Bahá'í Library Online
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Chronology of the Bábí and Bahá'í Faiths and related history

This chronology is an updated, expanded version of A Basic Baha'i Chronology by
Glenn Cameron and Wendi Momen. To help add or correct entries, contact Glenn.
See also Chronology of the Bahá'í Faith in Canada.
 Enter the first part of a date or an entire date, with or without hyphens, in the form Year-Month-Day. Examples:
century:18 - - decade:184 - year:1848 month:1848-03 day:1848-03-03

or jump to:   1700s 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s . . . 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s search tips, key

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2024 22 - 23 Sep The 75th Anniversary of the United Nations was marked in June 2020 with a declaration by Member States that included 12 overarching commitments along with a request to the Secretary-General for recommendations to address both current and future challenges.

In September 2021, the Secretary-General responded with his report, Our Common Agenda, a wake-up call to speed up the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and propel the commitments contained in the UN75 Declaration. In some cases, the proposals addressed gaps that had emerged since 2015, requiring new intergovernmental agreements. The report, therefore, called for a Summit of the Future to forge a new global consensus on readying for a future that is rife with risks but also opportunities. The General Assembly welcomed the submission of the “rich and substantive” report and agreed to hold the Summit on 22-23 September 2024, preceded by a ministerial meeting in 2023. An action-oriented Pact for the Future is expected to be agreed by Member States through intergovernmental negotiations on issues they decide to take forward. [Road to the Summit of the Future] [key]

New York; New York United Nation; Summit of the Future
2024 Jan The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States established the Corinne True Center for Bahá’í History. Its stated purpose was to foster the study of Bahá’í history, Bahá’í sacred texts, Bahá’í philosophical and theological concepts, and world religions from a Bahá’í and comparative perspective. It will accomplish this through online noncredit courses, web presentations and interviews, online seminars, online conferences, in-person conferences, and publication of some of the resulting research. It will seek to support these subjects at three levels in order to provide comprehensive support to Bahá’í culture and Bahá’í scholarship: at an introductory level, to inform rank and file believers and their friends and encourage them to do basic scholarship; at an advanced level, for Bahá’ís and their friends wishing to go into greater depth of study and research; and at the graduate and postgraduate levels, via seminars and academic-level conferences.

A website has been established and they have a YouTube and a Facebook presence as well.

United States
2023 4 Dec In a statement released by the Bahá'í Community titled, A Change in Tactics: The Iranian Government’s Recent Persecution of Bahá'ís, it was reported that the latest change in tactics represents an escalation and intensification of its policy of systematic persecution against the community.

The statement detailed a range of new and ever harsher methods the authorities are using to persecute the Bahá'ís. The methods include home raids and searches, arrests, trials, prison terms, land and property confiscations, hate speech, the denial of education, and the denial of burial rights and of basic citizenship rights. The principal goal of these new tactics, the Bahá'í International Community believes, is to sow fear and confusion, to disenfranchise and further impoverish Baha’is, to prolong the harassment of individuals, and to instill feelings of uncertainty and thus rob all Baha'is of peace and security in their daily lives.

Iran Persecution, Iran; Baha'i International Community
2023 28 Nov On 28 November 2023 the Universal House of Justice, in a Message addressed to the Bahá'ís of the World, published a review of the previous 100 years of the Formative Age.

It bears a similarity to the Lawḥ-i-Qarn (Tablet of the Centennial) that Shoghi Effendi sent to the Bahá'ís of Iran to commemorate the Centenary of the Faith in 1944.

BWC Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; Reflections on the First Century of the Formative Age (letter); Historical overviews by Central Figures or BWC
2023 November Mahvash Sabet, from her prison cell, sent an open letter to the people of Iran. [Letter] [key] Tehran; Iran Yaran
2023 6 Oct The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2023 to Narges Mohammadi for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all. Her brave struggle came with tremendous personal costs. In 2003 she became involved with the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran, an organisation founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. In 2011 Ms Mohammadi was arrested for the first time and sentenced to many years of imprisonment for her efforts to assist incarcerated activists and their families. Altogether, the regime arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes. She was in prison at the time of the announcement.

Ms. Mohammadi was unable to attend and her 17-year-old twin children, Kiana Rahmani and Ali Rahmani, instead accepted medal and diploma on her behalf and read out a speech she had prepared. [New York Times 10 December 2023]

In September 2022 a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Jina Amini, was killed while in the custody of the Iranian morality police. Her killing triggered the largest political demonstrations against Iran’s theocratic regime since it came to power in 1979. Under the slogan “Woman – Life – Freedom”, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took part in peaceful protests against the authorities’ brutality and oppression of women. The regime cracked down hard on the protests: more than 500 demonstrators were killed. Thousands were injured, including many who were blinded by rubber bullets fired by the police. At least 20,000 people were arrested and held in regime custody. [Nobel Prize]

Mohammadi's husband, Taghi Rahmani, said at a press conference in Oslo that she would undertake the hunger strike as a gesture of support for the Bahá'í religious minority. [Yahoo News 10 December 2023] . [key]

Oslo; Norway
2023 3 Oct The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the OHCHR filed its report on Qatar. One Committee Expert expressed grave concerns about reports of discrimination of religious minorities, notably against persons belonging to the Baha’i religious community, which was not recognised and denied registration in Qatar. Members of the Baha’i minority had been subjected to administrative deportation and blacklisting, resulting in loss of employment and familial separation.

Hend Bint Abalrahman Al-Muftah, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations office in Geneva, and head of delegation,Hend Bint Abalrahman Al-Muftah, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations office in Geneva, and head of delegation, responded by stating that "The State did not consider religion when determining whether to provide residency or not, the delegation said. No person of Baha’i faith or other faiths were deported unless they unlawfully stayed in Qatar." [OHCHR website] [key]

Qatar Persecution, Qatar
2023 19 Sep It was announced that the Bahá’í World News Service was expanded to include the Persian language on its website. While a distinct Persian site had existed until recently, this integration represented an important step in offering visitors a more complete experience. Accompanying this release was the launch of a dedicated YouTube channel, offering Persian-language versions of BWNS video productions on developments in the global Bahá’í community. [BWNS1695] [key] BWC BWNS
2023 26 Aug The publication of Baha'i Community of the British Isles 1844–1963 by Adam Thorne, Moojan Momen, Janet Rose, Earl Redman. It was published by George Ronald Publishers.

The British Bahá’í community has been in existence since 1899 and its elected national leadership council, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the British Isles (later the United Kingdom), was first elected in 1923. Although a number of monographs, articles and biographies have appeared over the years, no overall survey of the community’s history has yet been published. The Bahá’í Community of the British Isles, 1844–1963 is an attempt to fill some of the gap.

Oxford; United Kingdom
2023 22 Aug The launch of the Townshend Taherzadeh Library and Archives established in honour of George Townshend (1876-1957), the founding figure of the Irish Bahá’í Community, and Adib Taherzadeh (1921-2000), a father figure during its formative years. the library’s primary founding objectives are to promote, preserve and provide accessibility to the rich history and development of the Bahá’í Faith in the island of Ireland and throughout the world, and to become a centre of learning and research for future generations.


Waterford; Ireland
2023 Aug The release of the compilation To Set the World in Order: Building and Preserving Strong Marriages prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice. BWC Marriage
2023 14 - 18 Aug The Parliament was held in Chicago at McCormick Place. The theme was A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights. There were more than 7,000 attendees representing more that 95 countries. [Chicago 2023] [key] Chicago,IL; USA Parliament of the Worlds Religions
2023 13 Aug The arrest of Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, a 90-year-old Bahá'í in failing health who had already served 10 years in prison (2008-2018) for his membership in the Yaran. His arrest, along with his daughter, Maria Khanjani, were part of a new wave of repression targeting the Bahá'ís that has seen over 180 incidents of persecution against the community in recent weeks. Note

Mr. Khanjani’s arrest comes days after two other Bahá'í women and former Yaran members, Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi, received confirmation of their 10-year prison terms which were upheld this week on appeal. A fourth member of the Yaran, Afif Naimi was also arrested a year ago and has recently received a seven-year jail term. His brother, Enoyatollah, was sentenced to 18 years in prison by Judge Morteza Barati of the Isfahan Revolutionary Court, 10 years for “organizing a group or association aimed at undermining national security” and to five years in prison for “propaganda against the regime”. If the verdict is upheld by the appeals court,Naimi must serve the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The court also sentenced him to a fine of50 million tomans and deprived him of his civil rights for 15 years. [Iranwire 15 may 2023]

Nine other Bahá'ís were also arrested on the same day as Mr Khanjani. They are the owners and employees of a number of pharmacy businesses, which were sealed and shut down by the authorities. They have been accused of disrupting pharmaceutical supplies. In the face of growing solidarity between the Bahá'ís and the general population the government is trying to drive a wedge by calling these legitimate Bahá'í-owned trading businesses “hoarders”. These new arrests have taken the number of Bahá'ís arrested or imprisoned in recent weeks to almost 60 incidents. During the same period, over 26 Bahá'ís also received sentences for jail terms that could begin at any time. Further, 18 Bahá'ís have faced interrogations. Fifty-nine Bahá'í-owned businesses were reported to have been sealed by the authorities and the homes of nine others were raided and searched. The brutal crackdown is reminiscent of August last year, where over 300 incidents of persecution against the Bahá'ís occurred in one month alone. [BIC News 16 August 2023; HRANA] [key]

Tehran; Iran Persecution, Iran; Yaran
2023 11 Aug The Tehran Court of Appeal maintained the original rulings against Baha’i citizens, Mahvash Sabet (Shahriari) and Fariba Kamalabadi, confirming their 20-year prison terms. Initially, both women were sentenced to ten years, along with additional penalties by the Tehran Revolutionary Court on charges of “forming and leading groups to act against national security.” Following these apprehensions, the Ministry of Intelligence released a video portraying these individuals as spies, alleging their involvement in infiltrating kindergartens to propagate their beliefs and advocating for the removal of hijab.

