FAITH MINISTER GIVES TOUCHING SPEECH AT EVENT MARKING 100 YEARS SINCE THE PASSING OF CENTRAL FIGURE
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Over fifty MPs, journalists, and actors within civil society joined the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Bahá’í Faith’s annual reception in Portcullis House last night.
This year, the commemoration focused on the centenary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. 'Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed by Bahá’u’lláh as his successor, and was known as a champion of social justice and an ambassador for international peace. He played a foundational role in the development the Bahá’í community, and left a range of visionary writings covering social and spiritual aspects of human existence.
Kemi Badenoch, the new Faith Minister, Minister for Women and Equalities, and MP for Saffron Walden gave a touching speech to the attendees at the event. She said: “And it’s a community that makes an important contribution to public life…always with the aim of demonstrating a moral commitment to society.
“The support the Bahá’ís provide to one another is a real, and tangible example of a society we can all aspire to, and something we can all learn from.”
Other attendees included Fiona Bruce MP (PM's Special Envoy on FoRB), Baroness Uddin, Martin Vickers MP, Ruth Jones MP, Alison Thewliss MP, Tanmanjeet Singh Desi MP and Jim Shannon MP.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is viewed by Bahá’ís and those who encountered Him as an example of how to apply the teaching of kindness, justice, and service to others in their daily lives.
Born in Tehran in 1844 and exiled with his father as a child, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was imprisoned for forty years. He was released in 1908 and travelled to the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. In His writings and many public addresses, He spoke of certain vital truths: the elimination of all forms of prejudice, the independent search after the truth, the oneness of religions, racial and gender equality, universal education and the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty. Wherever He went, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was recognised and welcomed, and He was knighted by the British Government for His efforts to avoid a famine during World War One in Haifa in what was then known as Palestine.
In her speech Dr Shirin Foroughi-Fozdar, representing the National Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the UK spoke about seeing the ways that communities are inspired by Abdu’l-Bahá’ís commitment to service. She said: “Bahá’ís always speak of “Being” and “Doing”. We say it is not enough just to “be” a good person, one must demonstrate it through action, through service to others. One must “do” as well as “be”.
“'Abdu'l-Bahá demonstrated selfless service to others, in fact He served everyone who crossed His path, without exception or hesitation.
“He cared for the poor and sick. He demonstrated how to love one’s enemies, how to build unity between peoples, what equality of the races truly meant, what the implications of the equality of men and women are.”
Rounding off the programme, a group of teenagers involved in the junior youth spiritual empowerment programme – an educational programme that aims to empower young people to develop themselves and their communities through service to their communities – explained how 'Abdu'l-Bahá’s example inspired their group. They shared stories of their projects, that aimed to serve their local communities, including support they offered their local community during the pandemic.
Bahá’í communities across the world will continue celebrations of this centenary year until next November.
Press release ends
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