW18:466–72 and Construction.
    • See video called Ark of Destiny.
    BWC; Mount Carmel Universal House of Justice, Seat of; Universal House of Justice, Basic timeline; Marble; Architecture; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    1984 1 Sep The House of Worship in Apia, Western Samoa, the Mother Temple of the Pacific, is dedicated in the presence of Hand of the Cause of God Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum, Hand of the Cause Dr Ugo Giachery, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II and more than a thousand Bahá’ís from 45 countries. [BW19:100–1; VV64]
    • For a report of the dedication see BW19:552–3.
    • For the text of the address of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II see BW19:556.
    • For pictures see BW19:553 and VV64.
    • Marble for the House of Worship was cut and chiseled by Margraf, a firm from Chiampo, Italy formerly known as Industria Marmi Vincentini. [BWNS1223]
    Quick Facts
    Location: Apia, Samoa (9km south of the city)
    Foundation Stone: Laid by Malietoa Tanumafili II and Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum on 27 January 1979. She placed a small casket of Dust from the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in a niche in a stone.
    Period: 1980-1984
    Site Dedication:1 September 1984
    Architect Husayn Amanat
    Seating: 500 - 700
    Dimensions: Top of the dome to ground: 28m (92ft)
    Cost: $6.5m
    Dependencies:
    References: BW16p488-489, BW17p371-374, BW18p104, 585-588, BW19p547-557,
    Apia; Samoa; Pacific; Chiampo; Italy Amatul-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum; Ugo Giachery; Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Apia; Dedications; Marble; Husayn Amanat; Malietoa Tanumafili II; Architects; Boxes containing dust, earth or plaster; Bahaullah, Shrine of; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    1986 The founding of the Ruaha Secondary School in southwestern rural Tanzania near Iringa, about 500 km from Dar-es-salaam. [The Mona Project (information on the Iringa School no longer available on this web site), One Country]

    In 2001 the school received a grant to build a girls dormitory. [BWNS145]

    Tanzania; Iringa; Dar-es-salaam Bahai schools; BWNS
    1986 24 Dec The House of Worship in New Delhi, India, is dedicated in the presence of Hand of the Cause Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum and more than 8,000 Bahá’ís from 114 countries. [AWH47; BINS161; BW19:102 BW20p732-733, VV92]
    • See VV93–4 for pictures.
    • Marble for the House of Worship was cut and chiseled by Margraf, a firm from Chiampo, Italy formerly known as Industria Marmi Vincentini. [BWNS1223]
    Quick Facts
    Location: New Delhi, India (Bahapur (Abode of Light))
    Foundation Stone: 17 October 1977 (Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum)
    Construction Period: April 1980 - December 1986
    Site Dedication:24 December 1986 (Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum placed a silver casket containing Dust from the Shrines of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb into the crown of the Prayer Hall arch facing ‘Akká)
    Architect/Project Manager: Faribourz Sahbá
    Seating: 1200
    Dimensions: Inner buds are 34.3m high, the outer leaves are 15.4m wide and 22.5m high.
    Cost: $10m
    Dependencies:
    References: BW16p486-487, BW17p368-370, BW18p103-104, 571-584, BW19p559-568, BW20p731-753
    New Delhi; India; Chiampo; Italy Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Delhi; Lotus temple; Amatul-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum; Dedications; Marble; Faribourz Sahba; Architects; Boxes containing dust, earth or plaster; Bahaullah, Shrine of; Bab, Shrine of; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    1987 26 Jan Charles Wolcott, member of the Universal House of Justice, passes away in Haifa. [BINS162:1; VV97]
    • Elected in his stead was Dr. Peter Khan. He was born in Australia, held professorial posts in electrical engineering at universities in the United States and Australia. He served as an Auxiliary Board member, a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia, and a Continental Counsellor before being appointed to the International Teaching Centre. [BWNS208]
    BWC Charles Wolcott; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Peter Kahn; Universal House of Justice, Members of; BWNS
    1988 The opening of the School of the Nations in Taipa, Macau with 5 students enrolled in kindergarten. [SoN, BWNS460] Taipa; Macau School of the Nations; Bahai schools; BWNS
    1988 Ridván The Universal House of Justice is elected for the sixth time at the International Convention held in Haifa. Delegates from 148 National/Regional Assemblies participated. [BINS176; VV97]
    • David Hofman and H. Borrah Kavelin announced their retirement. [VV97]
    • A gift of a large bowl of 120 roses was received from the Bahá'í of Iran.
    • Mr. Hooper Dunbar, born in the United States, was a film actor in Hollywood before moving to Central and South America where he taught arts and English. He is an accomplished painter. He was first elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Nicaragua in 1961. He later served as a Continental Counsellor before being appointed to the International Teaching Centre in 1973. [BWNS208]
    BWC; Iran Universal House of Justice, Election of; Elections; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Conventions, International; David Hofman; H. Borrah Kavelin; Retirements; Hooper Dunbar; Gifts; Roses; BWNS
    1993 29 Apr - 2 May The Seventh Bahá'í International Convention at the World Centre. Those elected to the Universal House of Justice were: Mr. Ali Nakhjavani, Mr. Glenford Mitchell, Mr. Adib Taherzadeh, Mr. Ian Semple, Mr. Peter Khan, Mr. Hushmand Fatheazam, Mr. Hooper Dunbar, Mr. Farzam Arbab and Mr. Douglas Martin. [BINS295, BW93-4p51-58]
    • Hugh Chance and David Ruhe announce their retirement. Mr. Chance served since 1963 and Dr. Ruhe since 1968. [BINS295, BS93-4p57]
    • For a report of the Convention see BW93–4:51–8.
    • For pictures see BW93–4:52, 53, 54, 57.
    • Dr. Farzam Arbab, born in Iran, obtained his doctorate in physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He was the representative for the Rockefeller Foundation in Colombia (1974 to 1983) and the president of the FUNDAEC development foundation there. He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Colombia and a Continental Counsellor before being appointed to the International Teaching Centre.
    • Mr. Douglas Martin, born in Canada, helds degrees in business administration and in history, and was an author and editor. He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, serving as its chief executive officer from 1965 to 1985 when he was appointed director-general of the Office of Public Information at the Baha'i World Centre. [BWNS208]
    BWC Universal House of Justice, Election of; Elections; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Conventions, International; Ali Nakhjavani; Glenford Mitchell; Adib Taherzadeh; Ian Semple; Peter Khan; Hushmand Fatheazam; Hooper Dunbar; Farzam Arbab; Douglas Martin; Hugh Chance; David Ruhe; BWNS
    1996 3 Mar The establishment of the Ocean of Light School in Tonga. [OoL Website, BWNS195] Tonga Bahai schools; BWNS
    1999 June The dedication of the first academic chair in Bahá'í studies in Israel at Hebrew University of Jerusalem with the appointment of Prof. Moshe Sharon. The position was made possible because of an anonymous donation. [Jerusalem Post, June 7, 1999, BWNS84] Jerusalem; Israel Chair in Bahai Studies; Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Universities; Moshe Sharon; Firsts, Other; Donations; BWNS
    2000 23 Mar The election of Kiser Barnes to the Universal House of Justice to replace Mr Adib Taherzadeh. [BWNS948]
    • Mr. Kiser Barnes was born in the United States, and held degrees in political science and law. He practiced law and held senior positions in human rights organizations and in labour relations in the United States, before moving to Africa where he held senior academic posts at universities in Benin, Togo and Nigeria. He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Benin, an Auxiliary Board member and a Continental Counsellor until appointed to the International Teaching Centre in 1993. [BWNS208]
    BWC Kiser Barnes; Adib Taherzadeh; Universal House of Justice, Members of; BWNS
    2000 18 Sep The announcement of the opening of the new Pilgrim Reception Centre near the Shrine of the Báb to receive Bahá'í pilgrims and visitors to the Bahá'í holy places in Haifa and Acre. The Centre is housed in two historic buildings that formerly served as a clinic. Remodeling these two structures began in 1998. The larger one was built during the time of the British Mandate and the smaller structure has a more Middle Eastern appearance, with patterned ceramic floors and stone arches. The first Bahá'í Pilgrim House in Haifa was built near the Shrine of the Bab by a Persian believer in 1909 and continued to serve as the primary gathering place for pilgrims until the new facility was completed. [BWNS67] BWC; Haifa Pilgrim Reception Centre; Pilgrimage; Pilgrim Houses; BWNS; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre
    2000 19 Sep In a ceremony, the final earth samples from 26 nations were deposited in the Peace Monument, which was built by the Bahá'í International Community and the Bahá'í Community of Brazil in 1992 for the 1992 Earth Summit. Designed by the renowned Brazilian sculptor Siron Franco, the five-meter concrete and ceramic monument is located near the entrance to the Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro, just north of Flamengo Park and the site of the 1992 Global Forum, the parallel conference of non-governmental organizations held during the 1992 Earth Summit, which was formally known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. [BWNS85] Rio de Janeiro; Brazil Earth Summit; United Nations Summits; United Nations conferences; United Nations; Environment; Peace Monument; Monuments; Earth; BWNS
    2000 17 - 21 Dec The first International Conference on Modern Religions and Religious Movements in Judaism Christianity and Islam and the Bábí-Bahá’í Faiths was held in Jerusalem with about 90 persons in attendance. [BWNS84] Jerusalem; Israel Conferences, Interfaith; Interfaith dialogue; Judaism; Christianity; Islam; Firsts, Other; BWNS
    2001 8 - 17 Jan The inauguration of the International Teaching Centre Building at the World Centre with the meeting of the Institution of the Counsellors. Board members from 172 countries attended. BWC; Mount Carmel International Teaching Centre, Seat; Arc project; BWNS; Counsellors; Counsellors conferences; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2001 30 Apr – 2 May The Bahá'í International Community today issued a statement, entitled Sustainable Development: the Spiritual Dimension, for the first session of the United Nations Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on Sustainable Development at the UN in New York. [BWNS93]