A source close to Sabet’s family revealed that Sabet, aged 70, is battling multiple illnesses that have been aggravated by her prolonged imprisonment. Over the past few months, she has faced several hospitalizations. [Iran Press Watch 11 August 2-23]

They, along with fellow former member of the "Yaran", Mr Afif Naimi, had been arrested on the 31st of July at the outset of the summer crackdown. [BIC News 18 November 2022] [key]

Tehran; Iran Persecution, Iran; Yaran
2023 25 May The Yemeni Houthis carried out an attack on a peaceful gathering of Bahá'ís in Sana’a detaining and disappearing 17 individuals including 5 women. The attack occurred as the Baha'is had gathered at a residence to elect the national governing body for the Yemeni Bahá'í community and was recorded on the Zoom call in progress at the time. The detainees’ whereabouts and wellbeing were unknown. The Baha'i International Community reported that they had "been alerted to other incidents suggesting that the raid may be the first of more attempts by security to target Baha’is across Houthi-controlled Yemen" and that details of these incidents were being withheld for security reasons. [Iranwire 26 May 2023; BWNS1671]
  • In a sermon on the 2nd of June the Houthi’s Grand Muft,i Shams al-Din Sharaf al-Din, delivered a bloodcurdling sermon filled with disinformation and hate against the Bahá'ís. He insisted that while Islam protects the freedom of belief, anyone who leaves Islam should be killed. [UN Dispatch 12 June 2023] iiiii
  • Sana'a; Yemen Persecution, Yemen
    2023 15 May The Universal House of Justice announced the appointment of the members of the International Teaching Centre for the five-year term beginning 23 May 2023. Those appointed were: Antonella Demonte, Gloria Javid, Dinesh Kumar, Kanagaratnam Lakmeeharan, Rachel Ndegwa, Amir Saberin, Navid Serrano, Mehranguiz Farid Tehrani, and Holly Woodard. [message from the NSA of Canada to all assemblies, councils and groups S127916 dated 15 May 2023] [key] BWC International Teaching Centre, members of
    2023 15 May The Bahá’í International Community announced the launching a global campaign, called #OurStoryIsOne, to honour the 10 Iranian women executed forty years prior and the long struggle for gender equality lived by women of all faiths and backgrounds in Iran for many decades and which continued in that country. The campaign started in June and spanned a year, with its most intensive phase taking place the first three weeks of June, leading up to the 40th anniversary of their execution on 18 June.

    The BIC invited people around the world, whether as artists, musicians, filmmakers, or in other creative areas, to pay tribute in their name. Contributions included: songs about the 10 women, short videos about their lives, a memory of the women themselves, graphic arts, written work, social media posts, or public events and memorials, to honour the longstanding struggle and efforts towards gender equality in Iran.

    Details about the 10 women and a recounting of the story of their arrest and public execution can be found here.

    Please see BIC News 1 August 2023 for a complete report.

    On the 12th of September 2023 the US House of Representatives has passed a resolution about the Bahá'ís in Iran with 28 congressional co-sponsors—an unprecedented number of co-sponsors among congressional resolutions on the persecution of the Bahá'ís in Iran for at least 20 years. House Resolution 492, was introduced by Illinois Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky. It follows Ms. Schakowsky’s strong support for the ongoing #OurStoryIsOne campaign, launched in June of this year where she initially announced this bill. The campaign began in honour of the 40th anniversary of the execution of 10 Baha’i women in Shiraz for their beliefs. The Baha’i International Community dedicated the campaign and the anniversary to all women in Iran who continue to struggle for the cause of gender equality.

    The resolution begins with the execution of the 10 women, stating, “[w]hereas June 18, 2023, marks the 40th anniversary of the execution of 10 Bahá'í women by the Iranian Government each witnessing the hanging of those hanged before her in a final failed attempt to induce abandonment of their faith after over 6 months of imprisonment and violent abuse, with the youngest only 17 years old.”

    It further condemns the “violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights,” calling on the Iranian government to “immediately release Baha’is and others imprisoned or detained solely on account of religion, end its state-sponsored campaign of hate propaganda against the Bahá'ís, and reverse policies that discriminate against Bahá'ís and other religious minorities. [GlobeNewswire 12 September 2023; Iran Press Watch 15 September 2023]

    Geneva; Switzerland; Shiraz; Iran Persecution, Iran; Bahai International Community
    2023 7 May The passing of Jack Edwards McCants (b. Dallas, Texas 19 January 1930) in the Houston area. He was buried at Calvary Hill Cemetery in Humble, Texas. Mr McCants was an ordained Methodist minister until becoming a Bahá'í in 1959. He received a doctorate in public health administration. He served as an Auxiliary Board Member from 1965-1967 and was first elected to the National Spiritual Assembly in 1968. He left after two years to help set up the first mental Health institutions in the Pacific islands. He was elected to the National Assembly of Samoa in 1975 and then moved to the Philippines in 1978. He returned to the USA in 1980 and was again elected to the National Asmelby in 1986 and retired in 2002. [Calvary Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery. iiiii
    2023 1 May The Bahá'í World Centre released a short documentary regarding the construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for the delegates of the 13th International Bahá’í Convention. It included an account of the clean-up efforts following the fire at the construction site in April of 2022 and the resumption of work in August.

    The film can be viewed on YouTube. There are plans to release subtitled versions in Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish. A version with Persian subtitles can be seen here. [BWNS1622] [key]

    BWC Abdul-Baha, shrine of
    2023 Ridván The release of the Ridván Message. by the Universal House of Justice.

    They called for the establishment of a local Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Kanchanpur, Nepal, and in Mwinilunga, Zambia. A national House of Worship is to be raised up in Toronto, Canada, in the vicinity of the long-established National Bahá'í Centre. [BWNS 1669] [key]

    BWC; Toronto; Canada; Kanchanpur; Nepal; Mwinilunga; Zambia Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; Mashriqu’l-Adhkar; Mashriqul-Adhkar, local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Toronto; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Nepal; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Zambia
    2023 30 Apr The film, An Expansive Prospect, commissioned by the Universal House of Justice, was screened at the 13th International Bahá’í Convention.

    The 72 minute film highlighted efforts in four regions of the world where people, communities, and institutions were striving together to channel the transformative power of the Bahá'í teachings toward social change. It was scripted in English with subtitled versions in other languages. A voiceover version of the film in Arabic was also made available.

  • It can be found on YouTube in the original English. Other versions include Russian, Spanish, French, Farsi, and Arabic.
  • BWC Conventions, International; Film; Documentaries, BWC; Social change; * Institute process; Nine Year Plan (2022-2031); An Expansive Prospect (film)
    2023 24 Apr - 2 May In 2022 local Bahá'í conferences were able to be held in Morocco as part of a wave of Bahá'í conferences held globally, and as of 2023 the National Spiritual Assembly of Morocco had been re-established with its delegates attending the Thirteenth International Convention. [BWNS1587 slide 33; BWNS1657 slide 82] [key] BWC National Spiritual Assembly, formation
    2023 24 Apr - 2 May The 13th International Bahá'í Convention was held at the Bahá'í World Centre.

    To prepare for their duty in electing the Universal House of Justice, delegates immersed themselves in the spiritual atmosphere of the Bahá’í Holy Places in Akka and Haifa including the construction site of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Baha.

    At the start of the Convention, the Bahá’ís in Iran, who for several decades have been prevented from forming Bahá’í institutions and therefore electing representatives, were remembered by the participants, and their absence was poignantly marked by a beautiful arrangement of 95 red roses.

    Some 1,250 delegates came from 176 countries across the world to attend the International Convention which ran from the 29th of April to the 2nd of May. On the first day of their arrival the delegates visited the Holy Places in Haifa and in Akka [BWNS1656]

    On Saturday, the 29th of April, the 12th day of Ridván, 1590 votes were counted on behalf of the assembled and absent delegates. There was a tie for the 9th place and the assembled delegates voted on Sunday to decided between the two men. On the 1st of May it was announced that Chuungu Malitonga, Paul Lample, Juan Francisco Mora, Ayman Rouhani, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, Praveen Mallik, Andrej Donoval, and Albert Nshisu Nsunga were elected. [BWNS1656; BWNS1657; BWNS1658; BWNS1659]

    See two photo albums posted by Hungarian delegate and photographer Edit Kalman called Precious Souls and Special days.

    BWC Conventions, International; Universal House of Justice, election of; Universal House of Justice, members of
    2023 21 - 22 Apr More than 40 political, social and human rights activists inside and outside Iran, some from inside the Islamic Republic’s prisons, joined a virtual seminar to try to answer the question: How to save Iran?

    Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi were among the prisoners who sent a written note from their cells in Evan Prison to this symposium that was held on the Clubhouse app. After their message was published, both women were barred from receiving visitors or using their phones for three weeks. [IranWire 24 April, 2023; IranWire 15 May 2023] [key]

    Persecution, Iran
    2023 12 Apr Iran's former crown prince, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife Yasmine visited the Bahá'í World Centre at the end of their five-day visit to Israel. During their visit they held talks with senior officials, met Israelis of Iranian descent and participated in Israel's annual Holocaust memorial ceremony. Pahlavi, a critic of the Islamic Republic said that in "a free future Iran, Bahá'ís will have the opportunity to participate in the reconstruction and development of the country once again, with full and equal citizenship rights." [IranWire] iiiii
  • See as well Pahlavi's speech at the Anti-Defamation League’s 2023 National Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. [Jewish Journal 11 May 2023; YouTube (start at 7:10)}
  • BWC Reza Pahlavi
    2023 11 Apr After the trial, Fariba Kamalabadi, tried with Mahvash Sabet, was transferred to the women’s ward for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Sabet was kept at Ward 209 and transferred to the women’s ward after 40 days, during which time nobody knew what had happened to her.

    Independent Iranian news sources reported that Mahvash Sabet Shahriari was said to have had her knees injured while under interrogation by officials in Evin jail. Evin prison is often called the "world's worst prison". It has a reputation for its inhumane living conditions, where inmates are subjected to daily whippings, beatings and torture. Former inmates have previously spoken about the barbaric horrors they witnessed while in Evin- including electrocution, rape, torture and executions. [Daily Mail 11 April 2023]

    IranWire received an audio file from Faezeh Hashemi, a political activist and daughter of late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, herself jailed in Evin but briefly released on a leave of absence, spoke about her cellmates. “Mahvash recounts that during an interrogation the interrogator kicked the chair from under her and, since she was facing the wall, her knees hit the wall. Now, they have X-rayed her in prison and told her that the bones in her knees are broken. She is in such a condition, 70 years old, innocent and in prison only because she is a Baha’i,” Hashemi said in the recording. People close to Fariba and Mahvash believe that the delay in transferring Mahvash to the women’s ward was most likely because of her broken knees, since interrogators wanted to keep it a secret and kept her in solitary confinement until she could walk. [IranWire 31 July 2023] [key]

    tehran; Iran Persecution, Iran; Mahvash Sabet
    2023 30 Mar A deceased Bahá’í was buried on 30 March at Khavaran cemetery near Tehran by an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence without notifying the family of the deceased. The agent had demanded that the family pay an exorbitant fee for burial within plots already owned and previously managed by the Baha’í community. He threatened the family that failure to meet his demands would result in the burial taking place in a site adjacent to the Bahá’í cemetery previously used by the government to bury executed political prisoners. In a further development the same intelligence agent threatened to bury another Bahá’í under the same circumstance if the family of the deceased also refused to yield to his demands. [BIC News 3 April 2023]
  • See as well Iranwire 11 July 2023.
  • Tehran; Iran Persecution
    2023 11 - 12 Mar The 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was held at the UN in New York. [Values in Innovation: Women’s Engagement in Re-Imagining Digital Technologies BIC Statements 22Feb2023. New York; New York United Nations; Commission on the Status of Women
    2023 8 Mar The publication of One More Mountain: Fleeing Iran for America by Mansur Nurel with Jeannette Monger. It was independently published. It is an autobiographic story of a young man of 25 who, with two friends, crossed the Zagros Mountains in the height of winter to seek asylum in Turkey. His journey took him to the United State more than a year later where he started his new life.
  • Read/hear an interview with the author in the Longmont Leader.
  • Persecution, Iran
    2023 13 Feb The publication of Alma Sedonia Knobloch by Jennifer Redson Wiebers. It was published by George Ronald Publisher.

              This book shines a light on a remarkable heroine of the Bahá'í Faith. Alma Knobloch (1864-1943) one of the three Knobloch sisters, raised up the first African-American community in North America, and was instrumental in the growth of the Bahá'í community in Germany. In His Tablets of the Divine Plan, 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote: 'Likewise Miss Knobloch travelled alone to Germany. To what a great extent she became confirmed!'
              Alma's 13 years in Germany saw an astonishing growth in the Bahá'í community to become the largest in Europe. Following 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit in 1913 and the outbreak of the First World War, the emerging community focused its efforts on peace: soldiers who had attended Bahá'í meetings entered the battlefields with Baha'i prayers and quotations against their breasts. Alma continued to open new Bahá'í communities, and at the end of the War she emerged from the bomb shelters of Mannheim to receive confirmations in large halls overflowing with hundreds of people who came to hear the message of Baha'u'llah throughout Germany. She also taught early believers in Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic, as well as future Hand of the Cause Hermann Grossmann, and the first European martyr, Adam Benke. Many of the Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá to Alma and other believers in Germany from 1908 to 1920 are published in English in this book for the first time.
              In 1920, Alma returned to the United States, where she dedicated the rest of her days to race unity, fearlessly crossing the racial and social barriers to build up lasting communities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. These later years of her life have been little known until now and are recounted here.

    2023 23 Jan The Addis Ababa Office of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) released a short video titled Women in Peace, exploring the important role that women can play in the peace-building process. Dr Solomon Belay of the BIC said that there is a relationship between the advancement of women and the creation of prosperous and peaceful societies and that full participation of women in all spheres of society is required, especially in leadership roles. [BWNS1640] [key] Addis Ababa; Ethiopia Baha'i International Community; film; Solomon Belay
    2023 18 Jan The publication of a revised edition Journey of Courage; From Disability to Spiritual Ability compiled by Frances Mezei & Shirlee Smith. It was published by Bahá'í Publications Australia. Australia Frances Mezei; Shirlee Smith
    2023 9 Jan In an article in the Jewish News Syndicate dated the 9th of January 2023 it was announced that the Shrine was expected to be ready by the end of 2024. Quoting the public information officer at the Bahá'í World Center, Sala Sabet, and David Freeman, the Jerusalem representative of the Bahá'í International Community, the article included some statistics about the project and the Faith in general.
  • The cost of construction the Shrine itself is expected to be about $75 million.
  • It will stretch across 3,000 square meters (32,300 square feet) and will be surrounded by flowering gardens on an area of approximately 58,000 square metres (14.33 acres)
  • About 1.2 million people visited the Bahá'í Holy Sites in 2019 including about 5,000 Bahá'í pilgrims.
  • More than 700 Bahá'í volunteers from 80 countries were currently servicing the sites in Israel, about 20% of whom were gardeners.
  • Some 8.5 million Bahá'ís lived in 190 countries, as of that date, including 2 million in India, which has the largest Bahá'í community.
  • BWC Abdul-Baha, shrine of; statistics
    2023 5 Aug On July 31, 2022, the Ministry of Intelligence conducted a large-scale, systematic raid on the homes of numerous Bahá'í citizens. Saman Ostovar was arrested as part of this operation. He was released on bail after spending four and a half months in temporary detention. Subsequently, the Revolutionary Court of Karaj handed down a sentence of five years in prison, and a five-year deprivation of social rights after his prison term. He was also exiled from Alborz province for two years and prohibited from leaving Iran for 2 years. A two-year ban on engaging in any educational and cultural activities was also imposed. Since 2017 Ostavar and friends had been operating a private school, "Saman's School", their own educational initiative, outside the standard school system. The school was shut down and no consideration was given to the academic needs of its students.
  • He began serving his sentence on the 5th of August, 2023. [IranWire 5 September 2023] [key]
  • Karaj; Iran Persecution, Iran
    2022 (In the year) HRANA's (Human Rights Activists News Agency) annual report in 2022 has highlighted a concerning trend where about 65% of reported human rights violations against religious minorities are directed toward the Bahá'í community. [HRANA] [key] Iran Persecution, Iran
    2022 20 - 21 Dec The Appeals Examination Circuit of Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court upheld a ruling issued by the Alexandria Administrative Court allowing the Governorate of Alexandria to deny a request submitted by the Bahá'í community to create a new cemetery for the community.

    Members of the Bahá'í community had requested that the Alexandria administrative authorities allocate a piece of land to be used as a burial site for its members because, at that time,, only a single cemetery space in Cairo’s Basatin neighbourhood was available to the thousands of Egyptians of the Bahá'í Faith. This resulted in the depletion of the cemetery’s capacity and forced families of deceased Bahá'ís to transport their loved ones’ remains to Cairo from all across Egypt.

    The legal representative of the Bahá'í community argued before the Alexandria Administrative Court that local administrative authorities had previously approved the allocation of burial sites for individuals who are not affiliated with the three officially recognized religions in Egypt — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. He noted that the Cairo Governorate had leased land to the Indian Embassy to cremate the bodies of deceased Hindus in 1964. The Cairo authorities had also granted Bahá'ís the right to bury members of their community in a separate piece of land in 1965. He added that the Governorates of Ismailia and Port Said had approved the allocation of burial sites to the Bahá'í community in 1944 and 1949. Therefore, on the grounds that local governments had previously allocated burial sites to individuals not affiliated with the three recognized religions, the Governorate of Alexandria had no right to reject the Baha’i community’s request that a new burial site be allocated for its members.

    The reason given for not allowing the appeal by the court was that the Egyptian state recognizes only Islam, Judaism, and Christianity as religions. This was based on the opinionof the Islamic Research Academy affiliated with the Al-Azhar, the main Islamic institution of Egypt. The Islamic Research Academy claimed in a report submitted to the court that providing a burial site for the Bahá'í community would “lead to discrimination, further division, fragmentation, and rupture of the fabric of one society.”

