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TAGS: Bahai history by country; Gila Bahta; Pioneering; Raissa Elias; Sabri Elias; Teaching
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Introduction of the Bahá'í Faith to Ethiopia and Djibouti, and the activities of Gila Bahta.
A large portion of this history is from audio tapes made by Sabri and Raissa Elias, and interviews with Gila Bahta. The author is also an eyewitness to some of these events.

See author's personal website at

Moths Turned Eagles:
The Spiritual Conquests of Sabri and Raissa Elias

by Gamal Hassan

National Spiritual Assembly of Ethiopia, 2008
Abstract: Spiritual conquests were not, and never will be, achieved by armies. Speaking of Ethiopia, it was Queen Makeda of Sabea (Sheba) who sought Judaic enlightenment and wisdom of her own free will; two unarmed souls who won over the hearts of Ezana of Axum (Aksum) to Orthodox Christianity, and the helpless fugitive relatives and followers of Muhammad who evoked the sympathy and protection of Negus Armah. The Baha’i advent to Ethiopia, the fourth and latest link of this chain, was no exception and we are lucky indeed to have our fingertips the minute details of this conquest.

Moths turned Eagles relates the story of Sabri Elias, a Baha’i faithful from Alexandria, Egypt, who came to Ethiopia on mission twice — first alone in 1933 until the short-lived Italian invasion of 1935, and later in 1944 accompanied by his young wife Raissa and their two infant children, until 1954 when they moved onward to Djibouti for a similar mission.

Based largely on audio tapes made by Sabri and Raissa at different times, the importance of this history, recorded usually soon after the events described, cannot be underestimated, nor can the value of their transposition and translation from Arabic, made over several years by an author for whom this has been a labour of love.

Click to download: hassan_moths_turned_eagles.pdf [18 MB].

front cover
back cover
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