|1909 21 Mar
||On the same day as the interment of the sacred remains of the Báb on Mount Carmel the first American Bahá'í Convention opened in Chicago. [BFA2:XVII, 309; BW13:849; MBW142–3; SBBH1:146]
It was held in the home of Corinne True. [CT82–3]
It was attended by 39 delegates from 36 cities. [GPB262; SBBH1:146]
The Convention established the 'Bahá'í Temple Unity', incorporated to hold title to the Temple property and to provide for its construction. A constitution was framed and an Executive Board of the Bahá'í Temple Unity elected. This body became the future National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada. [BBD39; BBRSM:106; BW10:179; GPB349; PP397; SBBH1:146] iiiii
||Chicago; United States; Canada
||Conventions, National; Corinne True; Bahai Temple Unity; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Wilmette; First conventions; NSA; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship)
|1922 5 Mar
||Shoghi Effendi wrote to the American Bahá'ís calling for the establishment of local assemblies wherever nine or more believers reside and directing that all activities be placed under the authority of the local and national assemblies. [BA17-25; BBRSM120-1; CB300]
||Shoghi Effendi, Life of; Shoghi Effendi, Basic timeline; Local Spiritual Assemblies; LSA; National Spiritual Assemblies; NSA; Administration; Shoghi Effendi, Works of
||Shoghi Effendi sent verbal messages through Consul Schwarz to Germany and Ethel Rosenberg to Britain to form local spiritual assemblies and to arrange for the election of a national spiritual assembly in each country. [CB293; ER209, 211-12; PP56]
||Germany; United Kingdom; United States; Canada
||Shoghi Effendi, Life of; Consuls; Albert Schwarz; Ethel Rosenberg; National Spiritual Assemblies; NSA; Local Spiritual Assemblies; LSA; Spiritual Assemblies; Executive Board
|1923. 23 Feb
||In a message to the Bahá'ís in America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and in Australia, Shoghi Effendi instructed that local assemblies must be established in localities where the number of believers, aged twenty-one and over, was nine or more and he delineated the responsibilities of those assemblies. [BA37-39]
In the same message he directed that, in countries where conditions are favourable and the number of believers merited it, that "secondary Houses of Justice" be established. He fixed the number of electors; in America-95, the Pacific Islands-95, Germany-95 and in Great Britain-19 and specified that they be elected annually. [BA39-41]
Local and National Funds were to be established because "the progress and execution of spiritual activities is dependent and conditioned upon material means". [BA41]
||NSA; National Assembly; National Assembly, election of; Local Assembly; Local Assembly, election of
||A Plan of Unified Action to Spread the Bahá'í Cause Throughout the United States and Canada January 1, 1926-December 31, 1928 was formulated by The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada in response to Shoghi Effendi's message to the annual National Convention. [BA86-89]
It can be found at [Plan] The goals were (1) to unify the American Bahá'í community's efforts, (2) to increase the number of Bahá'ís, (3) to "penetrate the consciousness of the public with the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh", and (4) to raise $400,000 so that the construction of the first unit of the Temple's superstructure could begin. [SBBR14p160, BFA1p110]
This was the first of two Plans developed by the North American National Assembly in the years from 1926 to 1934 the second being "A New Plan of Unified Action To complete the Bahá'í Temple and promote the Cause in America (1931-1934)". [SBBR14p155-197]
The above two plans were the first to have the expansion and development of the Bahá'í community as a primary goal and it is likely that they provided the model for other plans organized by Shoghi Effendi and other National Assemblies. [SBBR14p155]
The first Plan of Unified Action indicates the ascendancy of those Bahá'ís who supported a centralizing authority over those who wanted a more amorphous system or no organization at all.[BiW177-8]
During the years of these two plans the National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada developed practices commonly used in subsequent plans, organized propagation, a central budget and the modern form of the Nineteen Day Feast. [SBBR14p160]
- For an essay on this subject see "Some Aspects of the Establishment of the Guardianship" by Dr Loni Bramson-Lerche in SBBR5p253-293
|United States; Canada
||Teaching Plans; Teaching Plans, National; NSA
|1926 (In the year)
||Green Acre came under the direct supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada. [GAP118]
Canadian Bahá'is played a significant role in redeeming the debts of Green Acre to prepare for its transference to trustees for the benefit of the National Spiritual Assembly. It became the first Bahá'í School to be legally placed under Bahá'í administrative authority in North America. [CBN 82 November, 1956 p2]
||Eliot; Maine; United States; Canada
||Green Acre; NSA United States and Canada
||The National Convention was held at the Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street in San Francisco. Because of the difficulty and expense of travel, only 32 of the 93 delegates attended in person. Those elected to the National Assembly were: Horace Holley, Montfort Mills, Florence Morton, Siegried Schopflocher, Roy Wilhelm, Amelia Collins, Allen McDaniels, Carl Scheffler, and Ali Kuli Khan. [BN No 12 June-July 1926 p3]
||San Francisco; USA
||National Convention; NSA, election: Horace Holley; Montfort Mills; Florence Morton; Siegried Schopflocher; Roy Wilhelm; Amelia Collins; Allen McDaniel; Carl Scheffler; Ali Kuli Khan
|1926 12 Jul (Or 16 Jul)
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada made representations to the Iranian government concerning the martyrdoms in Jahrum and asking the Sháh to intervene on behalf of the oppressed Bahá’ís. They included in their submission a list of all the places in North America were Bahá'ís resided. [BBR469; BW2:287]
For text of the petition see BW2:287–300.