    For the complete text with footnotes see: Statement.

    New York; NY Bahai International Community; Sustainable Development; United Nations; United Nations Summits; BWNS
    2001 4 Jun The public opening of the terraces surrounding the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel. [BWNS134, BWNS221, BWNS123, BWNS122, BWNS121, BWNS120,]

    BWC; Haifa; Mount Carmel; Chiampo; Italy Terraces; Dedications; Bab, Shrine of; Marble; BWNS; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre
    2001 23 - 25 Nov International Consultative Conference on School Education in relation with Freedom of Religion and Belief, Tolerance and Non-discrimination, a United Nations conference was held in Madrid, Spain. The Bahá'í International Community presented a statement, entitled Belief and Tolerance: Lights Amidst the Darkness. For the text of the document see BWNS141 or on the BIC Site. Madrid; Spain United Nations conferences; Tolerance; Bahai International Community; BIC statements; Statements; Publications; BWNS
    2001 20 - 23 Dec The Fire in the Pacific conference in Honolulu, Hawaii to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Faith in Hawaii. It was attended by over 1,000 Bahá'ís from at least 53 nations. Among the highlights of the conference was a parade , to the resting place of Agnes Baldwin Alexander, who was the first to bring word of the Bahá'í Faith to the Hawaiian Islands — and, indeed, the entire Pacific region — in December 1901. Born in Hawaii, the granddaughter of missionaries, Ms Alexander first heard about the Bahá'í Faith while on a trip to Europe. Returning to her native Hawaii on 26 December 1901, she devoted the rest of her life to spreading the teachings of Baha'u'llah in the Pacific and later in Japan. She passed away on January 1st, 1971. [Life of Agnes Alexander- D.Troxel, BWNS148] Honolulu; Hawaii Centenaries; Agnes Alexander; BWNS
    2001 23 Dec National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States published a full-page advertisement in The New York Times, the statement, entitled The Destiny of America and The Promise of World Peace," stated that Bahá'ís believe the American nation will evolve, through tests and trials to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion of justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and a powerful servant of the cause of everlasting peace. The 645-word document identified six prerequisites for world peace: universal acceptance of the oneness of humanity; the eradication of racism; the full emancipation of women; the elimination of inordinate disparity between the rich and the poor; an end to unbridled nationalism; and harmony between religious leaders. [BWNS147, Includes text of the statement] New York; United States Promise of World Peace (statement); Statements; NSA of US; Peace; BWNS
    2002 5 Mar The announcement by the Bahá'í International Community of the murder of three Bahá'ís in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Rashid Gulov was shot and killed on 23 October 2001 while returning home from work. A second man, Mosadegh Afshin Shokoufeh, was shot outside his home on 3 December 2001 and died from his wounds on the way to the hospital. These deaths follow the assassination of 88 year old Abdullah Mogharrabi, a leader in the community, in September 1999. [BWNS153] Dushanbe; Tajikistan Persecution, Tajikistan; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; BWNS
    2002 19 Mar The establishment of the seventh Bahá'í radio station in Bulac, Philippines, located in a rural district some 30 kilometers from the city of San José on the main island of Luzon.
    • The station operates at 1584 kHz on the AM band, broadcasting at a power of 1,000 watts. Due to the flat topography of the region, it reaches a wide area encompassing the entire province of Nueva Ecija and a portion of Tarlac and Pangasinan provinces, with a potential listenership of more than 2.3 million people. [BWNS181]
    Bulac; Philippines Bahai radio; BWNS Find ref
    2002 Ridván The Universal House of Justice issued a letter addressed to the world’s religious leaders warning of “the danger posed by "the rising fires of religious prejudice" and calls for decisive action against fanaticism and intolerance”. [One Country Vol.14 Issue 1]
    • For the text of the letter see To the World's Religious Leaders.
    • Also see One Country Vol.14 Issue 1 for an abridged version.
    • See also BWNS200; BWNS168 and BW'02-‘03pg79-98.
    • The essential message was that God is one and all religions are from that same God and that recognition of these truths is a prerequisite that must be at the heart of all religious discourse. Bahá'i institutions throughout the world delivered thousands of copies of this message to influential figures and the major faith communities. Although some were dismissed out of hand, in general the message was warmly welcomed. [One Common Faith pii]
    BWC Message to the Worlds Religious Leaders; To the Worlds Religious Leaders; Universal House of Justice; Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; Universal House of Justice, Basic timeline; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Condensed; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Interfaith dialogue
    2002 6 June City Montessori School in Lucknow, India wing the UNESCO Peace Education award in recognition of its efforts to promote the universal values of education for peace and tolerance and to renew the principles of secularism at a time when these values and principles are increasingly being challenged. The school was founded by Mr. Jagdish Gandhi and his wife Bharti in 1959 with only 5 students and has since earned a reputation for a high level of academic excellence — and for a distinctive program of moral and spiritual education. In 1999 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized City Montessori School as the world's largest school by enrollment. The school had some 22,000 students that year. In 2002 it had 26,000 students in grade levels ranging from pre-primary to college and in 2010-11 enrolment was 39,437. In 2014-14 it was over 47,000. Technically speaking, CMS is not so much a school as a school district, with some 20 branches spread throughout Lucknow. [CMS site, BWNS165, BWNS146, One CountryVol.14,Issue 1] Lucknow; India Awards; UNESCO; City Montessori School; Bahai schools; BWNS
    2002 26 Jun The announcement by the Universal House of Justice of the publication of Gems of Divine Mysteries in English. Some 82-pages in English, the volume was originally titled Javahiru'l-Asrar, and was written in Arabic during Bahá'u'lláh 's banishment to Iraq, where He was exiled from 1853 until 1863. The book is a letter written in reply to a seeker who asked about the relationship of prophecy to the Babi Faith, and Bahá'u'lláh used that question as an opportunity to elaborate a number of related subjects. The book relates closely to two other major works of Bahá'u'lláh: The Seven Valleys (Haft-Vadi), an exposition on the progression of the soul, and The Book of Certitude (Kitab-i-Iqan). [BW'02-‘03pg37, BWNS174]
    • The volume was originally titled Javahiru'l-Asrar, and was written in Arabic during Bahá'u'lláh's residence in Iraq. [One Country Vol.14 Issue 2]
    BWC Javahirul-Asrar (Gems of Divine Mysteries); Bahaullah, Writings of; Translation; Publications; BWNS
    2002 26 Jun – 2 Jul In commemoration of the Second Bahá'í World Congress 23-26 November in 1992 in New York, a Festival of the Arts is celebrated in that same city. The project is an independent initiative of Global Music, Inc., a Bahá'í-owned company, and associated individuals. It is not under the sponsorship of any Bahá'í institution. The centerpiece event is held at Carnegie Hall featuring a 550-voice choir under the direction of Mr. Tom Price and known as the Voices of Baha. It is composed of Bahá'ís from some 24 countries. [BWNS162] New York; United States World Congresses; Arts; Music; Carnegie Hall; Tom Price; Voice of Baha; Choirs; BWNS
