Re: arson, terrorism, burning, torture

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Posted by Brett Zamir ( on July 07, 2002 at 13:36:03:

In Reply to: Re: arson, terrorism, burning, torture posted by BK on July 07, 2002 at 03:44:32:

Dear BK,

I have appreciated your responses. Thanks. And welcome!

I hope my response didn't sound critical of you. I was just raising the point that I could imagine such words being said, say to a seeker, in an apologetic tone to explain away the Writings rather than just offering a possible alternative interpretation. If it were the latter, as you are maintaining, I have no problem with it. And you're right, I think. Unless something else comes up from the Writings, we can't know for sure until the House of Justice speaks to it.

I'm not exactly sure what you are saying about reform in your second post. In my use of the word "reformed", I do think it's possible and relevant for criminals to be reformed even if they are sentenced to life in prison or death since it is their inner attitude to God which is important. There are, I'm sure, many prisoners who lead productive lives as a result of finding spiritual education, and it is not only for reasons of expedience for those who may return to society, I'm sure, that 'Abdu'l-Baha speaks to the importance of visiting and educating prisoners.

Your points about the Tribunal are very well-taken. The Baha'i International Community has reinforced this by giving practical steps to the United Nations to strengthen their role toward evolving into that Tribunal. One of their suggestions, available at specifically deals with terrorism:

"The World Court should act as an umbrella for existing and new thematic courts, that arbitrate and adjudicate international cases within specific thematic domains.

"Early components of a unified system can already be found in the specialized courts for arbitration of such matters as commerce and transportation, and in the proposals for such bodies as an International Criminal Court and a Chamber for Environmental Matters. Other issue areas that might need to be addressed under such a system would include courts for international terrorism and drug trafficking." (Turning Point for All Nations).

And as the Universal House of Justice has stated in the Promise of World Peace and as you seem to also imply, there are many issues not normally associated with peace which we have to address. I think the Warwick leaflet on terrorism, available at , does a good job of addressing this.

But frankly, I think the greatest thing we can do is to teach the Faith such that others come to embrace the whole of its teachings. Since religion has become such a bed of conflict (we have the new address to religious leaders to amplify this), bringing others to the Faith requires them to challenge their formerly held views on other religions and its members (as well as methods of dealing with conflict), because Baha'u'llah requires that all new adherents accept all the other Prophets as well.

In particular, I think, in the current situation, is the importance of Westerners coming to recognize the divine status of Islam. As Abdu'l-Baha says in Paris Talks:

"If only the whole world would acknowledge the greatness of Muhammad and all the Heaven-sent Teachers, strife and discord would soon vanish from the face of the earth, and God's Kingdom would come among men. The people of Islám who glorify Christ are not humiliated by so doing. Christ was the Prophet of the Christians, Moses of the Jews÷why should not the followers of each prophet recognize and honour the other prophets also?" (section 13.17-13.19, pp. 40-41)

best wishes and eager to hear more of your and others' ideas on the topic!

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