My turn: Baha'is will be silent no more

Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baha'i Faith is a world religion. Its purpose is to unite all religions and races and to establish "Universal Peace." Baha'i Faith originated in Iran in 1844. Baha'is believe in God and all his messengers such as Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Budah, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Ba'b and Baha'u'llah.

Baha'u'llah, which means "The Glory of God" is the founder of the Baha'i Faith. He claims to be "The Promised One" of all the religions of the past whose universal teachings for this day and age will bring the human family together in everlasting peace and harmony.

Here are some of the principles of the Baha'i Faith:

• The oneness of mankind.

• Universal peace.

• Independent investigation of truth.

• Equality of men and women.

• Elimination of prejudice of all kinds.

• Universal compulsory education.

• A spiritual solution to the economic problem.

• A universal auxiliary language.

Since the inception of their faith, Baha'is have been the subject of persecution in the cradle of their faith: Iran. In early years, 20,000 Baha'is, among them hundreds of high-ranking religious leaders of that era, a number almost unheard of in the history of religions, gave their lives to prove and promote the healing message of Baha'u'llah, which this ailing world desperately needs.

After revolution in Iran in 1979, new waves of injustice and persecution engulfed the Baha'i community, which raised a great concern throughout the world for their safety.

Baha'is were barred from schools and universities, beaten and forced to go to mosques to deny their faith. Holy places and cemeteries were desecrated, and people were abducted with no trace, hanged and shot to death.

In my city, Shiraz, 10 Baha'i women were hanged in one night. The youngest was a 16-year-old, Mona, who refused to give up her faith and was the last one to be hanged after witnessing nine other friends being hanged in the government's vain attempt to shake her faith and force her to recant. Despite 160 years of effort to extinguish the flame of God, it spread like a wildfire. Baha'is now reside in every corner of the globe and come from all religious and non-religious backgrounds and all walks of life united in believing in Baha'u'llah and promoting his cause.

Baha'is' only crime is believing in God and following his commandments. The same crime that caused Jesus Christ to be crucified and his followers to face unimaginable hardships and persecution and all other prophets and their followers to suffer.

Baha'is do not have religious ranks and leaders. Baha'is are exhorted to evince a high sense of moral rectitude in their activities, chastity in their individual lives and complete freedom from prejudices in their dealing with people of every race, class and creed. Baha'is strive to promote the welfare of society in whatever country they reside.

If we do not defend these peaceful human beings and stand up for their rights, how could we claim to respect and believe in human rights, justice and equality for all?

The only thing that God wants us to do is to investigate the cause of Baha'u'llah without any bias or prejudices, so we do not make the same mistakes as we did with all prophets of the past.

We all have to make our choices now, to either answer the call of God and become his force to establish peace and unity, or reject him or stand in the sidewalks watching or walking away, as we did in the time of Jesus and all other manifestations of God. The history will judge us all. We all can repeat the history or shape and make the history.

Which part of history do you want to make and be a part of?

• Mansour Sadeghi is a member of the Baha'i faith in Juneau.

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