    2002 26 Aug – 4 Sep World Summit on Sustainable Development, a United Nations conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Bahá'í International Community issues a statement, entitled Religion and Development at the Crossroads: Convergence or Divergence?. [BWNS169, BWNS170] Johannesburg; South Africa United Nations; Sustainable Development; Bahai International Community; BIC statements; Statements; Publications; BWNS
    2002 21 Sep The dedication, at the Green Acre Bahá'í School in Eliot Maine, the oldest permanent Bahá'í school in the world, of a new classroom and lecture hall designated as The Harriet and Curtis Kelsey Center, with an attendant Manny Reimer Hall. [BWNS175] Eliot; Maine; United States Green Acre; Bahai schools; Curtis Kelsey; Harriet Kelsey; First schools; BWNS
    2002 26 Nov The inauguration of a new radio station at Bulac, Philippines. The station operates at 1584 kHz on the AM band, broadcasting at a power of 1,000 watts with a potential listenership of more than 2.3 million people. [BWNS181] Bulac; Philippines Bahai radio; BWNS
    2003 7 – 9 Feb The dedication of the Louis G. Gregory Museum in his birthplace, Charleston, South Carolina. [BWNS188, Wilmette Institute, Bahá'í Encyclopedia]
    • For biographical information on Hand of the Cause Louis Gregory see Gayle Morrison, To Move the World: Louis G. Gregory and the Advancement of Racial Unity in America (Wilmette, IL, USA Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982, 1999 printing).
    Charleston; South Carolina Louis Gregory Museum; Louis Gregory; Gayle Morrison; BWNS
    2003 18 Mar The President of India, Abdul Kalam, visited the Bahá'í House of Worship in New Delhi, the first official visit there by an Indian Head of State since the Temple was opened in December 1986. [BWNS204] New Delhi; India Abdul Kalam; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Delhi; Lotus temple; Prominent visitors; Presidents; Firsts, Other; BWNS
    2003 4 Apr Given current conditions in the world the Ninth International Convention was cancelled. It had been scheduled for 29 April to 2 May. Ballots from the National Spiritual Assembly members were mailed to the World Centre. The 19 delegates that had been chosen as tellers travelled to the World Centre to count the votes. [BW'02-‘03pg37-38, BWNS202] BWC Conventions, International; Firsts, Other; BWNS
    2003 27 Apr Bahá'ís from the north and south of Cyprus met when they were permitted to cross the demarcation line that had divided the island for three decades. The event followed the decision by the Turkish Cypriot authorities to lift the ban on travel across the cease-fire line. Some 60 Turkish and Greek Bahá'ís held a devotional meeting together at the Bahá'í center in Nicosia. [BWNS216] Nicosia; Cyprus History (general); Unity; BWNS
    2003 28 Apr The retirement of Mr. Ali Nakhjavani and Mr. Hushmand Fatheazam from the Universal House of Justice. Both had served since the inception of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. They are replaced by Mr. Hartmut Grossmann and Dr. Firaydoun Javaheri. [BWNS208] BWC Ali Nakhjavani; Hushmand Fatheazam; Retirements; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Hartmut Grossmann; Firaydoun Javaheri; BWNS
    2003 29 Apr The election of the Universal House of Justice by postal ballot by 1,544 electors from 178 countries. Chosen were Hartmut Grossmann and Firaydoun Javaheri to replace retiring members Mr. Nakhjavani, 83, and Mr. Fatheazam, 79 and re-elected were Farzam Arbab, Kiser Barnes, Hooper Dunbar, Peter Khan, Douglas Martin, Glenford Mitchell and Ian Semple. [One Country Vol.15 Issue1, BWNS207]
    • Mr. Grossmann, born in Germany, had academic qualifications in the German and English languages. He served on the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Germany (1963 to 1969) and Finland (1977 to 1980). He was a university academic in Finland. Mr. Grossmann was appointed a Continental Counsellor in 1980, advising Baha'i communities throughout Europe in their growth and development. He had been serving in the International Teaching Centre prior to his election.
    • Dr. Javaheri, who was born in Iran, had a doctorate in agronomy. He lived for 27 years in Africa -- Gambia then Zambia -- where he was Chief Technical Adviser for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. He served the Bahá'í communities there in the area of social and economic development. He was appointed a Continental Counsellor in 1995 after serving for 19 years as a member of its Auxiliary Board. He, like Mr Grossmann, had been serving in the International Teaching Centre prior to his election. [BWNS208]
    BWC Universal House of Justice, Election of; Elections; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Conventions, International; Firsts, Other; Hartmut Grossmann; Firaydoun Javaheri; Farzam Arbab; Kiser Barnes; Hooper Dunbar; Peter Khan; Douglas Martin; Glenford Mitchell; Ian Semple; Retirements; Ali Nakhjavani; Hushmand Fatheazam; BWNS
    2003 May The announcement by the Universal House of Justice of the appointment of Siamak Hariri of Toronto, Canada, as architect of the Baha'i Temple to be built near Santiago in Chile. [BWNS223] Santiago; Chile; Toronto Siamak Hariri; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Architects; BWNS
    2003 9 May The passing of David Hofman in England.
    • He was one of the nine elected members of the Universal House of Justice when that institution came into being in 1963.
    • He presented the first statement from the supreme Baha'i administrative body in April 1963 to the World Congress in London. Twenty-nine years later, in 1992, he delivered the opening address to the second Baha'i World Congress in New York, an event attended by some 30,000 people.
    • He served as a member of the Universal House of Justice for 25 years, until he left in 1988 at the age of 80. [BWNS209, BW'03-‘04pg234, UK Bahá'í Journal]
    United Kingdom David Hofman; Universal House of Justice, Members of; World Congresses; In Memoriam; BWNS
    2003 Jun The publication of Minimalism: A Bridge between Classical Philosophy and the Bahá'í Revelation by Dr. William Hatcher. In it he offers a logical proof for the existence of God. He concludes that the application of the principles of relational logic to this question prove that there is a single, universal, and eternal First Cause — something that is very much like God the Creator as named in all of the world's major religions. [BWNS226] Philosophy; God (general); William Hatcher; BWNS
    2003 20 Jun The passing of Ursula Samandari at her pioneering post in Buea, Cameroon.
    • Ursula Newman, her maiden name, was born in Mitcham, Surrey, England on December 29, 1909. In 1953 she and Dr. Mihdi Samandari moved to Nairobi, Kenya, and a year later went to live in Mogadishu, Somalia where they stayed until 1971. At the request of the Universal House of Justice, they had pioneered to Cameroon. [BWNS230, BW'03-‘04pg237]
    Buea; Cameroon; Nairobi; Kenya; Mogadishu; Somalia Ursula Samandari; pioneer; Mihdi Samandari; In Memoriam; BWNS
    2003 22 Aug The passing of Ruth Pringle in Ciudad, Costa Rica at the age of 83 after 5 decades of service to the Faith, 2 decades as on the Continental Board of Counsellors. [BWNS250, BW'03-‘04pg236] Ciudad Colon; Costa Rica Ruth Pringle; Counsellors; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2000 29 - 31 Aug The celebration of the Jubilee of the opening of the Faith in the Republic of the Congo was commemorated in Brazzaville by 200 attendees. It was in 1953 that Ali and Violette Nakhjavani dropped off pioneer Max Kanyerezi in Brazzaville in the Middle Congo as it was then called, subsequently the "French Congo" and now "The Republic of...".