On the 31st of July the submission that had been reprinted in booklet form was sent to some 300 newspapers. Copies were also sent to the local spiritual assemblies with instructions to deliver them to all Bahá'ís and friends of the Faith. [BN No 12 June - July 1926 p1]
||United States; Jahrum; Iran
||NSA; Petitions; Persecution, Iran; Persecution; Human rights
|1927 8 Jan
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada appointed seven people to a National Race Unity Committee. [SBR94; TMW166]
For the functions and challenges faced by the committee see TMW165–72.
||United States; Canada
||NSA; Race (general); Race Unity; Race Amity
||The American National convention was held in Montreal, a major subject of which was race relations. [TMw178]
Edwina Powell spoke on the subject, as she had been asked by Shoghi Effendi. [TMW178]
In her address, Sadie Oglesby recalled her conversations with Shoghi Effendi on the subject of race. [TMW178–80]
||Montreal; Quebec; Canada
||NSA; Conventions, National; Edwina Powell; Race (general); Sadie Oglesby
|1927 29 Apr
||The British delegates, at their first National Convention, elected ten members because there were an equal number of votes for ninth and tenth places. [ER253; UD70–1]
One of the members was a Rev. Biggs. [ER253; UD71]
Shoghi Effendi wrote on 13 May recommending that next year the number of members be strictly confined to nine. In an earlier letter written on his behalf he explained that all of the delegates were to choose nine members of the National Assembly from all of those eligible. Prior to that time the understanding was that, for example, the London delegates would vote for a proportional number of persons from the London area, the Manchester delegates would choose a number of members based on their proportion of the total Bahá'í population. [ER253; UD70, SETEP1p140]
||NSA; Elections; Conventions, National; Shoghi Effendi, Life of; First conventions
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada drew up and published a ‘Declaration of Trust’ and ‘By-laws of the National Spiritual Assembly’. [BW2:89, BW10:180]
For text see BW2:90–8.
The Guardian described it as the Bahá’í ‘national constitution’ heralding ‘the formation of the constitution of the future Bahá’í World Community’. [GPB335; PP302–3]
The drafting was largely the work of Horace Holley with assistance from the lawyer Mountfort Mills. [SBR234]
In subsequent years the National Assemblies of India and Burma, of Egypt, Iraq, Persian and the British Isles all adopted this example almost verbatim. [UD101, BA134-5, SETPE1p145-6]
||United States; Canada
||NSA; Horace Holley; Mountfort Mills; Constitutions; By-laws; Recognition; Firsts, Other
|1928 (In the year)
||In this year there were 579 localities in the world in which Bahá’ís lived, 102 local spiritual assemblies, nine national spiritual assemblies, and about eight languages into which Bahá’í literature was translated. [BBRSM160–1]
||NSA; LSA; statistics
||The American National Spiritual Assembly incorporated as a voluntary Trust. [BBRSM122; GPB335]
This enabled the National Spiritual Assembly to hold property, to receive bequests and to enter into contracts. [BBRSM122; GPB335–6]
||NSA; Voluntary Trust
|1932 10 Jun
||The American National Spiritual Assembly addresseed a petition to the Sháh of Iran requesting that the ban on Bahá’í literature be removed and asking that its representative, Mrs Keith Ransom-Kehler, be recognized to present in person the appeal. [BW5:390–1]
||United States; Iran
||NSA; Petitions; Reza Shah Pahlavi; Shahs; Keith Ransom-Kehler; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Bans; Persecution
|1932 15 Aug
||Keith Ransom-Kehler met the Iranian Court Minister Taymur Tash. [BW5:392]
She presented the American petition to him asking that the ban on Bahá’í literature in Iran be lifted and received assurances from him that this would be affected. [BW5:392]
She made seven successive petitions addressed to the Sháh of Persia. [GPB345]
For the history and unsuccessful outcome of this effort see BW5:391–8.
||Iran; United States
||Keith Ransom-Kehler; NSA; Petitions; Reza Shah Pahlavi; Shahs; Keith Ransom-Kehler; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Bans; Persecution
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Egypt and the Sudan incorporated. [GPB336]
This is the first national assembly in an Islamic country to secure civil recognition and the status of an independent religion. [BW6:24]
|1936 (In the year)
||The first woman was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of India, Shirin Fozdar.
||Shirin Fozdar; Women; NSA; Firsts, Other
|1936 (In the year)
||The National Assembly of Australia and New Zealand first issued its news organ, the Bahá’í Quarterly.
||Australia; New Zealand
||Following on the success of the initial Race Amity conferences in Washington, DC, the National Spiritual Assembly formed a racial amity committee. For a list of the committees complete with membership from 1921 until 1932 see The Bahá'í 'Race Amity' Movement and the Black Intelligentsia in Jim Crow America: Alain Locke and Robert Abbot by Christoper Buck. [Bahá'í Studies Review 17, 2011, 3–46]
In July, 1936 it was announced that "The National Spiritual Assembly had not appointed a Race Amity Committee that year. Its view was that race amity activities have sometimes resulted in emphasizing race differences rather than their unity and reconciliation within the Cause. Local Assemblies were requested to provide for amity meetings and regard them as a direct part of teaching." [TMW213]
||Race (general); Race Amity; Race unity; Conferences, Race Amity; Unity; NSA
|1936 1 Jul
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada appointed the first Inter-America Committee, beginning an organized and coordinated effort to establish the Faith in the Republics of Central and South America. [BW10:181]
|1938 (In the year)
||The publication of The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, a compilation of the communications to the North American Bahá'í community between 1929 and 1936. "These...communications unfold a clear vision of the relation between the Bahá'í community and the entire process of social evolution under the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh." [WOBv; BEL5.145]
It is available online at the Bahá'í Reference Library.
