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>>   Letters from the Universal House of Justice
Abstract:
Two letters giving an overview of wheelchair access to various points on pilgrimage tours.
Notes:
Transmitted by email. Both letters written to the same person, and submitted by and posted with permission of recipient.

Handicapped facilities at the Bahá'í World Center pilgrimage sites

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice

2000-02-21
21 February 2000

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

We have received your email of 14 January 1999 asking about handicapped accessibility during pilgrimage, and we provide the following reply, the delay of which, owing to the pressure of work at the Bahá'í World Centre, is regretted.

Every effort is made to accommodate pilgrims confined to wheelchairs, and consultation with the pilgrim guides during registration will assist in this regard. Provisions are made, for example, whereby pilgrims are able to enter the Holy Shrines in a wheelchair. There will be instances, however, when they may be unable to participate in some activities, such as the full tour of the completed terraces. There are also several Holy Places that you will be unable to see, because the stairs are narrow and steep and we can no longer, even with assistance, take people in wheelchairs over them. This includes the Mansion of Bahji, the House of `Abbud and the House of `Abdu'llah Pasha in Akka, and Bahá'u'lláh's room upstairs in the Mansion of Mazra'ih.

We do not have information regarding transportation, such as from the airport to Haifa, or to and from hotels. This information should be obtainable through a travel agent, or through the hotel where a pilgrim is staying. If you contact directly the hotels listed in the enclosed leaflet, "Information on Hotels and Transportation for Bahá'í Pilgrims," they should be able to provide you with the most current information.

We hope this information has been of help. We look forward to receiving your pilgrimage application, and to welcoming you to the Bahá'í World Centre in due time.

          With loving Bahá'í greetings,
          Office of Pilgrimage
19 April 2005

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has received your email message of 7 April 2005, regarding the possibility of viewing a portrait of Bahá'u'lláh, and it has asked us to convey the following.

As you are aware, pilgrimage and special occasions as designated by the House of Justice are the times when believers look upon the portrait of the Blessed Beauty in an atmosphere of particular reverence. With regard to your case, and the possibility of believers with disabilities participating in pilgrimage, we wish to clarify that anyone who needs assistance may arrange for a traveling companion to aid them, and through consultation with the pilgrim guides, every effort is made to accommodate pilgrims confined to wheelchairs. You should not be in any doubt that you are most welcome to come to the Holy Land, and as a pilgrim, you would not only have the bounty of praying in the Shrines, but also of visiting the International Archives Building, which houses an authentic portrait of Bahá'u'lláh. There are several Holy Places in which pilgrims confined to a wheelchair may be unable to visit the upper floors; however, this should not preclude your participation in most of the pilgrimage program, including viewing the portrait of Bahá'u'lláh....

    With loving Bahá'í greetings,
    Office of Pilgrimage
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