    All Bahá'í activities were suspended by law from 1978 until 1992 when a democratically elected government replaced the Communist regime. The new government granted legal recognition of the Faith. During the years 1992 to 2003 the country endured two civil wars which further disrupted activity. There are now 20 local spiritual assemblies. [BWNS246]

    Brazzaville; Congo Max Kanyerezi; Violette Nakhjavani; Ali Nakhjavani; BWNS
    2003 6 - 7 Sep The celebration of the Jubilee of the opening of the Faith in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was commemorated in Kinshasa by some 600 participants. Among those at the celebrations in the capital were three of the first Congolese Baha'is: Louis Selemani, 81, Remy Kalonji, 83, and Valerien Mukendi, 83. One guest who could not make it was Ola Pawlowska, 93, though she participated in the celebrations by sending from her home in Canada a message of congratulations and love to a community to which she devoted three decades of her life. Guests of honour at the jubilee included Mr. Nakhjavani, former member of the Universal House of Justice, and Mrs. Nakhjavani, as well as Joan Lincoln, counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre, and Albert Lincoln, secretary-general of the Baha'i International Community. All four had spent many years as pioneers in Africa.

    Active teaching in the area began in 1953. Before that time, colonial authorities did not permit the promotion of the Faith and that is when Ali Nakhjavani and his wife, Violette, driving across Africa from Uganda, took Ugandan Baha'i Samson Mungongo to the city of Kamina. The first local assembly was formed in 1957 and the National Assembly was inaugurated in 1970. This event also marked the first time the National Spiritual Assembly had been able to meet in Kinshasa since 1998 because of the war. [BWNS248]

    • For further details on the development of the Faith in the DRC see Legacy of Courage: The Life of Ola Pawlowska, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh by Suzanne Schuurman.
    Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) Bahai history by country; BWNS
    2003 26 Nov The passing of Hand of the Cause of God Ali Akbar Furútan in Haifa at the age of 98. [BWNS261, BW'03-‘04pg227]
    • Born in Sabzivar, Iran, on 29 April 1905.
    • Moved with his family to Ashgabat in what was then Russian Turkestan (now part of Turkmenistan), and, through his years of school and university, he took an active part in the work of the Baha'i communities of Ashgabat, Baku, Moscow, and other parts of Russia.
    • In 1930 expelled from the Soviet Union during the Stalinist persecution of religion and from that time on played an ever more significant role in the work and administration of the Iranian Baha'i community. [BW03-04p227-230]
    • Shoghi Effendi had appointed him among the first contingent on the 24th of December, 1951. [MoCxxiii]
    • For a tribute from the Universal House of Justice see message of 27 November, 2003.
    Haifa; Sabzivar; Iran; Ashgabat; Turkmenistan; Baku; Moscow Hands of the Cause; Hands of the Cause, Births and deaths; Births and deaths; Ali Akbar Furutan; In Memoriam; Hands of the Cause, First Contingent; BWNS
    2004 11 Feb A member of the British Baha'i community, Lois Hainsworth, received the award of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) at Buckingham Palace.
    • The announcement of the award for services to three organizations that promote the rights of women was made in the United Kingdom's New Year's Honours List. The citation refers to Mrs. Hainsworth's services to the Women's National Commission, the Baha'i Office for the Advancement of Women, and UNIFEM UK. [BWNS273]
    Buckingham Palace; London; United Kingdom Lois Hainsworth; Order of the British Empire (MBE); Women; Awards; BWNS
    2004 12 Feb The launch of the Web site for the temple to be constructed in Chile. temple.cl.bahai.org [BWNS279, BWNS223] Santiago; Chile Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; BWNS
    2004 Apr The completion of the destruction of the gravesite of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali Barfurushi, known as Quddus (The Most Holy). Quddus was the foremost disciple of the Báb, the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá'í Faith. [BWNS293] Iran Quddus; Cemeteries and graves; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Destruction; Persecution; BWNS
    2004 2 Apr The passing of Ola Pawlowska in Newfoundland, Canada. Knight of Bahá'u'lláh for St. Pierre and Miquelon, translator of the Writings (into Polish), pioneer to Poland, Luxembourg and Congo (30 years), Auxiliary Board Member. [BW'03-‘04pg236, BWNS248] Newfoundland; Canada; St Pierre and Miquelon; Poland; Luxembourg; Congo Knights of Bahaullah; Ola Pawlowska; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2004 19 Apr The passing of Mr Aziz Ismayn Yazdi in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 94. Aziz Yazdi lived in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Great Britain, Uganda, Kenya, Israel, and finally Canada. In 1968 he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors in Central and East Africa and was an inaugural member of the International Teaching Centre in Haifa. [BWNS297, BW'03-‘04pg239] Vancouver; Canada; Egypt; Syria; Iran; Iraq; United Kingdom; Uganda; Kenya; Israel Aziz Ismayn Yazdi; Counsellors; International Teaching Centre, Members of; In memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2004 31 May The launch of the Web site The Bahá'í Reference Library by the Bahá'í International Community. It marks the first time that a voluminous authoritative library of Bahá'í scripture and other Bahá'í publications has been available on the Internet. [reference.bahai.org, BWNS302] Websites; Internet; Publications; BWNS
    2004 Jun After 15 years of negotiations, research, and planning, the restoration work began on the cell used to imprison Bahá'u'lláh when He was first incarcerated in ‘Acre. Approved by government authorities keen to preserve the heritage of the site, the project was supervised and financed by the Bahá'í World Centre. [BWNS336] Akka; BWC Bahaullah, Prison cell of; Restoration; Pilgrimage; World Centre; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; BWNS
    2004 24 Nov The announcement of the completion of the restoration of the prison citadel that was occupied by Bahá'u'lláh and His family upon arrival in Akka I on August 31st, 1868. [BWNS336] Akka; BWC Bahaullah, Prison cell of; Citadel; BWNS; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre; Restoration
    2004 20 Dec United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution expressing "serious concern" over the human rights situation in Iran, making specific mention of the ongoing persecution of the Baha'i community there.
    • It called on Iran to "eliminate all forms of discrimination based on religious grounds" and took note of the recent upsurge of human rights violations against the Baha'is of Iran.
    • Specifically, the resolution noted the "continuing discrimination against persons belonging to minorities, including Christians, Jews, and Sunnis, and the increased discrimination against the Baha'is, including cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, the denial of free worship or of publicly carrying out communal affairs, the disregard of property rights, the destruction of sites of religious importance, the suspension of social, educational, and community-related activities, and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, and other benefits." [BWNS341]
    Iran; New York; United States UN General Assembly; United Nations; Human rights; BWNS
    2005 21 Mar The announcement of the retirement of Mr. Ian Semple and Mr. Douglas Martin from the Universal House of Justice. Mr. Semple served since 1963 and Mr. Martin was elected in 1993. [BWNS359]
    • Mr. Ian Semple, born in England, helds a Master of Arts degree in the German and French languages and literature from Oxford University. A chartered accountant, he served on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles. He was an Auxiliary Board member in Europe and was elected to the International Baha'i Council in 1961. He was first elected to the Universal House of Justice in 1963.
    • Mr. Douglas Martin, born in Canada, helds degrees in business administration and in history, and was an author and editor. He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, serving as its chief executive officer from 1965 to 1985 when he was appointed director-general of the Office of Public Information at the Baha'i World Centre. He was elected to the Universal House of Justice in 1993. [BWNS208]
    BWC Ian Semple; Douglas Martin; Retirements; Universal House of Justice, Members of; BWNS
    2005 21 Mar The election of Dr. Payman Mohajer and Mr. Paul Lample to the vacancies on the Universal House of Justice. They fill the vacancies created by the departure at Naw-Ruz of Mr. Ian Semple and Mr. Douglas Martin, owing to age and the related needs of the Faith. [BWNS358] BWC Payman Mohajer; Paul Lample; Ian Semple; Douglas Martin; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Universal House of Justice, Election of; Elections; BWNS
    2005 20 Apr The launch of the new official web site, titled The Baha'is to replace the previous site, "The Baha'i World," at the same address. The site is also a portal to the family of official web sites of the Baha'i International Community.
    The content of "The Baha'i World" will continue to be available as Baha'i Topics: An Information Resource. [BWNS368]
    BWC Websites; Internet; Publications; BWNS
    2005 6 Sep The passing of former Universal House of Justice member David S. Ruhe near Newburg, New York. He served on the Universal House of Justice from 1968 to 1993. [BWNS388] Newburg; NY; United States David Ruhe; Universal House of Justice, Members of; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2005 Nov Dr. John Grayzei was appointed to the Bahá'í Chair for Peace at the University of Maryland in the United States. He succeeds Suheil Bushrui who held the position since its inauguration in 1992. [BWNS404] Maryland; United States John Grayzei; Suheil Bushrui; Bahai Chair for World Peace; University of Maryland; BWNS
    2005 1 Nov A new Bahá'í Centre is obtained at 44 Albany Street in Edinburgh, Scotland. [BWNS347, BWNS395] Edinburgh; Scotland; United Kingdom Bahai centres; BWNS
    2005 27 Nov The passing of prolific author and founding member of the Association for Bahá’í Studies of North America, Dr. William S. Hatcher, in Stratford, Ontario. (b 20 September, 1935 in Charlotte, NC).
    • He served on the National Spiritual Assemblies of Switzerland (1962-65), Canada (1983-91) and the Russian Federation (1996).
    • He was an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Toledo for three years before coming to Canada in 1968 with his wife Judith and served as professor of mathematics at the Université Laval until 1995.
    • He was the author of vast number of articles and books including, Logic and Logos (1990), Love, Power and Justice (1998), and The Bahá'í Faith, The Emerging Global Religion (co-authored with Douglas Martin). [BWNS416, BW05-06p240-241]
    • The Universal House of Justice wrote in tribute: ”The Bahá’í world has lost one of its brightest minds, one of its most prolific pens. He will long be remembered for his stalwart faith, forceful exposition, and penetrating insights.”
    • The family of Dr. Hatcher is building an on-line repository of his collected works. Contributions are welcome.
    Stratford, ON; Canada William Hatcher; In Memoriam; BWNS
    2005 1 Dec The president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kessai Note, paid an official visit to the Bahá'í World Centre. [BWNS410] Marshall Islands; BWC Kessal Note; BWC; Prominent visitors; BWNS
    2005 15 Dec The death of Mr. Dhabihu'llah Mahrami, 59, who had been held in a government prison in Yazd under harsh physical conditions at the time of his death.