||World Order of Bahaullah (book); Dispensation of Bahaullah (letter); World order (general); Publications; Shoghi Effendi, Writings of; Shoghi Effendi, Basic timeline; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Peace; World peace (general); Shoghi Effendi, Works of
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand incorporated. [GPB336]
||Australia; New Zealand
||NSA of Australia; NSA of New Zealand; Incorporation; Recognition
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the British Isles incorporated after a long and difficult struggle. [BW8:161–2; UD127]
||NSA of UK; Incorporation; Recognition
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles incorporated as an unlimited non-profit company under the Companies Act of 1929. GPB336
||NSA of UK; Incorporation; Recognition
|1942 (In the year)
||The publication of Selected Writings of Bahá'u'lláh: Author of the Bahá'í Dispensation by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada. It was published by the Bahá'í Publishing Committee in Wilmette. 43p.
||Selected Writings of Baha'u'llah: Author of the Baha'i Dispensation
|1944 (In the year)
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Australia was incorporated.
|1944 22–23 May
||The Centenary of the Declaration of the Báb was celebrated at the House of the Báb in Shíráz. [BW10:181]
Ninety delegates to the national convention and members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran assembled discreetly for the occasion.
For details of this event and the caution with which the arrangements for it were made see BW10:181–3.
The Guardian sent the Persian Bahá’ís a lengthy letter detailing how the observance and the week-long festivities to follow are to be made. [BW10:183]
For details of the events see BW10:183–8.
||Bab, Declaration of; Bab, House of (Shiraz); Conventions, National; NSA; Centenaries
||The election for the National Spiritual Assembly was held by postal ballot. The tellers completed their work in the Temple Foundation Hall. Those selected as members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada were: Horace Holley, Dorothy Baker, Philip Sprague, George Latimer, Amelia Collins, Louis Gregory, Leroy Ioas, Allen McDaniel, Roy C. Wilhelm. [BN No175 Jun 1945 p3]
For the first time in the history of this Assembly, a postal by-election was held to fill a vacancy caused by the fact that Mr Wilhelm could no longer attend meetings. Elsie Austin was elected as of the 16th of March and attended one meeting before dissolution. [BN No 182 April 1946 p1]
The inability, under restrictions imposed by the war, to hold Convention sessions this year challenged the National Spiritual Assembly to maintain the important functions of the annual meeting through other means. Steps were therefore taken to provide for Voting by mail, with a committee of tellers to serve in the customary way, to conduct a public meeting or Bahá’í Congress in Foundation Hall during the Riḍván Period, and to provide the delegates with subjects for written suggestions and views. [BN No 174 April-May 145 p2]
|Wilmette; United States
||National Convention; NSA, election Horace Holley; Dorothy Baker; Philip Sprague; George Latimer; Amelia Collins; Louis Gregory; Leroy Ioas; Allen McDaniel; Roy Wilhelm
|1947. 18 May
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada was accredited by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization with observer status. [BW12:597; PP303; BIC site History 18 May 1947]
||New York, NY
||NSA United States and Canada; United Nations; NGO; BIC; Baha'i International Community
||The National Spiritual Assembly was elected in the United States. Those elected were:
Dorothy Baker (Chair),
Paul Haney (Vice·Chalr),
Horace Holley (Secretary),
Philip Sprague (Treasurer),
Elsie Austin, Kenneth Christian,
Edna True, Amelia Collins, and
George Latimer. [USBN No. 207 May, 1948 p 4]
||NSA United States; Dorothy Baker; Paul Haney; Horace Holley; Philip Sprague; Elsie Austin; Kenneth Christian; Edna True; Amelia Collins; George Latimer
|1949 30 Apr
||An Act to incorporate the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada was passed. The act established the name, named the officers as directors, stated the location of the headquarters, defined the objectives, gave it the right to manage the affairs of the Bahá'ís, to make by-laws and to hold property. It was used as a model for registration/incorporation in other states.
The pdf for the Act can be found here.
The National Spiritual Assembly members at that time were John Aldham Robarts, of the city of Toronto, province of Ontario, manager; Emeric Sala, of the city of St. Lambert, province of Quebec, manufacturer; Dame Laura Romney Davis, wife of Victor Davis of the city of Toronto, province of Ontario; Siegfried Schopflocher, of the city of Montreal, province of Quebec, manufacturer; Rowland Ardouin Estall, of the city of Montreal, province of Quebec, insurance broker; Ross Greig Woodman, of the city of Toronto, province of Ontario, lecturer; Lloyd George Gardner, of the city of Toronto, province of Ontario, wholesaler; and Dame Doris Cecilia Richardson, wife of J. P. Richardson, of the city of Toronto, province of Ontario; and Dame Rosemary Scott Sala, wife of the said Emeric Sala, of the city of St. Lambert, province Corporate of Quebec.
