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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

Azadeh & Mark Perry’s Book ‘Our Friend Mona’

Our Friend Mona is a new biography about Mona Mahmudnizhad, an Iranian teenager who was killed 35 years ago because of her beliefs, such as the universal spiritual education of children.

Mona was a remarkable young woman, known for her love of children, her dedication and devotion to the principles of the Baha’i Faith, her courage, and her sweet voice. She was arrested and eventually executed along with nine other Baha’i women in Shiraz; they were forced to watch each other hang in a final attempt to persuade them to recant their Faith. Mona, the youngest of the women at only 16 years old, asked to go last. She was killed on June 18, 1983.

Azadeh Rohanian Perry knew Mona and Our Friend Mona is a biography of this radiant lion-hearted young woman. Co-written with her husband, Mark Perry, Our Friend Mona shares poignant details of Mona’s story that you may never have read before. I remember watching Doug Cameron’s music video Mona With the Children when I was a child, and her story is etched on my heart. I am so thankful to Azadeh (or Azi, as she is affectionately known) and Mark to creating this book and for taking the time to tell us a little bit about it:

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The Unquenchable Flame: A Musical Drama About Tahirih

The Unquenchable Flame is a musical drama composed by Russell and Gina Garcia and performed principally by Tierney Sutton, a masterful vocalist. It tells the story of Tahirih, heroine and 19th century Iranian emancipator of women’s rights (you can read more about her in this Baha’i Blog article).

Composed and recorded in the 1990’s, this incredible contemporary opera was never released until recently when Gina, and her granddaughter Kristy Corwin, fulfilled Russ’ dying wish that this score be made available to the world. In this interview, Kristy tells us a bit more about this musical drama, its composers, and its exciting release: Continue reading

Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani: With Newly Translated Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha

A literary gem has just been released: it is brilliant not only because it tells the life story of an incredible person and is written by an incredible person, but, most significantly, it includes newly translated tablets of Abdu’l-Baha. Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani: With Newly Translated Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha is a loving tribute by Mr. Ali Nakhjavani about his illustrious father who translated many Baha’i tablets and letters into Russian. Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani also had the great honor of traveling with Abdu’l-Baha as part of His entourage on His journey through North America in 1912. Abdu’l-Baha’s fondness for this young man is evident not only in the details of their interactions but in the many tablets that the Master addressed to him.

Mr. Ali Nakhjavani is also distinguished in the services he has rendered the Baha’i Faith over the years: Mr. Ali Nakhjavani has served on the Universal House of Justice, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Central and East Africa, as an Auxiliary Board member, and in the 1950’s, as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran.

Mr. Ali Nakhjavani shared some precious words with us about his new book. To say that we are deeply honoured and immensely grateful for this would be the understatement of the year. We hope you cherish this interview as much as we do:  Continue reading

Freeing Ourselves From the Stain of Racism | Masud Olufani

In this talk, produced by Bahaiteachings.org, race and culture activist Masud Olufani describes the first time a little white boy named Bobby called him the n-word. Racist words, Masud learned, are laced with a potent toxicity, some of which can last a lifetime. “The rust on the blade,” he says, “lingers long after the knife has been drawn from the wound.” In this compelling video, Masud tells the story of his growing consciousness as a Baha’i of the essential oneness of humanity.  Continue reading

Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World: Collection 8

“Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World” is a Baha’i Blog initiative in honor of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith. 

In this initiative, we share portraits of Baha’is and their friends from different countries and territories all over the world, and accompanying their photographs are a few of their words about what the Baha’i Faith means to them or how it has touched their lives. 

We will be publishing one “personal reflection” per day, so be sure to stay updated by following the “Personal Reflections” social media pages Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also visit the website dedicated to this project: personalreflections.bahaiblog.net

As this year celebrates 200 years since the Birth of Baha’u’llah, we’ve decided to capture at least 200 of these portraits and reflections. Our hope is that by sharing these pictures and excerpts, we will answer the call from the Universal House of Justice to communicate “a sense of what it means for humanity that these two Luminaries [the Bab and Baha’u’llah] rose successively above the horizon of the world.” (from a letter dated 18 May 2016 to all National Spiritual Assemblies)

Here is the eighth collection of images, and we hope you find this project as inspirational as we do!  Continue reading

“Nimesi on parannukseni (Thy Name Is My Healing)” by Mitra Matouf

Baha’i Blog’s “Studio Sessions” is an initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends from around the world to come into a studio and share the Baha’i Writings put to music.

In this Baha’i Blog Studio Session, we’re in Helsinki, Finland with Mitra Matouf who sings “Nimesi on parannukseni” from the Writings of Baha’u’llah. Continue reading

“Nimesi on parannukseni (Thy Name Is My Healing)” by Mitra Matouf [Audio Track]

Baha’i Blog’s “Studio Sessions” is an initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends from around the world to come into a studio and share the Baha’i Writings put to music.

In this Baha’i Blog Studio Session, we’re in Helsinki, Finland with Mitra Matouf who sings “Nimesi on parannukseni” from the Writings of Baha’u’llah. Continue reading

New Compilation About Baha’i Temples: The Institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar

In its 2018 Ridvan message to the Baha’is of the world, the Universal House of Justice referred to a new compilation dedicated to the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar. The Universal House of Justice said:

… we have every expectation that the recently released statement and compilation about the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, prepared by our Research Department, will further stimulate the friends’ appreciation of the significance of worship in community life. For in their acts of service, especially in their regular devotional gatherings, Baha’is everywhere are laying the spiritual foundations of future Houses of Worship.

The term “Mashriqu’l-Adhkar” means “Dawning place of the praise of God”. The term is used primarily to refer to a Baha’i House of Worship, or Temple, and its surrounding dependencies.

The compilation was put together by the Research Department at the Baha’i World Centre and it includes a statement, as well as quotations from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi and excerpts from letters written by the Universal House of Justice.

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EMTV News: Papua New Guinea’s 50th National Convention

Papua New Guinea’s national news station, EMTV, featured a story about this year’s 50th National Convention. They shared how it was opened by the Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, how a model of the soon-to-be built House of Worship was unveiled, and they described the community building initiatives underway that are open to everyone to participate in.  Continue reading