    In another decision issued on December 20, 2022, the Administrative Court of the Governorate of Port Said rejected a petition submitted by members of the Bahá'í community to allocate a piece of land to be used as a new burial site by the community. In this case they had asked that a burial site should be located on a piece of land that had been confiscated in the 1970's for which no compensation was forthcoming. This request was also disallowed. [EIN Newswire] [key]

    Alexandria; Egypt; Port Said; Egypt Persecution, Egypt
    2022 15 Dec The Bahá'í World Centre announced that work had begun on the 'Akká Visitors' Centre which will accommodate pilgrims and visitors to the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Ridván Garden. The complex will consist of three buildings: a pilgrim reception centre, which will be the largest of the buildings, a public visitors’ centre, which will be located near the northernmost gate to the site, and a utility building located along the east fence. When the project is completed, pilgrims and visitors will enter the grounds through the east gate, where they can visit the ‘Akká Visitor Centre before continuing along the path designed to facilitate stages on a meditative journey toward the Shrine. [BWNS1631] [key] BWC Abdu'l-Baha, Shrine of; Abdul-Baha, shrine of
    2022 6 Dec The release of the film A Library for All Who Seek Knowledge by the Bahá’í World News Service, a short documentary about the Afnan Library in Sandy, Bedfordshire. [BWNS1630] [key] Sandy, England Afnan Library; film; Baha'i World News Service
    2022 21 Nov The sentencing of Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi in Revolutionary Court’s Branch 26 in Tehran with Judge Iman Afshar presiding as judge, prosecutor and jury. They were both sentenced to another 10 years in prison. They had to be released in 2018.

    They had been arrested on the 31st of July at the start of yet another crackdown against the Iranian Bahá'ís. Thirteen Bahá'ís were arrested in the raid including Afif Naeimi. Sabet, Kamalabadi and Naeimi were members of a group of people known as the “Yaran,” or “Friends” of Iran, which until 2008 served as an informal leadership of the Iranian Bahá'í community. All seven of its members were arrested in 2007 and 2008 and jailed for a decade. [BWNS1631; BIC News 1AUF22; Iran Press Watch 14DEC22; Iran Press Watch July 31, 2023]

  • More than 320 Bahá'ís have been affected by individual acts of persecution since the 31 July arrest of Mahvash and Fariba. Dozens were arrested at various points in Shiraz, across Mazandaran province, and elsewhere throughout the country. [BIC New 18 Nov22]
  • Homes owned by Bahá'ís in the village of Roshankouh were demolished. [BIC News]
  • Government plans to tar the Bahá'ís through hate speech and propaganda were also exposed. [BIC News; BIC News]
  • At this time at least 90 Bahá'ís were in prison awaiting court proceedings or were subject to degrading ankle-band monitoring. [BWNS1631] [key]
  • Tehran; Iran Mahvash Sabet; Fariba Kamalabadi; Afif Naeimi; Persecution, Iran
    2022 8 Nov In a message addressed to all National Spiritual Assemblies the Universal House of Justice advised that Mr. Stephen Birkland and Mr. Stephen Hall have requested permission to relinquish their membership on the Universal House of Justice in accordance with Article V.2.(c) of its Constitution. They will continue to serve on the institution until the date of the completion of the election of the Universal House of Justice at the Thirteenth International Bahá’í Convention to be held at Riḍván 2023. [letter from the NSA of Canada S123870 8 November 2022; BWNS1655] [key] BWC Universal House of Justice, members of; Stephen Birkland; Stephen Hall
    2022 1 Nov The Universal House of Justice addressed the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a message dated 1 November 2022, relating to the Nine Year Plan (2022-2031), ethnic and cultural diversity, the human family's crisis of identity, prejudice, Africa, and economic injustice.

    The letter starts with the statement, "Your country is blessed with remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity." (para 2). Indeed, there are about 250 ethnic groups in the DRC and 240 identified languages, four of which have been chosen as official regional languages with French being the common language of Instruction, business, national administration and external relations. More than half the population live in a rural setting and just less than half of the population is under the age of 15 years. [Britannica]

    More information about the Faith in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be found in Bahaipedia and Bahá'í Media.

    Congo, Democratic Republic of Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages
    2022 1 Oct The passing of Kevin Locke, (b. Los Angeles, CA 1983) renowned Native American hoop dancer, self-taught traditional flute player, story teller, recording artist, educator and cultural ambassador, at the age of 68 in Custer, SD. [Native News OnLine; Inforum]
  • He recorded his first album, “Love Songs of the Lakota” in 1982 with Indian House Records and went on to record 13 albums. At the Native American Music Awards, Locke’s music won “Best Traditional Recording” for “The First Flute" in 1999 and “Album of the Year” for “Earth Gift” in 2009. [Albums; Wikipedia]
  • In 2018, Kevin founded the Patricia Locke Foundation to provide cultural programming for communities. The foundation is named after Kevin’s late mother, who was one of the authors of the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act (1978), and an advocate for education and tribal colleges. [Native News Online]
  • He was he the author of children's book with an Indigenous content. [Strong Nations website]
  • His autobiography titled Arising, written with Kim Douglas and Aleah Douglas-Khavari, was published by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust in 2018. Throughout the pages of Arising, Kevin brings his international travels to life in colourful detail; reflects on the significance of the Bahá’í Faith, the religion with the world-embracing vision that he embraced early in his adult life; recounts his experiences with and lessons learned from his mother, a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award; and shares his understanding of Lakota belief and culture. The result is a beautiful book full of engaging stories and a deep spirituality that will touch the hearts of many readers.
  • See his website and his FaceBook page.
  • Custer; SD; USA Kevin Locke; In Memoriam
    2022 22 Sep The screening of the documentary film ‘Others’ in Their Own Land at the Toronto Bahá'í Centre. The film was directed by Farid Haerinejad, an Iranian-Canadian journalist and film-maker living in Germany. He had made several films about minorities in Iran, prior to making this film he had heard about the Bahá’í faith but did not know much about the Bahá’ís in Iran. He wanted to make sure that such a story was told truthfully and passionately and was glad that he could receive first-hand information from his Bahá’í friends.

    The film focuses on the period following the Islamic Revolution and traces the impact of the persecution of the Bahá’ís on several individuals and families. It contrasts the personal lives of Bahá’ís with the public statements of Iranian officials, highlighting the stigmatization and oppression of the Bahá’í minority in Iran.

  • The film is available on YouTube. [CBNS 22Sep2022; BIC News 31 Oct 2022] [key]
  • Toronto; Canada Farid Haerinejad; film; documentary film; ‘Others’ in Their Own Land
    2022 19 - 23 Sep People from nearby neighbourhoods gathered at the temple site to weave aluminum strips into a traditional pattern that will adorn the interior walls of the central edifice. The design of the temple dome and the interior weaving pattern are symbolic of unity and the coming together of people from diverse backgrounds.

    The progress on the construction work can be see in the gallery of pictures on the BWNS website. [BWNS1617] [key]

    Port Moresby; Papua New Guinea Mashriqul-Adhkar, Port Moresby; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Architecture; BWNS
    2022 16 Sep The death fo 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, while being held by Iran's religious police for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic's dress code for women. . She was from the tow of Saqqez, Kurdistan Province, in northwestern Iran. Amini had come to Tehran to visit her brother and on 13 September 2022 was arrested by the Guidance Patrol in Tehran while in the company of her family. She was then transferred to the custody of Moral Security. Her brother, who was with her when she was arrested, was told she would be taken to the detention centre to undergo a "briefing class" and released an hour later. Her brother was later informed his sister had a heart attack and a brain seizure at the police station to which she had been taken. Two hours after her arrest, she was taken to Kasra Hospital.

    According to Amini's cousin, she was tortured and insulted in the van, as witnessed by her co-detainees. After she arrived at the police station, she began to lose vision and fainted. It took 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and an hour and a half for her to get to Kasra hospital.

    For two days, Amini was in a coma in Kasra Hospital in Tehran. On 16 September, a journalist broke the story of her coma, posting to Twitter a photo of Amini's father and grandmother crying and embracing in the hospital hallway. Amini died in the intensive care unit later that day. [Wikipedia]

    A movement, "Woman, Life, Freedom" sprang up in the wake of Amini's death seeking the end of Iran's imposition of a headscarf on all women and an end to the Muslim cleric-led government in Tehran.

    Tehran; Iran
    2022 15 Sep Just weeks before the World Cup was scheduled to begin, the Bahá'í communities of nine countries delivered a letter addressed to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, expressing their concerns at the discrimination, restrictions, and human rights violations that Bahá'ís in Qatar have experienced for decades, and asking him to intervene in the situation. The letters were delivered by hand by representatives of the Bahá'í communities of Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to the Embassies of Qatar in their respective countries. [Global News Wire; BIC News 24 October 2022] [key] Qatar Persecution, Qatar
    2022 8 Sept The passing of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (b. 21 April 1926) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her lifetime and 15 at the time of her death. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch, the longest recorded of any female head of state in history, and the second-longest verified reign of any sovereign in history. She was succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. Charles was officially proclaimed King on the Saturday following the Queen's death, the 10th of September. This event took place at St James's Palace in London, in front of a ceremonial body known as the Accession Council. [Wikipedia; BBC News] [key] Balmoral Castle; Aberdeenshire; Scotland In Memoriam; Queen Elizabeth II; King Charles III
    2022 19 Aug The Bahá’í World News Service expanded its service in yet another language - Russian, to add to the English, French, Persian and Spanish versions.