See Shoghi Effendi's letter of 19 June, 1949 for his comments.
||NSA; Incorporation; Firsts, Other; Recognition
||The National Convention of the Bahá'ís of Central America was scheduled to be held in a prestigious hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica. When a distinguish believer, Mr Matthew Bullock, was not allowed to register at the hotel because of his race, the National Assembly moved the Convention to another venue and registered guests moved to small pensions rather than staying at the hotel. [SDSC65]
Matthew Bullock was one of the early African-American believers in the United States. He became an enrolled believer in 1940 after 15 years of knowledge of the Faith. In 1952 he was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly and along with fellow NSA member Elsie Austin, represented that institution at the first Intercontinental Teaching Conference in Uganda in 1953. [LoS108, SDSC102]
||San Jose; Costa Rica; Central America
||Conventions, National; NSA; Race (general); Matthew Bullock; Elsie Austin
|1952 8 Oct
||Shoghi Effendi announced his decision to launch ‘the fate-laden, soul-stirring, decade-long world-embracing Spiritual Crusade’ in the coming year. [BW12:253–5; MBW40-41; StS42]
For the objectives of the Crusade see BW12:256–14.
Among the goals to be achieved was the construction of the International Bahá’í Archives building. [BBD22; DH168; MBW43]
"the first of the major edifices destined to constitute the seat of the World Bahá'í Administrative Centre to be established on Mount Carmel". [PP264]
See The Bahá’í Faith 1844-1952 Information Statistical and Comparative (PDF) compiled by Shoghi Effendi.
||Ten Year Crusade; Shoghi Effendi, Life of; International Bahai Archives; Hands of the Cause; Hands of the Cause, Activities; Auxiliary Board; Auxiliary Board Members and assistants; Appointed arm; NSA; Teaching Plans; Shoghi Effendi, Basic timeline; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Shoghi Effendi, Works of
|1953 (In the year)
||Grant Mensah, a Ghanaian, became a Bahá’í in Ruanda-Urundi, the first person to accept the Faith in that country.
||Bahá’í women in Iran were accorded full rights to participate in membership of both national and local Bahá’í assemblies. [MBW65]
This removed the ‘last remaining obstacle to the enjoyment of complete equality of rights in the conduct of the administrative affairs of the Persian Bahá’í Community’. [MBW65]
||NSA; LSA; Women; Gender; Equality
||Adelaide Sharp, who had been in Iran since 1929, was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, the first woman elected to that body. [BFA2:361]
||Adelaide Sharp; NSA; Firsts, Other; Women
||Appeals were made by National Spiritual Assemblies around the world through the Bahá’í International Community to the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld to ask the Iranian government to halt the attacks on the Bahá’ís. [BW13:789–91; BW16:329; MBW88–9; PP304, 311; CBN No 81 October 1956 p1]
The intervention of the Secretary-General of the UN, along with the efforts of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, brought an end to the physical persecution of the Bahá’ís, although their human rights are still denied. [BW13:790; BW16:329]
This marked the first time the Faith was able to defend itself with its newly born administrative agencies. An “Aid the Persecuted Fund” was established.
Historian Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi noted that the 1955 anti-Bahá'í campaign was both the apogee and the point of separation of the state-clergy co-operation. The Shah succumbing to international pressure to provide human rights, withdrew support. The result was that the period from the late fifties until 1977-1978 was a period of relative safety. [Towards a History of Iran’s Bahá'í Community During the Reign of Mohammad Reza Shah, 1941-1979 by Mina Yazdani.]
||New York; United States; Iran
||Bahai International Community; United Nations; NSA; Human rights; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution
|1957 2 Dec
||On the advice of their lawyer, Dr Abraham Weinshall, the Custodians ask each National and Regional Assembly to send a letter recognizing them as the supreme body in the Cause. [MC40–1]
||Separate National Spiritual Assemblies were formed for India and Burma. Up until 1957 this group had included Pakistan. [BW13p300]
For the letter of the Custodians to the national convention of Burma see MC155–7.