    First arrested in 1995, Mr. Mahrami served in the civil service but at the time of his arrest was making a living installing venetian blinds, having been summarily fired from his job like thousands of other Baha'is in the years following the 1979 Iranian revolution. Although Iranian officials have asserted that Mr. Mahrami was guilty of spying for Israel, court records clearly indicate that he was tried and sentenced solely on charge of being an "apostate," a crime which is punishable by death under traditional Islamic law. While Mr. Mahrami had been a lifelong Baha'i, the apostasy charge apparently came about because a civil service colleague, in an effort to prevent Mr. Mahrami from losing his job, submitted to a newspaper an article stating that he had converted to Islam. When it later became clear to Iranian authorities that Mr. Mahrami remained a member of the Baha'i community, they arrested him and charged him with apostasy for allegedly converting from Islam to the Baha'i Faith. On 2 January 1996, he was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court, a conviction that was later upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court.

    The death sentence against Mr. Mahrami stirred an international outcry. The European Parliament, for example, passed a resolution on human rights abuses in Iran, making reference to Mr. Mahrami's case. The governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States also registered objections. [BWNS415]

    Yazd; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; Human rights; Court cases; BWNS
    2005 27 – 31 Dec The gathering, at the Bahá'í World Centre, the members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors [BWNS418] BWC Counsellors; Conferences, Bahai; Counsellors conferences; BWNS
    2006 In the year A confidential letter sent from Iran's Ministry of Science, Research and Technology instructing Iranian universities to expel any student who is discovered to be a Bahá'í. The letter refutes recent statements by Iranian officials, who said Bahá'í students in Iran face no discrimination - despite the fact that more than half of the Bahá'í university students enrolled last autumn were gradually expelled over the course of the 2006-2007 academic year. [BWNS575] Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; BWNS
    2006 4 Apr In late 2004 or early 2005 the government of Egypt introduces a computerized identity card system that locks out all religious classifications except Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Baha'is are unable to get ID cards and other documents essential to day-to-day life. Thus begins an epic struggle for Bahá'í appellants to win the right to have their religious affiliation properly identified on goverment documents.

    The issuance of birth certificates is at the heart of the first case, which concerns 14-year-old twins Imad and Nancy Rauf Hindi. Their father, Rauf Hindi, obtained birth certificates that recognized their Baha'i affiliation when they were born but new policies require computer generated certificates and the computer system locks out any religious affiliation but the three officially recognized religions. Without birth certificates, the children are unable to enroll in school in Egypt.

    A lower administrative court rules that the couple should be identified as Baha'is on official documents, a decision that, if upheld, will essentially overturn the government's policy of forcing citizen to choose from only the three officially recognized religions -- Islam, Christianity and Judaism -- on state documents. The lower court's ruling provokes an outcry among the fundamentalist elements in Egyptian society, particularly Al Azhar University and the Muslim Brotherhood who object to any kind of recognition of the Baha'i Faith as a religious belief. The case gains international attention in the news media and from human rights groups and sparks a wholesale debate in newspapers and blogs throughout the Arab world over the right to freedom of religion and belief. [BWNS454, Minority Right website]

    Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2006 2 May Letter, from the Trades, Production, and Technical Services Society of Kermanshah to the Iranian Union of Battery Manufacturers, asked the Union to provide a list of members of the Bahá'í sect in their membership. [BWNS488] Kermanshah; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; BWNS
    2006 15 May The government appeals the lower court's ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court and the hearing focuses on procedural issues concerning the case. The emotions stirred by the case are evident at the initial hearing. Lawyers and other individuals seated in the courthouse interrupt and heckle defense counsel each time they try to address the court. They yell insults at them, calling them 'infidels' and threatening them with physical violence during the hearing. Because the Court is unable to impose order in the courtroom, the Court briefly adjourns the hearing before resuming the proceedings in camera. When the hearing is adjourned courthouse security officers refuse to protect lawyers who are surrounded by members of the crowd, verbally threatening, pushing, shoving and not allowing them to walk away from the area.

