Kalimat Press is an independent Baha’i publishing house and has been supporting authors by helping them get their works published for more than twenty years. As you may have heard, it has just been muzzled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, which has asked US Baha’i organisations to stop carrying Kalimat Press books. If this is news to you, I suggest you read Karen Bacquet’s recent blog entry on the subject.
There are two categories of book that Kalimat Press handles. The ones it publishes, and the ones it doesn’t publish:
- The books published by Kalimat Press all go through Baha’i review
- The books that Kalimat handles, but doesn’t publish, are all exempt from review.
So Kalimat Press has done nothing wrong, and the US NSA certainly doesn’t need to ban all Kalimat’s output (if that’s what, “all national and local Baha’i agencies [are to] cease to distribute books and other items marketed by this publisher” means). After all, if any of the books that Kalimat actually publishes “contain matter inimical to the best interests of our Faith” then the US NSA needs to go after its own Office of Research and Review for failing to “ensure that basic standards of accuracy, dignity, and timeliness are met in the presentation of the Baha’i Faith to the public”. It’s the body that reviewed and passed the manuscripts that Kalimat published.
And if any of the books that Kalimat handles, but doesn’t publish, are a problem, the US NSA could ask Kalimat to cease marketing anything other than those it publishes, or it could ask assemblies to stop distributing books from Kalimat other than those Kalimat publishes.
On the face of it, The US NSA’s decision is arbitrary and intended as a punishment. What’s more, the US NSA may have informed the US Baha’i community about Kalimat, through The American Baha’i, Online Edition, even before Tony heard the news. Its terse letter to him was dated 29 December 2005.
Also, for comparison, check out Karen Bacquet’s blog entry on what happened recently to the guy who revived the children’s magazine Varqa.