||Myanmar (Burma); India
||NSA India; NSA Burma; Custodians; National Spiritual Assembly, formation
|1960 30 Apr – 10 May
||Twenty–four national spiritual assemblies and five national conventions sent messages of support to the Custodians, repudiating the claim made by Charles Mason Remey to be the second Guardian. [MC199–202]
The National Spiritual Assembly of France voted to recognize Remey's claim. [MC203]
||BWC; Haifa; France
||NSA; Custodians; Charles Mason Remey; Covenant-breakers; Guardianship
|1960 5 May
||Hand of the Cause Abu’l-Qásim Faizí was sent by the Custodians to France to meet with the National Spiritual Assembly and Bahá’ís of France. [MC197]
After consultation, five members of the assembly continued to support Charles Mason Remey in his claim to be the second Guardian and resigned from the assembly. The national assembly was dissolved. [MC203]
||BWC; Haifa; France
||Hands of the Cause; Hands of the Cause, Activities; Abul-Qasim Faizi; NSA; Charles Mason Remey; Covenant-breakers; Guardianship
|1960 12 – 31 May
||Six national spiritual assemblies sent messages of support to the Custodians, repudiating the claim made by Charles Mason Remey to be the second Guardian. [MC207–8]
||NSA; Charles Mason Remey; Covenant-breakers; Guardianship
|1961 15 Jul
||The Turkish court declared the Bahá’í Faith to be a ‘Tarighat’, a sect forbidden by the law of the land.<
The Bahá’ís were ‘forgiven’, released and the case against them dropped. [MoC308]
The National Spiritual Assembly decided to appeal the decision to a higher court and national spiritual assemblies were asked to make representations to the Turkish ambassadors in their respective countries. [MoC308]
||Persecution, Turkey; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Human rights; NSA
|1962 22 Aug
||The Custodians ask the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to make representations to the diplomatic missions of Morocco in Washington and at the United Nations concerning the 14 Bahá’ís imprisoned in Morocco. [MoC368–9]
||United States; Morocco
||Persecution, Morocco; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; NSA; Custodians; United Nations
|1962 23 Sep
||The Custodians ask the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to obtain an interview with the personal representative of the King of Morocco who heads that country’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in connection with the Bahá’ís imprisoned in Morocco. [MoC373–4]
||United States; Morocco
||Persecution, Morocco; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; NSA; United Nations
|1962 23 Dec
||The Custodians asked national spiritual assemblies to cable Secretary General of the United Nations U Thant requesting his intervention on behalf of the Bahá’ís under sentence of death and imprisoned for life in Morocco. [BW13:794; MoC397–8]
||Persecution, Morocco; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Custodians; NSA; United Nations
|1962 27 Dec
||The Custodians asked national and local spiritual assemblies to write to the Moroccan ambassador in their respective countries pleading for justice and religious freedom. [MoC398–9]
||Persecution, Morocco; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Custodians; NSA; LSA
|1963 1 Jan
||The Custodians ask all national and local spiritual assemblies to cable the King of Morocco appealing for justice for the Bahá’ís under sentence of death and imprisoned for life in his country. [BW14:97; MoC19]
||Persecution, Morocco; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Custodians; NSA; LSA
|1963 4 Apr
||The Custodians issued a statement of information to the national spiritual assemblies of the United States and Europe regarding the Bahá’ís imprisoned in Morocco and under threat of death, reminding them that clemency or a pardon are not sufficient, as the condemned Bahá’ís cannot be pardoned for a crime they did not commit. [MoC414]
For text of statement see MC414–20.
||Persecution, Morocco; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Custodians; NSA
|1964 5 Nov
||Followers of Charles Mason Remey filed suit in the United States District Court for Northern Illinois against the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, claiming they were the rightful owners of all Bahá’í properties and funds in the United States. [BW14:95]
The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States filed a counter-claim asking the court to restrain the Covenant-breakers from using Bahá’í names and symbols protected by trademark. [BW14:95]
||Charles Mason Remey; Covenant-breakers; NSA; Court cases; Copyright and trademarks; Criticism and apologetics
||The Bahá’í Faith was banned in Algeria by official decree, all Bahá’í institutions were disbanded and the National Spiritual Assembly dissolved. [BW15:189; BW19:41]
||Persecution, Algeria; Persecution, Other; Persecution; NSA; Persecution, Bans; National Spiritual Assembly, formation
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Equatorial Guinea was formed. [BW16:141]
Owing to local circumstances, it was disbanded within the year. [BW16:141]
|1975 21 Jun
||Following the revolution in Portugal in April, the National Spiritual Assembly was officially recognized.
The process of incorporation began in 1951.
|1977 (In the year)
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Thailand re-formed.
|1978 15 Dec
||A cabled message was sent to 93 national spiritual assemblies stating that the Bahá’ís in Iran and the Holy Places in Tihrán and Shíráz were in peril. [BW17:79]
||Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; NSA
|1979 15 Feb
||The National Hazíratu’l-Quds of Iran was seized by the Revolutionary Guards. [BW18:250]
All the records of the National Spiritual Assembly, including a membership list of all the Bahá’ís in Iran, were confiscated by the government. [BW19:43]
||Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Haziratul-Quds; NSA
|1979 11 Nov
||Dr ‘Alímurád Dávúdí, a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, was kidnapped in Tihrán and presumed to be dead. [BW18:254, 294]
||Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; NSA
||The persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran entered a new, more dangerous phase. [BW18:255]
Prominent Bahá’ís were abducted. [BW18:256]
The homes of members of the National Spiritual Assembly were raided. [BW18:256]
||NSA; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
|1980 21 Aug
||The members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran were arrested along with two colleagues. They disappeared without trace and were presumed dead. [BW19:43, 235]
Those that went missing were: Abdolhossein Taslimi, Houshang Mohammadi, Ebrahim Rahmani, Hassan Naji, Manouher Ghaemmaghami, Ataollah Mogharabi, Yousef Ghadimi, Behieh Naderi, Dr. Kambiz Sadeghzadeh Milani, Yousef Abbasian and Heshmatollah Rouhani.
See Iran Press Watch # 20394.
||NSA Iran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Deaths
|1981 (In the year)
||The persecution of the Bahá’ís of Iran continued throughout the year. [BW18:92]
Forty–six Bahá’ís were executed and two assassinated. [BW18:292–3; BW19:230–1]
For pictures of the martyrs see BW18:295–305 and BW19:236–46.
For accounts of some of the martyrdoms see BW18:277–8, 281–4.
For excerpts from the wills of some of the martyrs see BW18:284–9.
