Race, Immorality and Money in the American Baha’i Community: Impeaching the Los Angeles Spiritual Assembly

By Juan R. I. Cole

This article analyses the dissolution of the Baha’i local assembly of Los Angeles in 1986–88 by the National Assembly. Official explanations for this move focused on lapses in morality and administrative discipline, but local interviewees, as well as some official pronouncements, suggest that the conflict had two roots: the globalisation of the community and resultant ethnic conflict among whites, African–Americans and newly immigrant Iranians; and national/local conflicts over power and money. Low-information elections, the unaccountability of elected officials, censorship and difficulties in acknowledging social conflict were the causes of these episodes in the Baha’i religion.

(C) 2000 Academic Press

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