    After the government's appeal of the lower court's ruling a court hearing is set for 19 June, however, the Court commissioner's advisory report is not submitted in time for the hearing and the hearing is further postponed until the 16th of September. [BWNS454, BWNS456]

    Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2006 15 Jul The Bahá'í Academy has entered into a formal agreement with one of India's top-ranked universities to offer specialized training in education for moral development to its students, faculty, and staff. [BWNS470] Pune; India Bahai Academy; Universities; Education; Moral education; Ethics; BWNS
    2006 31 Jul The announcement of the publication of The Tabernacle of Unity. This publication of the Bahá'í World Centre contains five tablets - letters - written by Bahá'u'lláh to individuals of Zoroastrian background in the 1800s. As such, these tablets provide important insights into the interrelatedness of religion. [BWNS466] BWC Tabernacle of Unity (book); Zoroastrianism; Bahaullah, Writings of; Interfaith dialogue; Manikchi Limji Hataria; Translation; Publications; BWNS
    2006 16 Sep The Supreme Administrative Court again postpones its hearing on the government appeal of a lower court's ruling upholding the right of a Baha'i couple to have their religion properly identified on government documents. In a brief hearing the Court continues the case until 20 November in order to await the completion of an advisory report from the State Commissioner's Authority on the case. [BWNS480] Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2006 20 Nov Lawyers representing a Baha'i couple seeking to have their religious affiliation properly identified on state documents present arguments at a full hearing before the Supreme Administrative Court. The hearing is short and the court adjourns until 16 December when a judgment in the case is expected. [BWNS492] Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2006 16 Dec Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court rules against the right of Baha'is to be properly identified on government documents. There are now two cases related to this issue; the first involves a lawsuit by the father of twin children, who is seeking to obtain proper birth certificates for them and the second concerns a college student who needs a national identity card to re-enroll in university.

    The decision upholds current government policy, a policy which forces the Baha'is either to lie about their religious beliefs or give up their state identification cards. The policy effectively deprives Egyptian Baha'is and others of access to most rights of citizenship, including education, financial services, and even medical care. [BWNS492]

    Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2006 21 Dec A message is sent from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of Egypt regarding the recent Supreme Administrative Court decision with respect to their right to hold identification cards. [BWNS499]
    • For a the full text of the message from the Universal House of Justice 21DEC2006 in English.
    Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2007 7 Apr A memorial removed by the Nazis when the Bahá'í Faith was outlawed in 1937 has been restored by municipal authorities in the resort town of Bad Mergentheim in Germany. The stone commemorates the visit of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on April 7-8, 1913. The new memorial was unveiled on 7 April, by Mayor Lothar Barth accompanied by Bahman Solouki, a representative of the Baha'i community of Germany. Please see the news story for pictures of both the original and the replacement monuments. [BWNS524] Bad Mergentheim; Germany Abdul-Baha, Pictures and portraits; Portraits; Monuments; Opposition; BWNS
    2007 19 Apr The government of Slovakia officially registered the Bahá'í Faith as a religious community, guaranteeing the group the right to own property, observe holy days, disseminate literature and engage in a host of other activities. [BWNS531] Slovakia Recognition; BWNS
    2007 11 May The passing of His Highness Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, the Samoan head of state. He was one of the longest reigning monarchs in the world and had been head of state since independence from New Zealand in 1962. [BWNS543] Samoa Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa; In memoriam; Births and deaths; Bahai royalty; BWNS
    2007 9 – 10 Sep A Bahá'í cemetery near Najafabad, Iran was destroyed using heavy equipment. More than 100 graves were desecrated. [BWNS578] Najafabad; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Destruction; Persecution; Cemeteries and graves; BWNS
    2007 22 Sep The passing of Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Ali-Muhammad Varqa at his home in Haifa. (b.1911) He was the last survivor of the 27 Hands of the Cause who were alive when Shoghi Effendi passed away in 1957. [BWNS579]
    • He had been appointed Hand of the Cause on the 15th of March, 1955 after the passing of his father Hand of the Cause of God Jináb-i-Valíyu'lláh Varqá, [MoVxxiv]
    Haifa Varqa, Ali-Muhammad; Hands of the Cause; Hands of the Cause, Births and deaths; Births and deaths; In Memoriam; Varqa; Hands of the Cause, Institution; Appointed arm; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Huququllah
    2007 12 Oct The opening of a new office of the Bahá'í International Community in Brussels. The purpose is to strengthen the BIC's ties with the European Union. [BWNS581] Brussels; Belgium Bahai International Community; BWNS
    2007 7 Nov The launch of a new website by the Bahá'í International Community, The Life of Bahá'u'lláh to provide illustration of Baha'u'llah's life through photographs of places and artifacts and relics associated directly with Him. [BWNS586] BWC Websites; Internet; Bahaullah, Life of (documents); Bahaullah, Life of; Relics; Publications; BWNS
    2007 12 Nov Human Rights Watch and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights release a report that states that Egypt should end discriminatory practices that prevent Baha'is and others from listing their true religion on government documents. The 98-page report, titled Prohibited Identities: State Interference with Religious Freedom, focuses on problems that have emerged from Egypt's practice of requiring citizens to state their religious identity on government documents but then restricting the choice to Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. "These policies and practices violate the right of many Egyptians to religious freedom," states the report. [BWNS587]
    • See HRW.org for the full text of the report.
    Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2007 25 Dec The two cases, the first by the father of twin children who is seeking to obtain proper birth certificates for them and the second by a college student who needs a national identity card to re-enroll in university, were set for "final judgment" by the Court of Administrative Justice in Cairo but the hearings were unexpectedly postponed until 22 January 2008. The court indicated it is still deliberating on the cases. On 22 January it was announced that the cases had been continued until 29 January. [BWNS597] Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2008 29 Jan In a victory for religious freedom, a lower administrative court ruled in favour of two lawsuits that sought to resolve the government's contradictory policy on religious affiliation and identification papers. The Court of Administrative Justice in Cairo upheld arguments made in two cases concerning Baha'is who have sought to restore their full citizenship rights by asking that they be allowed to leave the religious affiliation field blank on official documents. a lower court again ruled in their favor. Two Muslim lawyers filed an appeal. [BWNS600] Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2008 5 Mar Mahvash Sabet – a schoolteacher and mother of two and a member of the national-level administrative group for Iran – was arrested having been summoned to Mashhad to discuss some matters regarding a Bahá'í burial. She subsequently spent 175 days in solitary confinement. On the 26th of May she was moved to Evin prison in Tehran. [BWNS Special Report] Mashhad; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; Evin prison; BWNS
    2008 21 Mar The re-election of the National Spiritual Assembly of Vietnam after a lapse of some 33 years A major step was taken a year ago when authorities issued a certificate recognizing Bahá'í activities. The Bahá'í Faith was established in Vietnam in 1954. In 1957 Bahá'ís there joined with a number of other countries in southeast Asia to form a Regional Spiritual Assembly, and in 1964 the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Vietnam was formed. [BWNS617] Vietnam Persecution, Bans; BWNS
    2008 23 Apr The retirement of Universal House of Justice members Mr. Hartmut Grossmann and Mr. Glenford E. Mitchell. Mr. Grossmann served from 2003 and Mr. Mitchell was elected in 1982. [BWNS622] BWC Hartmut Grossmann; Glenford Mitchell; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Retirements; BWNS
    2008 30 Apr The election of the Universal House of Justice at the 10th International Bahá'í' Convention. Those elected are Farzam Arbab, Kiser Barnes, Peter Khan, Hooper Dunbar, Firaydoun Javaheri, Paul Lample, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, and Gustavo Correa. [BWNS629, BWNS631, BWNS627, BWNS628, BWNS626, BWNS624] BWC Conventions, International; Universal House of Justice, Election of; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Farzam Arbab; Kiser Barnes; Peter Khan; Hooper Dunbar; Firaydoun Javaheri; Paul Lample; Payman Mohajer; Shahriar Razavi; Gustavo Correa; BWNS
    2008 14 May The six men and women, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. and Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, all members of the national-level group that helped see to the minimum needs of Bahá’ís in Iran were arrested in their homes in Tehran. Mrs. Kamalabadi, Mr. Khanjani, and Mr. Tavakkoli have been previously arrested and then released after periods ranging from five days to four months. [BWNS632, Report] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; BWNS
    2008 20 Jun The Bahá’is were also persecuted on account of their faith prior to the armed conflict under the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Four Bahá'ís were arrested in Sana'a on the accusation of proselytizing. The three Bahá’is of Iranian origin who were arrested are Mr. Zia'u'llah Pourahmari, Mr. Keyvan Qadari, and Mr. Mr. Behrooz Rohani . A fourth Bahá’i, Mr. Sayfi Ibrahim Sayfi, was also arrested and faces the possibility of deportation to Iraq. [BWNS651] Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; BWNS
    2008 July The publication of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book, in Norwegian for the first time, bringing to about 30 the number of different language editions of the work. [BWNS646] Norway Kitab-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book); Translation; Publications; BWNS
    2008 8 Jul The Shrine of the Báb and the Resting Place of Baháu'lláh, together with their surrounding gardens, associated buildings and monuments, were chosen as UNESCO World Heritage sites. [BWNS642, BWNS643, UNESCO site] Haifa; Israel; Akka; BWC UNESCO; World Heritage Sites; Bahaullah, Shrine of; Bab, Shrine of; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre; BWNS
    2008 25 Jul Vietnam recognizes Bahá'ís as religious community. This follows the election of the National Spiritual Assembly some months earlier. The Bahá'í Faith was established in the country in 1954, and the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Vietnam was elected 10 years later. In the mid-1970s, formal activities of the community were suspended. [BWNS64] Vietnam Recognition; BWNS
    2008 27 Jul The results of the nationwide university entrance examination were made available on the National Organization for Educational Assessment in Iran. Most of the Bahá'í applicants found that they were rejected and received an incomplete file message. For the 2007-2008 academic year some 800 of 1000 Bahá'í students were rejected in the same manner. [Iranian, BWNS657] Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; BWNS
    2008 1 - 2 Nov The first of 41 Regional Conferences held over a four month period to mark the mid-point of the Five Year Plan held in Lusaka, Zambia. [Lusaka, BWNS642] Lusaka; Zambia Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 8 – 9 Nov Regional Conferences held in Nakuru, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa. [BWNS668] Nakuru; Kenya; Johannesburg; South Africa Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 15 – 16 Nov Regional Conferences held in Bangui, Central African Republic, Bangalore, India and Uvira, Democratic Republic of the Congo, [BWNS669] Bangui; Central African Republic; Bangalore; India; Uvira; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 22 – 23 Nov Regional Conferences held in Quito, Ecuador, New Delhi, India, Kolkata, India, and Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. [BWNS673] Quito; Ecuador; New Delhi; India; Kolkata (Calcutta); Lubumbashi; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 29 – 30 Nov Regional Conferences held in Antofagasta, Chile, Manila, Philippines and Yaoundé, Cameroon. [BWNS675] Antofagasta; Chile; Manila; Philippines; Yaounde; Cameroon Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 6 – 7 Dec Regional Conferences held in Portland, United States, Chicago, United States, Atlanta, United States and Almaty, Kazakhstan. [ Portand, Chicago, Atlanta, Almaty] Portland; United States; Chicago; United States; Atlanta; United States; Almaty; Kazakhstan Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 13 – 14 Dec Regional Conferences held in Stamford, United States, Dallas, United States and Los Angeles, United States. [BWNS677] Stamford; United States; Dallas; Los Angeles Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 20 – 21 Dec Regional Conferences held in Kuching, Malaysia and São Paulo, Brazil. [BWNS683] Kuching; Malaysia; São Paulo; Brazil Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2008 27 – 28 Dec Regional Conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This conference represents the half-way point in the series of 41 conferences between November 1st and March 1st. [BWNS685] Kuala Lumpur; Malaysia Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 3 – 4 Jan Regional Conferences held in London, United Kingdom and Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. [BWNS686] London; United Kingdom; Abidjan; Côte d'Ivoire Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 10 – 11 Jan Regional Conferences held in Toronto, Canada and Guadalajara, Mexico. [BWNS687] Toronto; Canada; Guadalajara; Mexico Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 17 – 18 Jan Regional Conferences held in Lae, Papua New Guinea, Vancouver, Canada and Managua, Nicaragua. [BWNS689] Lae; Papua New Guinea; Vancouver; Canada; Managua; Nicaragua Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 24 – 25 Jan Regional Conferences held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Sydney, Australia and Madrid, Spain. [BWNS690] Ulaan Baatar; Mongolia; Sydney; Australia; Madrid; Spain Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 31 Jan – 1 Feb Regional Conferences held in Auckland, New Zealand and Battambang, Cambodia. [BWNS692] Auckland; New Zealand; Battambang; Cambodia Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 14 – 15 Feb Regional Conference held in Istanbul, Turkey. [BWNS698] Istanbul; Turkey Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 21 – 22 Feb Regional Conferences held in Baku, Azerbaijan and Accra, Ghana. [BWNS700] Baku; Azerbaijan; Accra; Ghana Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 28 Feb – 1 Mar Regional Conference held in Kyiv, Ukraine. [BWNS701] Kyiv; Ukraine Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 1 Mar The purpose of the Regional Conferences is to celebrate achievements during the first half of the Five Year Plan and to deliberate on the next phase. Reports from the 41 Regional Conferences can be found at Conference Reports. Worldwide Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2009 16 Mar The Supreme Administrative Court removes any grounds for preventing Baha'is from receiving proper official identity documents by dismissing an appeal by two Muslim lawyers thus clearing the way for an end to years of deprivation for Egyptian Baha'is and opening the door to a new level of respect for religious privacy in Egypt. The appeal sought to prevent the implementation of a lower court ruling last year that said Baha'is can leave blank the religious classification field on official documents, including all-important identity cards and birth certificates. [BWNS703] Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2009 Apr Beth McKenty, longtime pioneer to Iqaluit, Numavut, Canada receives the Caring Canadian Award from the Governor General of Canada for her work in the community. [BWNS711] Iqaluit; Numavut; Iqaluit; Canada Awards; BWNS
    2009 17 Apr With respect to the Supreme Administrative Court decision of 16 March 2009, the decree, dated 19 March, 2009 is signed by General Habib al-Adly, Egypt’s Interior Minister, and published on 14 April in the official gazette. According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), which represented Baha’is in many of the recent court cases concerning religious affiliation on government documents, the decree amends the Implementing Statutes of Egypt’s Civil Status Law of 1994. It specifically instructs officials to place a dash (--) before the line reserved for religion in the official documents of citizens who can show that they, or their ancestors, were followers of a religious belief other than the three recognized by the state. [BWNS707] Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2009 2 – 3 Jul More than 20 members of the European Bahá'í Business Forum participated in the Global Ethics Forum, held at United Nations headquarters in Geneva. [BWNS722] Geneva; Switzerland; Europe European Bahai Business Forum (EBBF); Business; BWNS
    2009 10 Jul Iranian officials tell the families of the seven Baha'i leaders being held in Evin prison in Tehran that their trial has been delayed. No new trial date was given. [BWNS723] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Evin prison; BWNS
    2009 8 Aug Two young Egyptian Bahá'ís, Imad and Nancy Rauf Hindi, received the new identity cards. They had been at the center of a court case over religious identification on government documents. Their new computerized ID cards show a dash instead of their religion. They are the first such cards to be issued following a ruling by the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court of 16 March, 2009 that cleared the way for the government to issue documents without reference to religious identity. For nearly five years, since the government began introducing a computerized identity card system that locked out all religious classifications except Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, Bahá'ís have been unable to get ID cards and other documents essential to day-to-day life in Egypt. [BWNS707, BWNS726, BWNS499, BWNS495, BWNS492, BWNS480]