For a list of resolutions adopted by the United Nations, regional bodies, national and provincial governments, and other actions taken, see BW18:92–6 and BW19:44–6.
For a list of the actions taken by the Bahá’í International Community, Bahá’í institutions and others see BW18:341–5, 417–20.
See Archives of Bahá'í Persecution in Iran for an edited video recording of the secret trial of the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran at Evin Prison in Tehran. (In Farsi)
During the year the Bahá'í International Community made its first appeal to the UN Commission in Human Rights to address the situation of the Bahá'í Community in Iran. [BIC History 1981]
||Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution; United Nations; Baha'i International Community; Human rights; NSA
|1981 27 Dec
||Eight of the nine members of the replacement National Spiritual Assembly of Iran were executed. They replaced the members who had been arrested and who had "disappeared" the previous August. The members of the second National Assembly were:
Mr. Mihdi Amin Amin,
Mrs. Zhinus Mahmudi,
Dr. 'Izzatu'lláh Furúhi,
Mr. Kamran Samimi,
Mr. Jalal Azizi,
Dr. Mahmud Madjhub,
Mr. Sirus Rawshani Oskui, and
Mr. Qudratu’llah Rawhani. BI13; BW19:43]
Note: The Archives of the Bahá'í Persecution in Iran reports that seven members of the second National Assembly after the revolution were executed in December 1981. There is a photo but the members are not identified.
See Iran Press Watch # 20394.
A video of the trial of the second Assembly was shown on the BBC on the 17th of October, 2015. Mrs Ahinous Ne'mat was not present in the video. The remaining members shown were:
Mehdi Amin Amin,
Sirous Roshani Oskou'i, and
See Letter From Zhínús Mahmúdí to Her Three Children, 7 June 1981. Her husband Húshang had been elected to the first National Spiritual Assembly. He had been arrested on 21 August 1980 and his whereabouts are still unknown. His wife was arrested on 13 December 1981 and she was executed on the 27th.
[World Order, Series 2, Volume_17 Issue 1 p32-35]
Link to Muna Mahmoudi's talk on Sacrifice & Martydom.
See Religion New Service 2 April, 2020 for a story about the execution of Kamran Samimi and his companions. For a brief biography of Kamran Samini see Wikipedia.
See Iran Wire for details of the life of Dr Sirous Rowshani Oskui.
||NSA Iran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution
||After a lapse of six years, the first formal meeting of the National Spiritual Assembly of Laos was held at the Bahá’í Centre. [BW18:96; BW19:49]
|1982 10 – 11 Apr
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Panama petitioned its government to issue a stamp in commemoration of the dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America. [BW18:172–3]
||NSA; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Panama; Stamps
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Nepal was re-formed. [BW18:107, 181, 553(photo)]
Due to the conditions in Nepal during the reign of King Birendra and at the suggestion of the Universal House of Justice, the National Assembly and the 40 other Local Assemblies were dissolved in 1975. For a few years, until 1982, there was an Administrative Committee which looked after the affairs of the Cause in Nepal.
"In the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal, the believers have, through the integrity of their character and the excellence of their conduct, overcome in recent years restrictions on the expansion of the Cause. They are now held in high regard and are successfully engaged in presenting the Faith to the people as a unifying force which can contribute to the progress of the nation. As they grow in strength, they can begin to look beyond their own borders and assist in the propagation of the Faith in those areas to which they have such easy access." [Ridván 153]
||NSA dissolved; NSA re-formed; LSA dissolved; LSA re-formed; National Spiritual Assembly, formation
||Five local and two pioneer Bahá’ís were arrested, interrogated and held briefly in prison in Mauritania. [BW19:49]
The National Assembly was dissolved. [BW19:49]
||NSA; Persecution, Mauritania; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
|1983 29 Apr - 2 May
||The Universal House of Justice was elected for the fifth time at the International Convention held in Haifa.
Those elected were: 'Al´Nakhjavání, Hushmand Fatheazam, Ian Semple, David Ruhe, Glenford Mitchell, David Hofman, Borrah Kavelin, Charles Wolcott, and Hugh Chance. [Mess63-86p359]
The National Spiritual Assembly of Iran was unable to attend but sent 133 red roses as its gift to its sister Assemblies. [BW18:461]
For a report of the Convention see BW18:461–4.
See BW18:462, 464 for pictures.
||BWC; Haifa; Iran
||Universal House of Justice, Election of; Elections; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Conventions, International; Gifts; Roses; NSA
|1983 3 Sep
||In response to the Iranian authorities banning all Bahá'í administrative and community activities and the making of membership in a Bahá'í assembly a criminal offence, as their last act the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran sent an open letter to the Prosecutor General of the Islamic Revolution refuting the false charges made against the Bahá’ís and informing him of their willingness to obey the government and disband the Bahá'í administration. [BW19:43]
In a gesture of good will and in accordance with their law of obedience to the government the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iran and all local assemblies were dissolved. In its place, they formed groups of three persons in cities and villages called Khadimeen (“Servants”), and on the national level named the Yaran-e Iran to address the immediate needs of the community such as births, marriages, divorces, burial ceremonies and other services. [BW19:62]
Since the 1920s when the Bahá'í administration was introduced in Iran they had made considerable progress.
