Mr. Patrick O'Mara
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom
27 Rutland Gate, London SW7 1PD
Tel: 020-7584-2566 Fax: 020-7584 9402
Subject : State of Bahá'í Faith - Serious Introspection
Introspection is such a priceless activity that it is sufficient to wake one up from a slumber of complacency. And the Bahá'í Faith today is in that slumber. Through this letter I would like to unravel hard realities, so that we understand that much as we would like to think grand about ourselves, the facts are different. Also, it would emerge how we get indulged in worthless activities based on vested instigations, leaving aside priorities.
Lets visit History of Bahá'í Faith in the UK, to set the ground for introspection.
One hundred years ago, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, arrived in the United Kingdom for the first of his two visits. He was 66 years old. He wasted no time in taking His Father Bahá'u'lláh's message of peace and religious renewal to western societies. His visits were crucial in the establishment of the Bahá'í Faith in the UK. In London, 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave public lectures at City Temple, St John the Divine in Smith Square, and elsewhere. At City Temple, he said that, “The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion.” At St John, the translation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's remarks was read by the Archdeacon of Westminster, Albert Wilberforce.
There are many stories of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's activities in Britain. His acts of charity at homeless shelters and for the poor; His audiences for hundreds of well-wishers and questioners; His constant emphasis on political reconciliation in the pre-war period; His call for racial harmony and an end to prejudice; all of these episodes set for Bahá'ís an enduring example of a life dedicated to the service of humanity.
In response to such services of Abdul Baha, The British Government honored Abdul Baha with a Knighthood, which he accepted as a gesture of honoring formally by a just king.
Abdul Baha wrote a letter of gratitude “O God, the tabernacle of justice has truly been erected on this holy land, and we thank and praise Thee. O God, may Emperor George V, Ruler of Britain, be assisted in his divine achievements, and May his shadow over this realm be everlasting.”
Abdu'l-Bahá's visits were seen by Bahá'ís as a blessing, as inspiring today as they were a century ago. In celebration of His visits, Bahá'ís in the UK are rededicating themselves to the service of others.
Patrick, despite such a glorious background of the Bahá'í Faith in the UK and a massive investment of resources over the years in form of planning of Bahá'í administration for implementation of MASS TEACHINGS and RUHI BOOK curriculum, the Bahá'ís and the Bahá'í Faith has failed to gain acceptance in the British Society.
The programme of Moral classes for children and spiritualizing the Jr. Youth and thereby attracting the parents of these children and youths has failed miserably. The official census of UK of 2011 states that there are only 5021 Bahá'ís. The figure is not subject to inaccuracies as can be expected in some other countries, as publishing false census is a punishable offence strictly enforced in the country. Why is then, that Bahá'ís of UK keep claiming since 2004 that there are 34,000 Bahá'ís in UK? Is it not deceiving people and going against the laws of the country? Have we in an endeavor to advertise our success forgotten the very principles of the Master? Would the Master endorse this, if he were alive?
The figures clearly speak that despite the impetus provided by the Master, we have not able to sustain it. Rather we have regressed. Rastafarianism another religious cult, whose founder died in 1974, is better accepted in British society as they have more followers then Bahá'ís .They have 7,906 adherents, more than the Baha'i Faith.
The stock of Bahá'ís that we have today are involved in lip service. They are more conscious of their appearance and popularity than the interest of the Bahá'í Faith. They would spend hours pondering on how to impress a member of UHJ and rise up the ranks, than dedicate time in sincerely spreading the Faith. Our gatherings are so filled with gossips and envy that qualities like sincerity are being viewed as outdated. Our administrators talk of implementation of management principles to demonstrate their corporate status rather than service to Faith. Even our website, instead of conveying local news, situation and priorities focuses on anti-Iran propaganda. It says almost nothing about Bahá'ís of UK and almost everything about Bahá'ís of Iran. Mr. Kishan Manocha has no time to think about the status of Bahá'ís in UK, as he is preoccupied with writing open letters to Iranian authorities and visiting different countries on pretext of activating the External Affairs Committee of that country.
Patrick, the faith is passing through a dominating Persian influence, which tends to typically cover hard realities with appealing formalities and diverting issues. The Persians are so obsessed with their country and culture that any other thing, including the Bahá'í Faith is secondary.
Patrick, the British culture is different. If we have to see results, the Persian influence in thoughts, words and deeds needs to go. We are used to seeing those in authority admitting lapses and foregoing positions, conscious of their role, than divert issues and use public relation skills to continue gaining prominence. Lets push the Persian influence off the British Bahá'í ship.
A Concerned Bahá'í