    Established in 2000 the BWNS has been made available on mobile applications for both Android and iOS, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition there is a podcast and one can subscribe here and not miss any news releases. [BWNS1612] [key]

    2022 17 Aug The Universal House of Justice announced that a Persian Reviewing Panel, appointed by and operating under the auspices of that National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, would attend to the review and approval of manuscripts in Persian written by Bahá’ís in all countries, with the goal of ensuring that such publications represent the Bahá’í Faith accurately and with dignity. [Letter from the NSA of Canada S122269] United States Persian Reviewing Panel
    2022 16 Aug An update on the progress of the construction on the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was published. It was announced that the cleaning of the fire damage had been completed and the construction had been resumed. [BWNS1611] [key] Abdul-Baha, Shrine of; BWNS
    2022 Aug The publication of A Child in the Holy Land>, a collection of stories by twenty-one such children and their encounters with the members of the Holy Family. Compiled and edited by Gisu Mohadjer Cook it was published by Bahá'í Publishing in Wilmette. Wilmette; IL Gisu Mohadjer Cook; A Child in the Holy Land
    2022 31 Jul The arrest of Mahvash Sabet (Shahriari) and Fariba Kamalabadi alongside five other Baha’i individuals, apprehended by security forces across different cities. Moreover, intelligence agents conducted searches at a minimum of 37 Baha’i residences. [Iran Press Watch] [key] Tehran; Iran Persecution, iran
    2022 29 - 31 Jul The 46th Annual Conference of the Association for Bahá'í Studies. The conference was held virtually and enabled attendance of over 1000 people fro 30 countries.
    The concept of "reading groups" was introduced. The reading groups were born out of a question before the ABS about how the principle of consultation can be applied in various contexts to facilitate the generation of knowledge. Eric Farr, who also assisted with coordinating collaborative initiatives, said that the “groups typically identify an initial reading list of relevant literature, which can be expanded and refined over time. As participants of a group review these materials together, they try to understand the underlying assumptions, central concepts, and highest aspirations within a discourse that have shaped thought and practice in their fields, correlating them with the Bahá’í teachings.” These groups, who met throughout the year, and each focused on a topic such as education, economics, climate change, dynamics of social change, the harmony of science and religion, justice and reconciliation, law, media, public health, and urban planning. Dr. Todd Smith, the secretary of the ABS executive committee, said: “Many of the presentations in this year’s program were the fruit of collective learning initiatives, such as reading groups or thematic seminars, that took place in the months between the 2021 and 2022 conferences. The program was further enhanced by the contributions of presenters engaged in other academic and professional endeavours.”
    Presentations and supplementary materials from this year’s conference program, along with an archive of presentations from previous years are now available at the website of the Association for Bahá’í Studies. [ABS website; BWNS1616] [key]
    Ottawa; ON; Canada Association for Bah'i Studies; ABS Annual Conference
    2022 19 Jul The release of a film titled A Bahá’í in Egypt: A story of 3 generations. It was a documentary produced by a news organization in Egypt and highlighted the history of the Bahá’ís of Egypt and their efforts to contribute to the progress of their society. [BWNS1604]

    A Bahá’í in Egypt: A story of 3 generations

    Cairo Film; BWNS
    2022 4 Jul In a message from the Department of the Secretariat addressed to all National Spiritual Assemblies provided an update on the progress of the construction of the Shrine if 'Abdu'l-Bahá in light of the recent fire. The investigation concluded that the fire was the result of an accident. Expenses will be covered by insurance. Testing will be done to ascertain which parts wither require repair or replacement.

    No date was set for the the conclusion of the project but it was recognized that the accident will cause a substantial delay. No increase in donations to the project will be required. [4 July 2022] [key]

    BWC Abdul-Baha, Shrine of
    2022 Jun A campaign by Iranian authorities to uproot the Baha’i community in Shiraz took a dark step forward, earlier in June, when Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced 26 Baha’is to a combined total of 85 years in prison. Each individual was sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to five years.

    Travel bans and orders to report daily to a provincial intelligence office were also issued. A number of the Baha’is also received in addition a combined total of 24 years of internal exile—with the individual banishments set for two years.

    Many of the 26 sentenced to prison are couples with young children. [BIC News 23 June 2022] [key]

    Iran Persecution, Iran
    2022 6 Jun The passing of Jim (James Eugene) Seals, (b. 17 October 1941 or 1942 in Sidney, Texas) singer, musician and songwriter was announced on social media by a relative, Bradley Seals. He passed away in Nashville, TN. [The Guardian 10 June 2022]
  • See his obituary on the site of the Bahá'ís of the United States.
  • See YouTube.
  • See Wikipedia for their career trajectory and disography.
  • This chart, courtesy of Steven Kolins, shows the internet traffic generated by the announcement of his passing.
  • Sidney, TX; Nashville, TN In Memoriam; Jim Seals; Seals and Crofts; Famous Bahais
    2022 2 - 3 Jun A conference titled, Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity, was an international meeting convened by the United Nations General Assembly. It was a commemoration of 50 years since the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment. The purpose was to focus on ways to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and to tackle the planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

    See the conference recommendations and actions.

    The Bahá'í International Community released a statement, One Planet, One Habitation: A Bahá’í Perspective on Recasting Humanity’s Relationship with the Natural World. The statement underlines the gap between intention and action as one of the central challenges facing humanity and states that the essential principle of humanity's oneness as the only foundation on which sustainable societies can be raised. [BWNS1599]

    The statement is available on the BIC statements page and at Bahá'í Library.

    Stockholm; Sweden Conference; Environment; United Nations; Baha'i International Community; BWNS
    2022 22 May A story carried by The Sunday Telegraph in London and written by the law firm representing Remi Rouhani in Qatar's highest court against an unjust conviction, alleged that the Qatari authorities discriminated against him because of his Faith. He was a Bahá'í citizen of Qatar and the former director of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is believed that Mr Rouhani's case may serve as a bellwether for Qatar's intention regarding the Bahá'í Faith and other religious minorities. [The Sunday Telegraph 22May2022] [key] Qatar Persecution, Qatar
    2022 Ridván - 2031 Ridván In a letter dated 25 November 2020 the Universal House of Justice announced a Nine Year Plan to begin at Ridván 2022. In the letter to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors dated 30 December 2021 the details were announced.


  • establish programs of growth in all cluster in the world (22,000) 14,000 at some level and 11,000 intensive, with 5,000 past the third milestone.
  • establish at least on Milestone Three cluster in every country and every region of the world. This “constitutes on of the Plan’s chief objectives”
  • deployment of teams of international and homefront pioneers.
  • enrollments “wide open” involvement of families and households as larger groups embrace the pattern of Bahá'í life.
  • expanding nucleus
  • coordination of large numbers as more communities enter the 3rd milestone
  • maturation of Bahá’í institutions
  • in areas where activities reach high degree of prevalence the inhabitants now possess a substantially increased capacity to steer the course of their own development, and the institutions and agencies of the Faith there now have an expanded vision of their responsibilities.
  • more efforts to support social and economic development
  • participation in the discourses of society as a means of releasing what the Guardian described as “the society-building power” of the Faith.
  • It will be heralded by the convocation of a series of conferences held over a span of months across the globe. [25 November 2020] [key]
  • BWC Teaching Plans; Nine Year Plan (2022-2031); * Institute process; Conferences; Global Conferences
    2022 20 Apr The end of the One Year Plan


  • Gathering in the Holy Land November 2021 for the Centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
  • Programs of growth under way in over 6,000 clusters and close to 5,000 of those will have passed the 2nd milestone and that in 1300 have advanced further.
  • Construction continued on the Houses of Worship around the world and on the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. [Ridván 2022] [key]
  • One Year Plan
    2022 20 Apr The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance issued a statement noting “with grave concern the increased pattern of repression and discrimination against members of the Bahá'í community” in some countries around the world. The statement is the first time the Alliance, also known as IRFBA, has made a direct intervention on challenges facing Bahá'í communities as a result of religious prejudice. Specific countries where Bahá'ís are persecuted or discriminated against were not named in the statement but the description of the challenges made it clear that the statement was written in support of the Bahá'í communities in Iran, Qatar and Yemen. [Statement on Bahá'ís] [key] Iran; Yemen; Qatar The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance; IRFBA; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Qatar
    2022 8 Apr A fire broke out and clouds of black smoke billowed from the construction site of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá when wind-blown sparks from welding on the dome ignited scaffolding and plastic forms being used to mold poured concrete. Firefighters evacuate the nearby suburbs of Giv'at Hatmarim and Afraid. The completed concrete walls and structures were undamaged but the blaze destroyed “several months of work” on the 2,900-square-meter (0.7-acre) circular platform and piazza.
  • YouTube.
  • Message from the Universal House of Justice dated 14 April 2022. iiiii
  • BWC Abdul-Baha, Shrine of
    2022 25 Mar In a statement was delivered by the Bahá'í International Community’s representative, Simin Fahandej, by video to the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva it was announced that more than 1,000 Bahá'ís are in a “limbo” between their initial arrests, their legal hearings and their final summons to prison. A “rising trend” in the confiscation of Bahá'í-owned properties was also of “particular concern”, Fahandej told the Human Rights Council. And while the appropriation of assets was not new, she added, it did seem that the Iranian authorities were “increasingly using the legal system” for such seizures. The concern is that confiscations of Bahá'í properties enrich the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, also known as Setad, which is controlled by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. [Iran Press Watch 25 March 2022] [key] Geneva, Switzerland Bahai International Community; Persecution, Iran
    2022 21 Mar The World Centre released a progress report on the construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They reported that the meticulous work of assembling the formwork for the trellis spanning the Shrine’s central plaza was nearing completion and showed an animated sequence of design rendering showing the process of building the trellis, including the placement of polystyrene (EPS) formwork, the placement of rebar, the pouring of concrete, and finally, the removal of formwork. They also showed photos of the work being done in the quarry in Carrara, Italy for the marble company, Margraf, was sourcing the marble for the project. The groundwork for a visitor's centre had begun. [BWNS1588] [key] BWC Abdul-Baha, Shrine of; BWNS
    2022 11 Mar The release of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Rights of persons belonging to religious or belief minorities in situations of conflict or insecurity at the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The annex of the report said that concerns regarding the Bahá'ís "have persisted and even escalated across several country contexts". Dr Ahmed Shaheed's report illustrated the situations faced by Bahá'ís in Iran and in Yemen where they lack legal recognition and the discrimination as well as in Qatar they have experienced administrative deportations and in Tunisia where the government has refused to recognize the Faith. [Iranwire71448] [key] Geneva Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Qatar; Persecution, Tunisia
    2022 14 Feb The statement The Oneness of Humanity—Implications for the Africa-European Union Partnership was jointly prepared by the Addis Ababa and Brussels Offices of the BIC on the occasion of the 6th African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) Summit held in Brussels.