1950 Local Spiritual Assemblies: 280 Localities: 712
1968 Local Spiritual Assemblies: 560 Localities: 1,541
1979 Local Spiritual Assemblies: 679 Localities: 1,699 [BAHAISM v. The Bahai Community in Iran by V. Rafati]
||NSA Iran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution; NSA dissolved; LSA dissolved; Yaran; Khadimeen; Statistics
|1984 9 Nov
||The Universal House of Justice met with representatives of the Bahá’í International Community and various national spiritual assemblies at the World Centre.
||UHJ; BIC; NSA
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Brazil submitted proposals based on Bahá’í principles such as human rights to the National Constitutional Assembly drafting the new constitution. [BINS174:2]
Favourable responses were received from 46 Senators and Deputies. [BINS174:2]
||The National Spiritual Assembly of Guinea was formed with its seat in Conakry. [BINS178:8]
||The first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Guinea-Bissau was formed. [PH73; AWH62]
|1990 (In the year)
||The National Spiritual Assembly of South Africa made a submission for the drafting of a new constitution.
The judge that received it, the President of the South African Law Commission, commented that this document stated the Bahá’ís were the only group whose ideas had a spiritual and moral basis for the constitution. [AWH87-8]
||Maureen Nakekea and Marao Teem were elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of Kiribati, the first indigenous women to be elected to the institution. [BINS224:7]
||NSA; Indigenous people; Women; Islands; Firsts, Other
|1991 (In the year)
||The first major public statement of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, The Vision of Race Unity: America's Most challenging Issue, was published and disseminated widely throughout the country.
||Vision of Race Unity (statement); Race (general); Unity; Publications; Statements; NSA statements; Public discourse
|1991 25 Jan
||Mottahedeh Development Services was established by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States as a non-profit agency to promote social and economic development to benefit individuals of any race, creed, or nationality. The agency name honours more than fifty years of dedicated service by Mildred and Rafi Mottahedeh, two pioneers in social and economic development.
Mottahedeh Development Services was organized as a charitable organization under US law. [MDS]
||NSA United States; Social and economic development; Mottahedeh Development Services; Mildred Mottahedeh; Rafi Mottahedeh
|1991. 5 Feb
||The highest legal authority in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court, overturned the decisions of a number of lower courts that had refused to register the by-laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly on the grounds that the authority granted to the National Spiritual Assembly in the document violated the legal principle requiring the autonomy of all legally incorporated associations.
The case was first brought before the District Court of Tübingen when the legal administrator refused to register the Local Assembly on the 8th of December, 1983. The decision was appealed on the 5th of May 1985 to the High State Court in Sturrgart and rejected on the 27th of January 1986. News of the decision caused other jurisdictions to demand that local assemblies amend their By-Laws or face cancellation of their existing incorporation. The National Spiritual Assembly was in danger of the same fate. An appeal was submitted in March of 1986.
The ruling affirmed Bahá'í community, by it’s right as a recognized religion, recognized by public knowledge and by the testimony of scholars of comparative religion, had the right to a legal identity. [AWH87]
See Ridván Message 1991.
For complete details of the case see Mess86-01p206-235.
||LSA; NSA; By-laws; Legal recognition
|1993 (In the year)
||The establishment of the Labranza Training Institute to complement the work of all the socio-economic development projects owned and operated by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Chile.
Located about 680 kms. south of Santiago, in the heart of the agricultural belt of the country, its main purpose was to serve the needs of the rural Mapuche population.
The operational costs were covered by a mix of contributions from individual Bahá'ís and Bahá'í institutions as well as the rental of its facilities for academic and vocational training to government agencies and Non Government Organizations (NGOs). Its staff were Bahá'í volunteers offering their services for determined periods of time.
The Bahá'í programs were focused on capacity building of the Mapuche population in order to allow for self-administration at the grass roots level, which included practical as well as spiritual content. It has often been used for government training programs in the areas of health, drug prevention, agriculture and rural education.
||Labranza Training Institute; Social and economic development; NSA
|1993 21 Mar
||The presentation of the first Race Unity Award by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada.
||NSA; Race unity; Race (general)
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada presented a paper entitled A Bahá’í Perspective on the Future of Canadian Foreign Policy to the Special Joint Parliamentary Committee reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy. [A Bahá’í Perspective on the Future of Canadian Foreign Policy]
||Foreign Policy; NSA Canada; Statements
|1994. 24 Oct
||The Supreme Court of India, in judgment to settle a religious dispute between Hindus and Muslims, cited the Bahá’í Faith as an example and the Teachings of the Faith as guidelines for resolving such disputes. [BW94-95p130-131; One Country]
Background: On the 6th of December, 1992, the Babri mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya was razed by a group of Hindus because the mosque, built in 1528, had been erected on the spot where the Hindu deity Rama is said to have been born thousands of years earlier. The destruction enraged Muslims and ignited a grave crisis in India. Muslim and Hindu mobs attacked each other's houses of worship, homes and people in a number of cities, resulting in the death of hundreds and the destruction of property not only in India but in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even in Britain. [Mess86-01p440]
The Bahá'í community had issued a statement in English that highlighted a central theme: “Communal Harmony—India’s Greatest Challenge.” The issue of religious conflict and the importance of harmony and peacebuilding were emphasized. This statement was later translated into most of the official languages of India and distributed to Ministers, bureaucrats, district county workers, the superintendent of police, NGOS, and faith communities.
