Is There a Netiquette for Baha’is?

Netiquette is a popular term used to describe guidelines for polite and courteous online dialogue. While there is no prescriptive “Baha’i Netiquette,” there are spiritual principles found in the Writings of Baha’u’llah that we might apply to interactions online. After much personal reflection, we’ve decided to provide our thoughts and observations on this topic, as well as some of our favourite quotes. We hope that it will contribute to an ongoing conversation.

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A New Era Begins: Reflections on the Declaration of the Bab

The Baha’i Era began 174 years ago, in 1844 CE, when the Bab announced His mission to a young Shaykhi named Mulla Husayn. How exhilarating it must have been to live during a new revelation—to have been a devotee of Buddha, an apostle of Jesus, a disciple of Muhammad, a first believer in any of the Manifestations of God, attuned to the flood of spiritual power that each divine dispensation initiated!

This year, as Baha’is prepare to mark the anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab, we have new access to Baha’u’llah’s Writings on the exhilaration of the new era. In January, Days of Remembrance, translations of Baha’u’llah’s Writings on the Holy Days, was published. The compilation’s preface notes that the Declaration of the Bab and Ridvan were ordained by Baha’u’llah as the two Most Great Festivals.  Continue reading

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 17: Mary & Clark

Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I’m in Toronto, Canada interviewing husband and wife Mary Darling and Clark Donnelly. Besides having more kids than I can ever keep track of, they have their own media company called WestWind Pictures, which aims to promote themes of beauty and unity. Among many other things, they are known for their popular TV comedy series called Little Mosque on the Prairie, and I ask them how the series started and what sort of impact the show has had. They share the challenges of working on a comedy that deals with things that are sacred, and how they bring Baha’i principles into the creative process. We discuss the importance of consultation, what it’s like working as a husband and wife team, the role of a producer, and how they each became Baha’is. They also share what books they’re reading, what they personally strive to be better at, and their favorite Baha’i Writings. Continue reading

“The Baha’is” – A Documentary by Mary Darling & Clark Donnelly

The Baha’is is a stunning introductory documentary about the Baha’i Faith produced by Canadian couple Mary Darling and Clark Donnelly. Known for their popular sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie, Mary and Clark are the brains and heart behind Westwind Pictures, an independent production and distribution company with an emphasis on works that promote beauty and unity.

Originally aired in Canada on Vision TV, The Baha’is is now available for purchase from 9StarMedia and it’s an excellent way to explain some of the fundamental principles, the history, and the current activities of the Baha’i Faith.

Mary and Clark are really such a power-house of a couple and truly a joy to be around! They’ve also really been an inspiration for me personally when it comes to exploring the use of various forms of media and how they relate to the Baha’i Faith and its Teachings. I was able to spend a lot of time with them while on a recent trip to Toronto, Canada, and they agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog about this film.  Continue reading

Not Another Year – #‎ReleaseBahai7Now‬ – Glimpses of the Global Campaign

Baha’is around the world have joined the global “Not Another Year” campaign calling for the release of the seven Baha’i leaders imprisoned in Iran for nothing more than being a Baha’i.

We decided to share just a few examples of some of the many actions taken by Baha’is globally in an effort to bring awareness to their wrongful imprisonment.  Continue reading

Help Support Documentary about Afro-Iranian Musician Shanbezadeh

I am so excited to let everyone know about a new upcoming documentary being directed by Flavio Azm Rassekh, a Brazilian-Iranian Filmmaker. The documentary is about Afro-Iranian musician Saeid Shanbehzadeh, and through Shanbehzadeh’s experience as an Afro-Iranian, plus his friendship with Flavio, the film not only explores the connection between Afro-Iranian and Afro-Brazilian culture, but it also describes Shanbehzadeh’s first encounters with the Baha’i community, and demonstrates how over the years, like the population of Iran, his views on the Baha’is have changed. This story is a metaphor for the Iranian people’s re-discovery of the legacy and potential impact of the Baha’i Faith, and it deals with issues of prejudice and self-reflection. Continue reading

“Not Another Year!” – Help Release the 7 Baha’i Leaders Now

It is impossible for me to imagine what it would feel like to be wrongfully imprisoned for nine years. Nine years is such a long time. In that time period, all of my nephews and nieces have been born, friends and family members have passed away, and loved ones have achieved major milestones like completing their educations, winning artistic prizes, and changing careers. Nine years is a long time to miss out on a life that is rightfully yours. Nine years is a long time not to be able to hold a newly-born loved one in your arms, to offer a shoulder of strength during a time of grief, or to watch a child blow out their birthday cake candles.

It is with heavy hearts that on May 14, we mark the 9th anniversary of the wrongful arrest and imprisonment of the seven Baha’i leaders of Iran (known as the Yaran, which means “the Friends”). These seven Baha’is made up the entire membership of the now-disbanded ad hoc group tending to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community (in the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership which was banned in 1983), and they were arrested and have been imprisoned since 2008 for nothing more than being Baha’is. Currently, about 90 Baha’is are also imprisoned for their beliefs.

We all can lend a voice in helping to end this injustice and to bring attention to the plight of the Baha’is in Iran and those who suffer human rights violations. In observance of the ninth anniversary of the Baha’i leaders’ incarceration, the Baha’i International Community is launching a global campaign in which we can all participate.  Continue reading

7 Valleys: An Album by Paloma Marin

Paloma Marin is a pianist, visual artist, and jeweler based out of Bogota, Colombia, and she’s recently released a beautiful instrumental piano album called 7 Valleys, which is inspired by Baha’u’llah’s mystic and poetic work, The Seven Valleys.

The sound engineer and producer of the album Daniel Badi Rinaldi, told me that when recording the album, they made sure the whole process was a spiritual one. Before recording, they both read all of The Seven Valleys.

I caught up with both Paloma Marin to find out more about her new album 7 Valleys: Continue reading

Feeling Boundless Love for Others

Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, color or shade of political opinion.

– Abdu’l-Baha

The security of people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent living in the United States seems to be on thin ice: bearing brown skin and a “foreign” name are dangerous liabilities. Evidence comes in recent hate crimes like February’s Kansas killing. Engineers Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were attacked by a man who told them to “get out of my country.” Kuchibhotla died. The attacker later disclosed that he thought his victims, who were natives of India, were Iranian. In March, Hasel Afshar returned to his Oregon town from vacation to discover his home ransacked and hateful messages coating the walls of his house. The messages indicated that the attackers believed Afshar to be Muslim. He is actually a Baha’i refugee from Iran. Persecuted for his faith in his homeland—attacked for his foreignness in his refuge.  Continue reading

Jena Khadem Khodadad’s ‘The Dynamics of Growth’

A unique Baha’i book is now available! It’s called The Dynamics of Growth: Scientific Principles at Work in the Worldwide Advancement of the Baha’i Faith. This study, written by Jena Khadem Khodadad, offers a novel perspective: it looks at growth in the Baha’i community using scientific principles. It is a book that marries, in its very content, science and religion.

A book like this does not come along every day, so I was very curious to find out more. Thankfully, Jena Khadem Khodadad kindly agreed to be interviewed. Here’s what she shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Jena, for chatting with us! To begin, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your work as a scientist?

My doctoral degree is in biological sciences (cell and molecular biology) from Northwestern University. My academic career as faculty of Rush (Chicago) medical college has centered on teaching cell biology and neuroscience to medical and graduate students and research on the molecular structure and properties of biological membranes. I have presented the results of my research at national and international scientific forums and published in scientific journals. A diversity of other areas of study interest me, among them: religion and spirituality, neuroscience of consciousness, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion, and interfaith understanding.

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