    Solomon Belay of the Addis Ababa Office stated: “The summit offered an opportunity to present EU leaders with key insights emerging from the many conversations of the BIC with government officials, policy makers, faith leaders, and civil society organizations about a range of themes being explored by the BIC in recent years, including global governance, migration, climate change, agriculture, and food security. We will be offering the same perspectives to AU leaders.”

    Rachel Bayani of the Brussels Office explained that reshaping international structures and relationships according to the principle of humanity’s oneness is a challenging task that will require effort over generations. “The statement offers a few practical suggestions for moving toward this goal. First is for careful consideration to be given to the impact of European policies on all segments of society in Africa, Europe, and across the world". [BWNS1594]

  • The statement.
  • Brussels, Belgium Bahai International Community; Solomon Belay; Rachel Bayani; BIC statements
    2022 Jan Representatives of all religious sects in Tunisia signed the National Charter for Peaceful Coexistence, the first of its kind in Tunisia, which calls for guaranteeing the right of religious minorities to differ and to show their beliefs in public. Representative to this conference came from the Jewish Synagogue in La Goulette, the Evangelical Church in Tunisia, the Union of Sufi Ways; the Ahl al-Bayt Shiite Centre in Tunis and Mohamed Ben Moussa, the Bahá'í representative in Tunisia.

    Notwithstanding the fact that Tunisian citizens have the right, according to the constitution, international charters and treaties, to establish their religious rites some religious communities, notably the Jews, Christians, Shites, and Bahá'ís still experience difficulty in practicing their faith. The Bahá'í representative, Mohamed ben Moussa acknowledged that adherents of the Bahá'í faith in Tunisia are subjected to violations, as fatwas of infidelity were issued against them by the grand mufti of Tunisia in December 2020. Additionally, the presidency of the Tunisian government accused them of apostasy.

    This charter aroused a great uproar among Tunisian society, which responded with an extensive campaign of insults and threats of violence, reaching the point of calling for murder. Although the official authorities were silent, the Ministry of Religious Affairs sent a representative to attend the signing. The organizers said that the strong reaction was expected but did not anticipate the many messages of threats and insults from the general public, radical Muslim sheikhs, intellectuals and others. All negative comments were unanimous; that Tunisia is a Muslim country and will remain so. This strong reaction was evidence of the extent of extremist ideology and hatred in the community and their lack of acceptance of those who differ from them. [The Christian Post 6Feb2022] [key]

    Mohamed Ben Moussa; Persecution, Tunisia
    2022 26 Jan The BWC released a progress report on the construction of the national Bahá'í House of Worship in Kinshasa, DRC. [BWNS1579] [key] Kinshasa; DRC Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa; Mashriqul-Adhkar; House of Worship; Mashriqul-Adhkar, national; BWNS
    2022 7 Jan The conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members will coincide with the lapse of one hundred years since the first public reading of the Will and Testament of the Master. [25 November 2020]

    The Counsellors in all continents will be called to the Bahá’í World Centre in December 2021 to take part in deliberations on the general features of the Plan to be launched the following Riḍván. At the conclusion of that gathering, they are to be joined by members of the Auxiliary Boards for Protection and Propagation to consult on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and on the decisive role that the Counsellors and their auxiliaries are to play in meeting them. [From a message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of the World dated 29 October 2020] [key]

    BWC Abdul-Baha, Will and Testament of; Conferences, Counsellors; Centenaries; Auxiliary Board Members; Teaching Plans; Nine Year Plan (2022-2031)
    2022 5 Jan The film, Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour, commissioned by the Universal House of Justice, was released on this day.

    The film provided insight into a hundred years of endeavor and learning since the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921, carried out by a burgeoning Bahá’í community, and outlined the journey that has led to the community’s current efforts to contribute to the emergence of a world organized around the principle of the oneness of humanity.

    The 66-minute film was made available in Arabic, English, French, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili. The original version with English subtitles was placed on YouTube. [BWNS1574] [key]

    BWC Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour (film); Film; Documentaries; Documentaries, BWC
    2022 1 Jan The Universal House of Justice announced that the courses of the Ruhi Institute would continue to be a prominent feature of the educational endeavours of all training institutes during this new series of global Plans. The Ruhi Institute will, during the Nine Year Plan, complete the preparation of all the materials it has outlined for use in children’s classes, junior youth groups, and study circles, and the revision of published editions as necessary in light of experience. However, beyond what it has already delineated, it is not expected to develop new materials to be used worldwide. [Message 1 January 2022] [key] BWC Nine Year Plan (2022-2031); * Institute process; Childrens classes; Youth empowerment program; Ruhi Institute
    2021 30 Dec - 4 Jan The conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors was held at the Bahá'í World Centre. The discussions of the Counsellors over the six days explored how the worldwide Bahá’í community could intensify its efforts to contribute to social progress predicated on the spiritual principle of oneness. In their analysis, the Counsellors concluded that achieving this aim is dependent on significantly extending the reach of Bahá’í educational programs that build capacity for service, at the heart of which is faith in the ability of a population to become the protagonists of its own development. [BWNS1573; BWNS1575; BWNS1571] [key] BWC Continental Boards of Counsellors; Conference
    2021 30 Dec As per the 30 December 2021 message o the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, 22 Local Spiritual Assemblies spread over eight countries were elected using a two-stage electoral process. This follows the same instructions that 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave to the Spiritual Assembly of Ṭihrán. It involved the division of a locality into units from each of which one or more delegates were elected, after which the delegates elected the members of the Local Assembly.

    They said that this process had been approved and adopted over the two previous years. [Paragraph 32]

    Local Spiritual Assembly, formation; Local Spiritual Assembly, election; Local Spiritual Assembly; Statistics; Elections
    2021 30 Dec - 4 Jan In a message to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors the Universal House of Justice announced a series of global Plans to carry the Faith into the third century of the Bahá'í Era and conclude at Ridván 2026. [30 December 2021] [key] BWC Nine Year Plan (2022-2031)
    2021 19 Dec Journalists from over 55 media outlets across Italy attended the press conference in Milan and had the opportunity to learn about and the sacred nature of the project to prepare the marble for the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the complexities of its construction. The fabrication of the marble has required newly developed machinery that can cut the stone directly from 3D models with extreme precision—a requirement of the project given the curved surfaces of the domed trellis.

    Attendees at the press conference included Hossein Amanat, who was selected by the Universal House of Justice as the architect for the project, Sohrab Youssefian, liaison between the project and Margraf, and two members of Italy’s Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly. The Italian marble company that will cut and chiseled the marble was represented by Silvio Xompero, president of Margraf, and by Alessandro Peotta, head of the Margraf Technical Office. This firm has a long record of service to the Faith [BWNS1569] [key]

    Milan, Italy Abdul-Baha, Shrine of; Margraf; Silvio Xompero; Alessandro Peotta; Hossein Amanat (Husayn Amanat); Sohrab Youssefian
    2021 16 Dec The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has called on the Iranian government to end its discrimination of minorities in Iran, including of the Bahá'í community. The vote confirms a Third Committee resolution passed in November. The resolution was endorsed by the General Assembly’s 76th session and introduced by Canada and 47 co-sponsors from all regions, passed by 78 votes in favour, with 31 against and 69 abstentions. [BIC News; BWNS1568; Iran Press Watch/a>]
  • The Resolution.
  • One of the latest incidents occurred in Kata where thirteen irrigated farmland plots belonging to Bahá'ís in the village in Iran’s southwest was targeted by authorities seeking to further expropriate the assets of Baha’is in the country. The organization “Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order” – a parastatal agency controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which holds and sells assets seized from proscribed groups and individuals and has done so since the 1979 Islamic Revolution – advertised the 13 land parcels on an auction website in mid-October. Each property has been listed for sale at a price estimated to be only 15% of its fair market value. [BIC News]
  • Farm lands in Semnan, Roshankouh, and Ivel have also been confiscated recently. [BWNS1568] [key]
  • New York; United States; Kata; Semnan; Roshankouh; Ivel; Iran Persecution, Iran; United Nations; Bahai International Community; BWNS
    2021 6 Dec Thirteen irrigated farmland plots belonging to Bahá'ís in the village of Kata in Iran’s southwest have been targeted by local authorities seeking to expropriate Bahá'í-owned assets in Iran.