The judges, in their ruling, quoted from the statement from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India Communal Harmony: India's Greatest Challenge. [Mess86-01p441]
A timeline for the case.
|New Delhi,India; Ayodhya; India
||Communal harmony; Communalism; Ethnic divisions; Conflict resolution; Statements; NSA statements; Public discourse
|1996 Ridván (and after)
||The International Financial Collaboration programme was established by the Universal House of Justice to allow those national communities which are materially well endowed to assist other communities. Around 40 National Assemblies will be donors.
The programme is "... used to meet a variety of needs: the acquisition of land and buildings for national and local Baha'i Centres and for future Temple sites; the construction and renovation of Bahá'í properties, including the repair of buildings that suffered storm or earthquake damage; and the purchase of such items as an electricity generator, an office computer, and a motorcycle." They add further: "[b]eyond that, the bonds of unity between geographically distant national communities have been strengthened and the worldwide solidarity of the believers enhanced." [Letter from the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom dated 17 July 2011 quoted in the UK BAHA'I NEWS EMAIL SERVICE dated 11 August 2011]
||Funds; Property; Purchases and exchanges; NSA; Universal House of Justice; Restoration; International Collaboration programme
||Find reference and more information|
|1997 30 May
||In its message of 30 May 1997 the Universal House of Justice announced that they have authorized the formation of "State Bahá'í Councils" or "Regional Teaching and Administrative Committees" to be called "Regional Bahá'í Councils. Their intention was to provide a balance between centralization and decentralization. This structure had been in place in some countries, notably India, for some years prior to this time. See 23 May, 1986. [TP87-90]
For a synopsis of the letter see The Establishment of Regional Bahá'í Councils in Certain Countries, Their Characteristics and Functions.
The distinguishing effects of the establishment of Regional Bahá’í Councils were the following:
It provided for a level of autonomous decision making on both teaching and administrative matters, as distinct from merely executive action, below the National Assembly and above the Local Assemblies.
It involved the members of Local Spiritual Assemblies of the area in the choice of the members of the Council, thus reinforcing the bond between it and the local believers while, at the same time, bringing into public service capable believers who were known to the friends in their own region.
It established direct consultative relationships between the Continental Counselors and the Regional Bahá’í Councils.
It offered the possibility of forming a Regional Bahá’í Council in an ethnically distinct region which covered parts of two or more countries. In such a situation the Council was designated to work directly under one of the National Assemblies involved, providing copies of its reports and minutes to the other National Assembly.
The greater degree of decentralization involved in the devolution of authority upon Regional Bahá’í Councils required a corresponding increase in the capacity of the National Spiritual Assembly itself to keep fully informed of what was proceeding in all parts of the territory over which it had ultimate jurisdiction.
||State Bahai Councils; Regional Bahai Councils; National Spiritual Assemblies; NSA; Local Spiritual Assemblies; LSA; Administration
|1998. 25 March
||The passing of former Universal House of Justice member (1963-1993) Mr. Hugh E Chance (b. 28 December, 1911 in Winfield, Kansas d. 25 March,1998 in Tisdale KS.). [BW97-98p271-272]
Mr Chance had been a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States from 1961 to 1963.
He was the co-author of "A Crown of Beauty" with Eunice Braun which was published by George Ronald in 1982.
||Tisdale; Kansas; United States
||Hugh Chance; In Memoriam
|1998 29 Jul
||The passing of actor and writer O. Z. Whitehead at the age of 87 in Dublin. (b. in New York City on 18 March 1911).
His most acclaimed performance and best remembered role remained that of Al in John Ford's classic 1940 film version of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
After the World Congress in 1963 he pioneered to the Irish Republic where, among other services to the Faith, he served on the National Spiritual Assembly.
He published three volumes of pen portraits, Some Early Bahá'ís of the West (1976), Some Bahá'ís to Remember (1983), and Portraits of Some Bahá'í Women (1996).
He is remembered as a champion of the Arts. [Bahá'í Studies Review Vol8, 1998]
||O. Z. Whitehead; Pioneers; NSA; Biographies (general)
|1999 19 Jan
||The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Russia formally received its re-registration documents under the new law on religious organizations that was passed by the Russian Parliament in the fall of 1997.
Formal recognition as a “centralized religious organization” entitled the community to full rights to teach and proclaim the Faith, publish and import literature, rent and own property, invite foreign nationals etc. [From “European Bulletin” Issue 60 February 1999]
||NSA; Russian Parliament
|1999 5 May
||Firuz Kazemzadeh, Secretary for External Affairs for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, was appointed by President Clinton as a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. White House Press Release
||Firuz Kazemzadeh; NSA; United States government; United States Commissions; Religious freedom; Human rights
|2001 23 Dec
||National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States published a full-page advertisement in The New York Times. The statement, entitled The Destiny of America and The Promise of World Peace," stated that Bahá'ís believe the American nation will evolve, through tests and trials to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion of justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and a powerful servant of the cause of everlasting peace. The 645-word document identified six prerequisites for world peace: universal acceptance of the oneness of humanity; the eradication of racism; the full emancipation of women; the elimination of inordinate disparity between the rich and the poor; an end to unbridled nationalism; and harmony between religious leaders. [BWNS147, includes the text of the statement]
||New York; United States
||Promise of World Peace (statement); Statements; NSA statements; NSA United States; Peace; BWNS; Publications; Newspapers; Press (media)