The opening months of the second phase of the Ten-Year Plan have witnessed, on the American, the European, the African, the Asiatic and the Australian fronts, a succession of victories rivalling, in their variety, rapidity and significance, the prodigious efforts exerted, and the superb exploits achieved, during the first twelve months of the Global Crusade, by the mighty company of the stalwart Knights of Bahá'u'lláh in well nigh a hundred virgin territories scattered over the face of the planet.
Seven virgin territories have been opened to the Faith since the announcement on the morrow of the Ridván Festival, raising the total number of the Sovereign States and Dependencies enlisted under the banner of the Cause of God to two hundred and thirty-five. The number of the unopened territories outside of the Soviet Orbit has now shrunk to eight, namely: Spitzbergen, Anticosti Island, St. Thomas Island, Nicobar Islands, Cocos Island, Socotra Island, Loyalty Islands, and the Chagos Archipelago. The following pioneers have been inscribed on the Roll of Honor since my last sixth periodic announcement: Elizabeth Stamp, St. Helena; Mr. and Mrs. Harold Fitzner, Portuguese Timor; Elise Schreiber, Spanish Guinea; Violet Hoehnke, Admiralty Islands; Shahpoor Rowhani and Ardeshir Faroodi, Bhutan; Mehraben Sohaili, Comoro Islands; Marcia Atwater, Marshall Islands.
The number of Bahá'í centers scattered over the continents and islands of the globe has now passed the three thousand mark. A contract has been signed for the purchase of a three-acre plot as the site of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of Europe, situated on a plateau near the Taunus Hills in the vicinity of the City of Frankfurt. A thirty thousand square meter property located on the banks of the Tigris has been acquired as the site of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Holy City of Baghdád. A plot lying in the outskirts of New Delhi has been secured at the price of a hundred thousand rupees as the site of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Indian sub-continent. A twelve thousand dollar plot has been bought in Johannesburg as the site of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of South Africa. A five-year Plan has been initiated in Bahá'u'lláh's native land designed to raise twelve million tumans for the projected construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in the cradle of the Faith. A six thousand dollar plot has been purchased in the vicinity of the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf and registered in the name of the newly established Israel Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles. A property has been acquired opposite the Mother Temple of the West to serve as a possible site for the first Dependency of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of Wilmette. A contract has been signed, pending registration of a house valued at ten thousand dollars and situated in the immediate neighborhood of the Báb's Sepulcher, in the name of the recently established Israel Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada. Preliminary steps have been taken for the acquisition of two plots, the one situated on the ridge of Mt. Carmel, the other to the west of the Báb's resting-place and for their subsequent registration in the name of the Israel Branches of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Persia and of Australia and New Zealand, respectively. A national Haziratu'l-Quds has been purchased in Kabul and one in Johannesburg. Arrangements will soon be completed for the purchase of a building costing over eighteen thousand dollars for a national Haziratu'l-Quds in Tunis. Funds totalling over one hundred thousand dollars have been initiated for the purchase of similar institutions in Anchorage, Asuncion, Auckland, &Bahrayn, Beirut, Bern, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Ciudad Trujillo, Colombo, Copenhagen, Guatemala, Havana, Helsingfors, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, La Paz, Lima, Lisbon, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Managua, Mexico City, Montevideo, Oslo, Panama City, Port-au-Prince, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, San Jose, Santiago, San Salvador, Stockholm, Suva, Tegucigalpa, The Hague, Tokyo, and Vienna, as well as for the acquisition of the Garden of Ridván in Baghdád, the transfer of the remains of the wife of the Báb in Shiráz and for the purchase of the sites associated with Bahá'u'lláh's exile in Istanbul and in Adrianople. The initiation of these Funds has been made possible to a notable extent as a result of the successive contributions made by the Hand of the Cause, Amelia Collins, outstanding benefactress of the Faith, for the furtherance of some of the most vital objectives of the Ten-Year Plan. Negotiations are now afoot aiming at the acquisition of the fortress of Chihriq including its precincts involving the expenditure of a sum of over two hundred thousand tumans. Preliminary documents have been signed in connection with the purchase from the Development Authority of the State of Israel of five houses, situated at the foot of Mt. Carmel and adjoining the last terrace of the Báb's Shrine, for a sum of approximately sixty thousand dollars.