    The organization "Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order" – an agency controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which held and sold assets seized from proscribed groups and individuals and has done so since the 1979 Islamic Revolution – advertised the 13 properties on an auction website in mid-October. Each property had been listed for sale at a price just 15 percent of market value. The auctions listings have been published despite Bahá'ís having held the deeds to these properties for generations. [Iran Wire 6DEC21] [key]

    Kata; Iran Persecution; Iran
    2021 5 - 7 Dec A three-day poster design workshop was held in Shiraz for the purpose of inciting hatred against Bahá'ís. This coincided with the beginning of another wave of security and judicial pressure on Bahá'í citizens in different cities of Iran. The Visual Arts Festival (Moqaddas Nama) hosted the poster and caricature design workshop aimed at inciting hatred against the followers of the Bahá'í Faith. This workshop, organized by the Secretariat of Moghadas Nama and the Secretariat of the Revolution Poster and the Association of Designers of the Islamic Revolution (Beit,) specifically attacks the religious beliefs of the members of the Bahá'í community through poster design and graphic works. This program is part of the Iranian government’s ongoing campaign against the Bahá'í Community, which has routinely and systematically violated the citizenship and human rights of the Baha’s over the past four decades. Participants in the Anti-Baha’i poster workshop are offered millions in prizes. [Iran Press Watch] [key] Shiraz; Iran Persecution, Iran
    2021 27 Nov An example of a program to mark the Centenary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá is that done by the Bahá'í community of Northern Virginia. [YouTube] [key] Commemoration; Centenary of the Passing of Abdul-Baha
    2021 25 Nov A short documentary about the construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, commissioned by the Universal House of Justice for the occasion of the centenary, was released for viewing at the centenary gathering at the Bahá’í World Centre. The film explores aspects of the design and construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and features interviews with people directly involved in the project. [BWNS1557]
  • Construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. iiiii
  • BWC Abdul-Baha, Shrine of
    2021 20 - 27 Nov In its Ridván 2018 and a year previous, in its message of 25 November 2020 (and 15 September 2021), the Universal House of Justice announced that there would be a gathering in the Holy Land by representatives of National Spiritual Assemblies and Regional Bahá’í Councils throughout the world to commemorate the Centenary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. What transpired was a week of activities.

    Several events that were intended for the public were held in Haifa and ‘Akká to mark the centenary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

      -In Haifa, the mayor of the city, Einat Kalisch-Rotem, and other municipal officials, members of diverse faith communities, and other residents of the city honoured the centenary at a historic building near ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s residence on Haparsim Street in a spirit of fellowship and unity reminiscent of the gatherings He Himself would hold with people of all backgrounds.

      -In ‘Akká, a public reception at the House of ‘Abdu’lláh Páshá, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lived and received countless guests from 1896 to 1910, allowed people from around the country to learn about His life and His service to the inhabitants of ‘Akká through an exhibition and a guided visit of the site.

      -In Bahjí, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had rented a residence for Bahá’u’lláh and His family in 1879, a special program brought together the mayor of ‘Akká, Shimon Lankri, and other government officials, various community and religious leaders—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze—academics, and civil society representatives to hear stories from the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, where many of those gathered also shared their perspectives on His impact on the people of the region. [BWNS1552; BWNS1555]

    Some 600 presentatives of Bahá’í communities from nations and regions around the world began to arrive in Haifa for the historic gathering at the Bahá’í World Centre. In the days following they visited the Holy Places in the Akka/Haifa area. [BWNS1553; BWNS1555]

    On the 25th of November the friends gathered in the concourse of the Universal House of Justice building. A Message from the Universal House of Justice was addressed to the gathering. The program included remarks by a member of the International Teaching Centre, Muna Tehrani with the keynote address given by ITC member Gloria Javid entitles 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of the Covenant. [BWNS1556]

    On the 26th of November Mrs Antonella Demonte, member of the International Teaching Centre, delivered a Keynote Address entitled The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Unfoldment of the Administrative Order.

    The Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing was marked in the early hours of the 27th of November with the attendees assembled in the courtyard of the Haifa Pilgrim House. A tribute written by the Universal House of Justice for the occasion was read by one of its members. [BWNS1558]

    On the 28th of November representatives of Bahá’í communities throughout the world came together in the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice for a spiritually charged closing of the centenary gathering. The closing session included addresses delivered by members of the International Teaching Centre, Antonella Demonte, Dr Holly Woodard, and Rachel Ndegwa. Prayers were chanted and spoken in different languages, there was a musical interlude, and Bahá’í writings were sung by a choir. The film Exemplar was shown. [BWNS1559]

  • See the departing message of the Universal House of Justice.
  • See some of the commemorative gatherings that were held around the world.
  • See the documentary Commemorating the Centenary of the Ascension of ʻAbdu'l Bahá.
  • BWC Abdul-Baha, Ascension of; Centenaries
    2021 18 Nov The release of the film Exemplar commissioned by the Universal House of Justice to mark the centenary commemoration of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The film follows the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the profound effect He had on people both past and present. A sense of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s unique function as a shelter, a shield, and a stronghold for all humanity is captured in vignettes of some of the people whose lives were transformed through their association with Him. It explores how, by championing the oneness of humanity through His words and deeds, He offered a challenge to the stale assumptions and prejudices of the age, and gave stimulus to a process of unification which continues to this day. [BWNS1551]
  • The film was made by Hamilton, ON Bahá'í, Mary Darling. [The Hamilton Spectator 5 April 2022] iiiii [key]
  • BWC; Hamilton, ON Exemplar (film); Abdul-Baha, Basic timeline; Abdul-Baha, Life of; Abdul-Baha, Exemplar
    2021 17 Nov The premier of the film The Legacy of Saskatoon's Secret Forest [CBNS17 November 2021]
      The inspirational story of Richard St. Barbe Baker, aka the “Man of the Trees,” The heritage documentary The Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest tells the story of his remarkable life and achievements. There is a 15 minute version heritage documentary and a one hour long presentation with greetings from around the world. The 15 minute prequel film “Richard St. Barbe Baker Park” tells how the heritage documentary came to be. From roots in Saskatoon he went on to inspire tree planting and forest protection around the world. The International Tree Foundation, which he founded in 1922, is still active in 14 countries. Countless people motivated by him are environmental champions today. A companion curriculum describes his holistic world view, and his daring life of action on behalf of the earth.
    Saskatoon; Canada The Legacy of Saskatoons Secret Forest; Richard St. Barbe Baker
    2021 14 Nov Update on the BIHE: The Institute has adapted using today’s technology. As of this date 955 staff members operated the hybrid online and in-person school. The school offered more than 1,050 classes in its associate, undergraduate or graduate programs. Despite ongoing persecution of the BIHE recorded an average of 1,000 applicants and accepted 450 new first-year students annually.

    Although a number of Iranian Bahá'ís were still held back by Iran’s refusal to recognize the institution, BIHE graduates would go on to study at a choice of 98 different international universities and colleges. [Borgen Magazine 14 November 2021] [key]

    Iran Education; Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE)
    2021 13 Nov The some 3,000 people gathered for the dedication of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in the Pacific on the island of Tanna. In attendance at the ceremony were Prime Minister Bob Loughman and other government officials, representatives from the Malvatumauri National Councils of Chiefs and the Nikoletan Council of Chiefs, members of diverse faith communities, and representatives of local and national Bahá’í institutions. [BWNS1550]

    The Universal House of Justice was represented by Henry Tamashiro who delivered this Message.


      Location:near Lenakel on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu
      Unveiling of the design: 18 June 2017
      Foundation Stone: 17 November 2019
      Construction Period: 17 November 2019 to 13 November 2021
      Site Dedication:13 November 2021
      Architect: Ashkan Mostaghim
      Architectural firm:
      Capacity: 300
      Dependencies: Amphitheater for large community gatherings
      References: BWNS1550; BWNS1549; BWNS1530; BWNS1515; BWNS1175; BWNS1373; BWNS1176
    Lenakel; Vanuatu Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Ashkan Mostaghim; Henry Tamashiro
    2021 8 Nov The Baha'i World Centre gave details of the conservation work that was continuing on the Mazra'ih Mansion. Most significantly, the room that Bahá’u’lláh’s occupied had been made ready to receive pilgrims.

    This Holy Place has been described by the Universal House of Justice in a letter to all Bahá’í National Spiritual Assemblies as “that serene and sacred spot, the first residence of Bahá’u’lláh after nine years’ confinement within the walls of the prison-city of ‘Akká.”

  • The work, which had begun more than a year earlier had been carried out on the courtyard and its wall as well as portion of the Roman aqueduct that runs through the site. Restoration work was also done on the stables and other structural element on the site. The Universal House of Justice further states: “In the coming years, conservation work will be carried out on the other rooms of the Mansion, and the surrounding area will be landscaped to provide a large, open space for visitors to walk around and enjoy, intending to capture the tranquil spirit of this blessed spot.” [BWNS1547] [key]
  • Mazraih House of Bahaullah (Mazraih); Mazraih; Restoration
    2021 4 Nov The US premiere of the short film entitled The Prisoner in the Cinema Paradisl in Hollywood. The film was written and directed by Jayce Bartok. In the film two bickering prison guards, one with a dangerous secret, connect while guarding a prophet that is causing a revolution throughout the Middle East of the 1800’s. [FLIFF 2021 Film Guide; Bahá'í Blog] [key] Hollywood; California; United States; Chihriq; Iran The Prisoner (film); Films; Jayce Bartok; Bab, Life of
    2021 Nov A six-part documentary series about the life of 'Abdu’l-Bahá was produced by Fred Badiyan and Ramin Khadem in honour of the centenary of the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Each of the six parts covers His life in chronological order, from His childhood and imprisonment, to His travels and ascension. The film was made by Badiyan Productions.

