Consecutive holy days celebrate the births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah

The Shrine of Baha'u'llah near Akka, Israel . © BIC Toronto, Ontario, 12 November 2015 (CBNS) — This is the first year that Baha’is around the world will celebrate two of their most important holy days on consecutive days, November 13 and 14. The first day commemorates the birth of the Bab, the Herald of the Baha’i Faith, and the second, the birth of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith.

Iranian Baha’i refugees the subject of Carleton University symposium

Speakers at the Symposium (l to r) Janet Grinsted, Douglas Martin, Gerry Van Kessel . © Baha'i Community of Canada Toronto, Ontario, 1 October 2015 (CBNS) —

“You will be scattered like gems across the country.”

That is what Mina Sanaee recalled Douglas Martin telling her when he visited Baha’i refugees in Pakistan in the early 1980s. Mr Martin was the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada at that time, when Canada was the first country to open its doors to Baha’i refugees fleeing violent persecution in Iran. “Each Baha’i [who left Iran] faced a supremely painful decision [to leave] after patiently enduring daily acts of violence and injustice…. We were dispirited,” Ms Sanaee said, but “he encouraged us with this message.”

Baha’i Representative Appointed to Canada’s External Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom

Members of the External Advisory Committee (EAC) for Religious Freedom . © DFATD Toronto, Ontario, 24 July 2015 (CBNS) — The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently announced the establishment of an External Advisory Committee on religious freedom. The committee is comprised of 23 members from a variety of Canadian faith and belief communities, including the Director of Government Relations for the Baha’i Community of Canada, Corinne Box.

The Baha’i member was appointed by the government to serve as the vice-chair of the Advisory Committee. Father Raymond J. de Souza, a Roman Catholic priest from Kingston, was appointed chair and Malik Talib, President of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, was appointed as a second vice chair.

Association for Baha’i Studies’ 39th Annual Conference

Dr. Nazila Ghanea, H.M Balyuzi Lecturer for 2015 . © Toronto, Ontario, 21 July 2015 (CBNS) — The 39th annual North American conference of the Association for Baha’i Studies, entitled “Advancing the Life of the Mind” is scheduled to take place this August 6th to 9th in Orange County, California.

The 33rd H.M Balyuzi Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Nazila Ghanea, Associate Professor of International and Human Rights law at the University of Oxford. Her presentation is titled: “Striving for Human rights in an Age of Religious Extremism.” The conference will be attended by Mr. Shahriar Razavi, member of the Universal House of Justice, speaking on “Baha’i Participation in the Public Sphere: Considerations Related to History, Concepts and Approaches.”

Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Báb

The shrine of the Bab in Haifa, Israël. © Aaron Morgulis Toronto, Ontario, 7 July 2015 (CBNS) — This year July 10th marks the 165th anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Báb-- the first of the twin Prophet figures of the Bahá’í Faith. For the Bahá’í community the Martyrdom of the Báb is a holy day commemorated annually by Bahá’ís across Canada, and the world over.

The title the “Báb” translates literally from Arabic to the “Gate” -- a symbol denoting the means through which humankind comes into relation with the Divine, and humankind's entry into a new era of spiritual, social, moral, and scientific enlightenment. The Báb, whose given name was “Siyyid-Ali Muhammad” was born in 1819 in the City of Shiraz, Iran. Raised by His maternal uncle, the Báb was a merchant of textiles. As a child the Báb was distinguished among His peers for the acuity of His mind, the temperance of His character, and His outstanding piety and devotion.