    The Bahá’í secured the right to an identification card, however, legislation still refused to recognize the validity of the Bahá’í faith and maintained their secondary status within Egypt. Marriage and Bahá’í personal law were still not acknowledged by the state: married Bahá’í who refused to be issued documentation that lists them incorrectly as ‘single’ still reportedly faced difficulties in setting up a bank account and other basic freedoms. This official ‘invisibility’ had also had a profound impact on their ability to participate in civil and political life. Bahá’ís were also the target of hostility towards the end of Mubarak’s regime and in the wake of his resignation, including the torching of several Bahá’í homes where the perpetrators remain unpunished. {Minority Rights website]

    Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
    2009 17 Aug The trial of seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned in Iran is further postponed until 18 October. [BWNS727] Tihran; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Human rights; BWNS
    2009 7 – 18 Dec The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference raised climate change policy to the highest political level. Close to 115 world leaders attended the high-level segment, making it one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever outside UN headquarters in New York. More than 40,000 people, representing governments, nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, media and UN agencies applied for accreditation. The delegation of the Bahá'í International Community, registered with the United Nations as an international nongovernmental organization, comprises some 20 people. [BWNS742] Copenhagen; Denmark Climate change; Environment; United Nations; United Nations conferences; BWNS
    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 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 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; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre
    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 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 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] BWC; Haifa; Mount Carmel Bab, Shrine of; Restoration; BWNS; World Centre; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens
    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-election; 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 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 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
    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; Documentaries; Iranian Taboo; Reza Allamehzadeh; BWNS
    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
    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 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 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 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; Z****
    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
    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 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 BWSN1153
    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 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
    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
    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 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 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 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
    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 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 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

    Since its dedication in October 2016, the Temple has been a recipient of an International Architecture Award as well as awards for structural artistry from the Institution of Structural Engineers, for innovation in architecture from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, for innovation from the American Institute of Architects, for design excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects, for “Best in Americas, Civil Buildings,” from World Architecture News, and for Architectural and Cultural design from American Architecture Prize. [BWNS1262]

    Santiago; Chile Mashriqul-Adhkar, Santiago; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Siamak Hariri; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Awards; Architects; Juan Grimm; Counsellors; Marble; Gardens; BWNS; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Z****
    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 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 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 18 Jun The plan for the design of the Local Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Tanna, Vanuatu was announced. Ashkan Mostaghim of Mostaghim & Associates, a firm from Sydney, Australia, 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; Z****
    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; - Bahai World Centre buildings, monuments and gardens; World Centre
    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.

    Battambang; Cambodia Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Cambodia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Architects; Firsts, Other; Gardens; BWNS
    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. 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. 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; Environment; BWNS
    2017 5 Dec The release of Behrooz Tavakkoli, 66, from prison after serving a 10-year term. He was the third member of the Yaran to be released. [Iran Press Watch18533; Iran Press Watch18536; BWNS1225] 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 52 year-old detainee Hammed bin Haidara to death on the backdrop of his Bahá'í beliefs, allegedly for collaborating with Israel and forging official documents. He had been tortured and ill-treated in custody since being incarcerated in December of 2013. The judgment issued by the Houthi-controlled Criminal Court in Sana'a also confiscated the funds of Hammed bin Haidara and shut all Bahá'í centres in the country. The persecution of Bahá'ís in the area controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia reflected the pattern of persecution in Iran.
    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimated that the number of Bahá'ís in Yemen was about 2,000 people in several Yemeni provinces. [Al Arabiya English 3 January, 2018, BIC 5 January, 2018, Amnesty International 28 April, 2017, Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page]
    • "The Yemini Initiative for Defending Bahá'í Rights", a activist group launched in April of 2017, 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 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 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 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 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 female architect for 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
    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 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
    2018 22 Jun Following the recitation of prayers, the carved teak Greatest Name symbol was raised 15 meters to be placed at the inner apex of the dome inside the local Baha’i House of Worship in Agua Azul, Colombia. This marks the near-completion of the world’s second local House of Worship. [BWNS1268] Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Columbia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; BWNS; Z****
    2018 22 Jul The dedication of the second local Bahá'í House of Worship in the world in Norte del Cauca, Colombia. (For information on the first local Mashriqu’l-Adhkár see here.) The event marked the opening of a month-long inauguration period. In a series of weekly visits to the Temple, 1,500 people were expected to participate in a special program called “My First Visit to the Bahá'í House of Worship.”
    • In the Ridván Message of 2012 the Universal House of Justice announced that national Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs would to be raised up in two countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea and that the first local Houses of Worship were to be built in Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu. This is the second of those local Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs to have been completed. [Ridván 2012 Message]
    • See the message from the Universal House of Justice dated 1 August, 2014 where they point out the "the dynamic interaction between worship and endeavours to uplift the spiritual, social, and material conditions of society" and recall the contruction of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs in Turkistan and in America.
    • The local Baha'i House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia, includes a budding native forest, called the Bosque Nativo, that aims to restore the region's indigenous plants. This video in Spanish describes the Bosque Nativo's features.
    • The Universal House of Justice was represented by Mrs. Carmen Elisa de Sadeghian who read a letter addressed to the attendees. “This House of Worship stands now as a symbol of the beauty inherent in the noble people of this region and its design evokes the generosity of their land,” states the letter, dated 22 July 2018. Also in attendance were Mr. Gustavo Correa and Dr. Farzam Arbab, two former members of the Universal House of Justice, as well as the mayors of four neighbouring towns. [BWNS1275]
    • A musical group sang and dancers performed a piece titled “The Soul of Norte del Cauca,” about the arrival of the Bahá'í Faith to the region and how Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings are given expression in the hopes and aspirations of the people. The group also performed a song called "La Cumbia del Jardinero" which is available on SoundCloud.

      Quick Facts
      Location: Aqua Azul, Notre del Cauca, Columbia
      Property acquired: December, 2013
      Design unveiled: 13 September, 2014
      Groundbreaking: 22 May, 2016
      Construction Period: January 2017 to July 2018
      Site Dedication: 22 July, 2018
      Architect: Mr. Gutierrez Chacón
      Architectural firm: CUNA Engineering and Sustainable Architecture
      Seating:
      Dimensions: The Temple is 18 metres tall. Inside height is 15 metres.
      Cost:
      Dependencies:
      References: BWNS1020; BWNS1047; BWNS1109; BWNS1153; BWNS1168; BWNS1222; BWNS1240; BWNS1249; BWNS1268, BWNS1277.

    Agua Azul; Norte del Cauca; Columbia Gutierrez Chacón; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Colombia; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; BWNS; Z****
    2018 15 Sep Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi authorities a court hearing targeted some 20 Baha’is with a string of baseless charges which include espionage and apostasy. The charges were primarily made against individuals who held administrative roles in the Baha’i community but extend to other Yemeni Baha’is including a teenage girl. The judge in the case was Abdu Ismail Hassan Rajeh, the same judge who presided over Mr. Haydara's in January of 2018. [BWNS1285] Sana'a; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Court cases; Human rights; BWNS; Z****
     
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