    * Abdu’l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 1: Beginnings

    * Abdu’l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 2: Master of the Prison City

    * Abdu’l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 3: Tumultuous Years

    * Abdu’l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 4: Travels in the West

    * Abdu’l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 5: The End of the Journey

    * Abdu’l-Baha: The Mystery – Part 6: Touching Hearts: Stories of Transformation

    Abdul-Baha: The Mystery; Fred Badiyan; Ramin Khadem; Badiyan Productions; Documentaries; Films
    2021 29 Oct In preparation for the commemoration of His passing, the Bahá'í communities around the world released a number of publications honouring 'Abdu'l-Bahá, recounting stories of His life and the principles He espoused. These included new translations of His Will and Testament, illuminated prayer books, stories of His life, and storybooks for children. New translations of His Writings have been made for the first time in a number of languages. [BWNS1544] [key] Abdul-Baha, Writings and talks of
    2021 22 Oct The online publication The Bahá’í World released two new articles, 'Abdu’l-Bahá: Champion of Universal Peace, which explores how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá advanced the cause of peace not only through His engagement with leading thinkers of His time but also through a plan for the spiritualization of the planet and another new article, titled ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Bahá’í Students, looks at ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s contributions to the discourse on education in the Middle East and His guidance of Bahá’í students at the American University of Beirut. [BWNS1543] [key] BWC Bahai World volumes
    2021 16 - 18 Oct Because of the global heath crisis the Parliament was a virtual event. It was unique in that it took place over 48 hours, it hosted three regional symposium and was the first Parliament to be hosted completely online. The theme was the Opening our Hearts to the World: Compassion in Action.. There were 4,317 attendees from 79 countries in 21 languages. [Virtual]
  • See the Visual Statement of the Parliament.
  • Virtual Parliament of the Worlds Religions
    2021 10 Sep The World Centre provided an update on the construction of the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It was announced that the plaza walls had been completed and the complex process of building the intricate trellis that will span the central plaza had begun. [BWNS1531]
  • YouTube
  • BWC Abdul-Baha, shrine of
    2021 31 Aug A four-day gathering, attended by some 2,000 participants was held in Baraka, DRC in honour of the forthcoming centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing. Attendees included officials, a traditional chief of the region, religious leaders, and people of diverse faiths. The conference explored the insights about the advancement of women gained through decades-long efforts of the Bahá’ís of the region aimed at social progress, and planned for an intensification of such activities of social action. [BWNS1529] [key] Baraka; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) Conference; Women
    2021 25 Aug The Bahá'í International Community submitted formal letters of concern to United Nations Special Rapporteurs regarding the confiscation of properties belonging to six Bahá'ís in the province of Semnan. In the formal letters they called upon the UN and other international actors to intervene with Iran’s government to ensure that Baha’is are not dispossessed of their properties by the State.
  • A court notice on the Iranian judiciary website informing the property owners of the imminent seizures appeared earlier this month. The notice came after a series of raids were carried out on Bahá'í-owned properties across Iran by security forces in November 2020. A large number of property deeds belonging to individual Bahá'ís were taken during these raids—including deeds for the Semnan properties now listed for confiscation. Last year Bahá'í-owned lands in the village of Ivel, in Mazandaran Province, were also taken by the authorities.
  • The “charge” claimed by the court as the reason for the confiscations is that the properties belong to Bahá'í institutions. However, these institutions were banned in 1979 by the Islamic Republic, and formally dissolved in 1983. Moreover all their properties were confiscated after the Islamic Revolution; consequently, no properties currently belong to Bahá'í institutions in Iran.
  • Semnan has previously been used as a “laboratory” by the authorities to execute systematic campaigns of persecution against the Bahá'ís in Iran. Attacks on Bahá'ís in Semnan have been notable for their particular intensity, for the mobilization and coordination of official and unofficial elements including police, courts, local authorities and the clergy, and for persecution ranging from hate speech to economic strangulation, arrests and physical attacks. The BIC now observes this as a pattern consistent with a state-led campaign of economic persecution unfolding across Iran. [BIC New site] [key]
  • Semnan; Ivel; Iran Persecution, Iran
    2021 29 Jul A report on the progress of the construction of the National Mashriqul-Adhkar was provided.
  • The concrete structural elements that make up the lower portion of the edifice and will support the steel superstructure of the dome and surrounding canopies was being completed. Work on the upper gallery was progressing.
  • The two ring beams that support the dome had been completed.
  • More than 90% of the concrete for the building had been poured.
  • Work on the grounds and on the auxiliary structures was continuing. The walls and the roof of the visitor's centre had been completed.
  • The secretary of the country’s Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly, Lavoisier Mutombo Tshiongo, reported that, “At the same time, we are seeing an intensification of action inspired by what the temple represents. Everything is increasing, from devotional gatherings, educational efforts, and other initiatives taken by families and youth, such as cleaning rivers and water sources, to formal activities in the areas of food security and agriculture, education, health and empowerment of women.” He attributed the increasing pace of activity to a growing appreciation of the relationship between worship of God and service to humanity that is being cultivated through conversations about the national House of Worship. [BWNS1521] [key]
  • Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa
    2021 19 Jul The Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation aired a short report on the progress of the construction of the local Bahá'í House of Worship for the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. The report can be found from 13:47 to 15:37 on the news report. [Facebook Post by VBTC] [key] Tanna; Vanuatu Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2021 19 Jul A Twitter storm under the hashtag of #StopHatePropaganda and running from 5pm to 7pm GMT, 9.30pm to 11.30pm Tehran time, aimed to draw global attention to a 40-year campaign of hate speech conducted by the Iranian government against the Baha’i community in Iran, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority. Iran Press Watch; Iran Press Watch; BWNS1519] [key] Geneva Persecution, Iran; Bahai International Community; twitter; BWNS
    2021 13 Jul In response to the Iranian government's continued campaign of hate speech, the Bahá'í International Community launched a new microsite of The Bahá’ís of Iran website called Raasti (Truth). It was set up to provide accurate information, including from independent sources, in an effort to respond to baseless accusations and misinformation produced by the machinery of propaganda targeting the Bahá’ís in Iran.
  • In addition, video released by the BIC called on people to join the global outcry over the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran, launching the hashtag #StopHatePropaganda on Twitter. [BWNS1519] [key]
  • Geneva Bahai International Community; Persecution, Iran; Twitter
    2021 8 Jul The Bahá'í International Community made representation to the United Nations or the Iranian government to be held accountable for its campaign of hate speech against the Baha’is in Iran. In previous months, the four-decades long state-sponsored campaign of hate speech and propaganda reached new levels, increasing in both sophistication and scale. This provoked fresh concerns for the rights of the Baha’is in Iran, as history had shown that flagrant violations of human rights often take place in a climate of hate and disinformation following such propaganda efforts.

    The websites and social media channels are compounded by videos, print newspaper articles and other written media, books, seminars, exhibitions, graffiti and fatwas from both official outlets and others sponsored by the government but purporting to be independent. [Bahá'í International Community News]

    Since 2017, more than 33,000 pieces of toxic anti-Bahá’í content have been published or broadcast. In recent years, hundreds of websites and dozens of social media accounts have systematically attacked the Bahá’í community, misrepresenting Bahá’í beliefs in a manner designed to cause maximum offence to Iran’s Muslim-majority population. [CiJA Statement on Iranian anti-Baahá'í Campaign] (The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada.)

    António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, in his 2019 Plan of Action to Combat Hate Speech, said that “[h]ate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. As a matter of principle, the United Nations must confront hate speech at every turn. Silence can signal indifference to bigotry and intolerance, even as a situation escalates and the vulnerable become victims.”

    Incitement to hatred is prohibited under international treaties that Iran itself has ratified, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [United Nations Plan of Action on Hate Speech]

    The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR) and Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) strongly condemn the increase in anti-Bahá'í propaganda disseminated by Iranian state-run media. A recent report by the Bahá'í Community of Canada found that “Iran’s state-sponsored campaign of hatred against the Bahá’'í Faith has been on the rise across all media platforms, including the web, social media, radio, newspapers, and television.” On the 20th of July they issued a joint statement from Professor Irwin Cotler, Founder and International Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Mr. Ali Ehsassi, Member of Parliament (House of Commons of Canada) and Mr. Anders Österberg, Member of the Swedish ParliamentFounding Member of PGA’s Parliamentary Rapid Response Team (PARRT).

    See the report entitled State-sponsored hate propaganda against Iranian Bahá’ís published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahá’í Community of Canada.

    See a speech titled A Non-Governmental Perspective on the Relative Effectiveness of Multilateral and Bilateral Measures by Bani Dugal, the Principal Representative, United Nations Office, Bahá’í International Community given in Florence, Italy 9 April 2022. The talk was presented at a conference on Religion, Hateful Expression and Violence sponsored by the Centre for International Law Research and Policy.

    Geneva Bahai International community; United Nations; Persecution, Iran; Hate Speech; Irwin Cotler; Ali Ehassi; Anders Osterberg; Bani Dugal

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