Members Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani perfecting an illuminated work of calligraphy. The words used in this piece are from the writings of Baha’u’llah.
New York, 7 April 2014 (BWNS)

In a symbolic and unprecedented move, Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a prominent Muslim cleric in Iran announced today that he has gifted to the Baha’is of the world an illuminated work of calligraphy of a paragraph from the writings of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith.

This move comes in the wake of several recent statements by religious scholars in the Muslim world who have set out alternative interpretations of the teachings of Islam in which tolerance of every religion is, in fact, upheld by the holy Qur’an.

Jean-Baptiste Louis Bourgeois. Photo: Courtesy of the Baha’is of the United States
Montréal, Quebec, 7 April 2014 (CBNS)

Louis Bourgeois designed the first Baha’i House of Worship in the West, located on the shores of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago. It is now one of the protected historical sites in the United States, a building of extraordinary beauty and fascinating detail.

Members of the Baha'i Community of Canada Sama Imamverdi, Allison Healy, Leva Ikhbali, beside art depicting the residential school experience, by Mel Dacheagea, Doig River First Nation. © Pat Verge
Edmonton, Alberta, 1 April 2014 (CBNS)

Baha’is from Alberta and elsewhere joined their Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal neighbours in Edmonton March 27–30 for the final national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). They attended the event to listen, learn, bear witness, show solidarity, and reflect on ways to contribute to reconciliation.

Dr. Ross Woodman. © Baha'i Community of Canada
London, Ontario, 27 March 2014 (CBNS)

Ross Woodman, Professor Emeritus at Western University in London, Ontario, passed away this week at the age of 91. He was a member of the first National Spiritual Assembly, the governing council of the Baha’i Community of Canada, elected in 1948.

Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré.
Geneva, 22 March 2014 (BWNS)

Overall, human rights in Iran have not improved substantially since the election of President Hassan Rouhani last year, despite his promises to grant citizens more rights and to end discriminatory practices, according to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s expert on the issue.

Dakhká Kwaán Dancers at Naw-Ruz celebration in Whitehorse, Yukon. © Tyrone Larkin
Montréal, Quebec, 20 March 2014 (CBNS)

The first day of spring — 21 March — marks the beginning of the New Year for Baha’is all around the world. This occasion, also called Naw-Ruz, symbolizes the renewal brought by all the great religions throughout the ages.

Naw-Ruz is the first day of the Baha’i calendar, which is divided into nineteen months of nineteen days. The New Year also coincides with the end of the Baha’i fast, which is observed during the last month of the year.

George Spendlove. © Baha'i Community of Canada
Toronto, Ontario, 10 March 2014 (CBNS)

George Spendlove was born in Montréal on 23 April 1897. Educated privately by tutors, he showed particular interest in art history. At the age of 19, he enlisted in the military during World War I and served in Europe, suffering a severe concussion that injured the nerves in his ears, leaving him with a hearing impairment that was to plague him the rest of his life. In 1919, he returned to Montréal but was unable to work for two years. It was during the latter part of this period that he read a book on comparative religion and became interested in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith.

Storytelling performance participants. © Sheila Flood
Victoria, British Columbia, 7 March 2014 (CBNS)

In late February, the Victoria, British Columbia, Baha’i community, along with other local faith groups, participated in a storytelling performance and workshop organized by the Inter-Cultural Association of Victoria (ICA).

© Baha'i Community of Canada/Photo: Ryan Lash
Toronto, Ontario, 28 February 2014 (CBNS)

“Fasting is the cause of awakening man. The heart becomes tender and the spirituality of man increases. This is produced by the fact that man's thoughts will be confined to the commemoration of God, and through this awakening and stimulation surely ideal advancements follow...”

Toronto, Ontario, 24 February 2014 (CBNS)

From sunset February 25th to sunset March 1st, Baha’is across Canada and around the world will celebrate the festival of Intercalary Days, marking a special occasion that often includes gatherings with family and friends, helping those in need through acts of charity, and spreading joy by giving gifts. These days are celebratory and are typically focused on hospitality and generosity, and Baha’is in neighbourhoods all across the country will be opening their homes for fellowship and holding joyous events.