The phenomenal progress of the African Campaign, alike in the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity, has been maintained, most conspicuously in the heart of that continent, as evidenced by the ever-swelling number of African converts, now numbering over seven hundred, three hundred and eighty of which have been added in the course of a single year. The number of Bahá'í centers now spread over the face of this continent is a hundred and ninety-five. The number of African tribes represented in the Faith in this same continent has reached eighty-five. The African languages into which Bahá'í literature has been translated now number thirty-four, whilst the number of African local spiritual assemblies has swelled to fifty.
I feel the hour is now ripe for the adoption of preliminary measures designed to pave the way for the simultaneous erection during Ridván of 1956 of three pillars of the future Universal House of Justice in the North, the South and the very heart of this long dormant continent. The first of these pillars will be designated the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central and East Africa; the second the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South and West Africa; and the third the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North-West Africa. Responsibility for the convocation of the three epoch-making conventions, to be held in Kampala, Johannesburg and Tunis, preparatory to the emergence of these three central administrative institutions of the fast-evolving Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the African continent will devolve upon the British, the United States and the Egyptian Spiritual Assemblies, respectively.
The jurisdiction of the first Assembly will embrace Uganda, Tanganyika, Kenya, the Belgian Congo, Ruanda-Urundi, French Equatorial Africa, Zanzibar, the Comoro Islands and the Seychelles. That of the second will extend over the Union of South Africa, South-West Africa, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola, Bechuanaland, Basutoland, Swaziland, Nyasaland, Zululand, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion Island and St. Helena. That of the third will include Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco (Int. Zone), Spanish Morocco, French Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Rio de Oro, Spanish Guinea, Ashanti Protectorate, French Cameroons, British Cameroons, Northern Territories Protectorate, French Togoland, British Togoland, Gambia, Portuguese Guinea, French West Africa, the Gold Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, and St. Thomas Island.
Abyssinia, Libya, Eritrea, British, French and Italian Somaliland and Socotra Island will, as of Ridván of that same year, fall within the administrative jurisdiction of the Egyptian National Spiritual Assembly which will from then on be designated as the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North-East Africa. All African territories originally allocated to the United States, the Persian, the Egyptian, the Indian, and the British National Spiritual Assemblies will continue, in the course of the Ten-Year Plan, to benefit from the advantages of sustained assistance by these Assemblies --an assistance that will enable them to assume an ever-increasing share in the steadily expanding activities of the nascent National Spiritual Assemblies.
Only local spiritual assemblies duly constituted during Ridván 1955 will be qualified to elect delegates to these four historic conventions to be convened during the succeeding year.
I call upon the Hand of the Cause, Musa Banani, to act as my representative at each of the three Conventions destined to culminate in the emergence of these three momentous institutions. I moreover invite the Chairman of the United States, the British and the Egyptian National Spiritual Assemblies to convene the aforementioned Conventions falling within the respective jurisdiction of these Assemblies and urge as many members of the African Auxiliary Board as possible to attend the sessions, and lend their support to the deliberations, of these gatherings. I feel, moreover, moved at this juncture to stress the urgent necessity for all groups established throughout the African continent as well as in the islands situated in its neighborhood--already four score in number--to seize their present golden opportunity during the fast-fleeting months separating them from next Ridván, and exert every effort to attain assembly status which will enable them to participate in the election of, and contribute to the broadening of the foundations of the projected National Spiritual Assemblies.
I earnestly appeal to all Bahá'í communities, and in particular to their national elected representatives in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia to brace themselves and vie with one another in emulating the example of their African sister communities ranking among the youngest in the Bahá'í world. I entreat them, through a greater dispersal and an intensification of teaching activity, to lend an unprecedented impetus to the multiplication of local spiritual assemblies in their respective areas, accelerating thereby the dynamic process of the formation of National Spiritual Assemblies--a process destined to usher in the third and most brilliant phase, and constituting unquestionably the noblest objective, of the most stupendous crusade ever launched in the course of eleven decades of Bahá'í history.
Share this message with the Hands of the Cause and the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the Bahá'í World.
[October 1, 1954]