Apr 12, 2019, 20:09 IST

‘We need to address religious prejudice’

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As individuals, Baha’is strive daily to live according to the teachings and to embody and express the principles of the faith in action. Baha’is are taught from the earliest age about the common foundation of all world religions; to accept and love the founders of all of them as their own, and to embrace those of all religions with friendliness and fellowship.

In the affairs of the Baha’i community, Baha’is are learning to transcend traditional barriers that divide people in wider society and exacerbate tensions among people from different religious backgrounds. Baha’i writings say that ‘every organised community enlisted under the banner of Baha’u’llah should be its first and inescapable obligation to nurture, encourage, and safeguard every minority belonging to any faith, race, class, or nation within it.’

The practice of Baha’i elections is symbolic of this commitment to encouraging minorities — when a tie vote arises and one of those involved belongs to a minority group in that society, that person is unhesitatingly accorded the priority without the necessity of another vote to break the tie.

Furthermore, Baha’is are engaged in cities and villages across the globe in establishing a pattern of life in which increasing numbers, irrespective of background, are invited to take part.

This pattern, expressive of the dynamic coherence between the material and spiritual dimensions of life, includes classes for the spiritual education of children in which they also develop a deep appreciation for the fundamental unity of various world religions. It includes groups that assist young people to navigate a crucial stage of their lives and to withstand the corrosive forces that especially target them.Also circles of study wherein participants reflect on the spiritual nature of existence and build capacity for service to the community and society; gatherings for collective worship that strengthen the devotional character of the community; and, in time, a growing range of endeavours for social and economic development.

This pattern of community life is giving rise to vibrant and purposeful new communities wherein relationships are founded on the oneness of mankind, universal participation, justice, and freedom from prejudice. All are welcome. The process seeks to foster collaboration and build capacity within every human group, and contribute to the advancement of civilisation.

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