Community and administration

Entries about Baha'i community life, about Baha'i administration, and about how the two intersect.

Elections in Baha'u'llah's World Order

One of the friends asked three questions:

  1. After the World Order of Baha’u'llah is established and the World’s legislative & executive branches of government are arms or derivatory institutions of the Universal House of Justice (which appears to be the case from my readings) will non-Baha’is have the opportunity to vote for the National Assemblies that elect the House of Justice? Alternatively, can/will the Universal House of Justice be elected in some other way?
  2. Will the World Legislature and/or Executive be elected or appointed by the Universal House of Justice? Alternatively, is the Universal House of Justice to become the World Executive? If elected, will only Baha’is have the right to vote?

What may happen in the future is in the hands of God. We cannot foresee it, but we can understand the principles involved in Baha’u'llah, Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi’s vision of the future. In various places in the Bahai Writings we find details on the election of the Tribunal, the House of Justice and the Legislature.

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Baha'is on Both Sides of Docket: US & Egypt

The Baha’i community is receiving some good news from Egypt. In case you’re not familiar with the situation there, it involves the right of Egyptian Baha’is to have government issued ID cards. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

According to the Muslim Network for Baha’i Rights, there ruling will probably come in a few days and it will most probably be favorable for the Baha’is. I hope it will put an end to this and the Egyptian Baha’is can live in peace.

Meanwhile, over in the US the Baha’is are also involved in a court case but they are acting as the plaintiffs rather than defendants. The case involves the Orthodox Baha’is and their use of Baha’i names, symbols and trademarks. You can read about it to get some background information. The US NSA was trying to enforce a crazy 1966 ruling against Mason Remey and his organization for infringing on Baha’i copyright.

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So, how many Baha'is are there in India?

An image from the New Delhi Regional Conference

Good news! You have a wide choice.

You could go to the official Indian Baha'i website and be told:

We are the Bahá'ís of India - members of the largest Bahá'í Community of the world, numbering some 2.2 Million.
The Baha'is of India

Or you could check out a copy of the community's 2006-2007 annual report and see that that the total number of Baha'i adults, youth and children was 86,612.

There is one very odd thing about the detailed population data on page 55. Many of the rows and columns simply don't add up. Perhaps that page has errors in it, or perhaps it's been tampered with. I guess it means that the 86,612 figure is suspect. Decide for yourself.

There is a third source for figures on the Baha'i population of India. The 1991 Indian census  (the most recent for which data at this level of detail is available) puts the Baha'i population at 5,575.

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Little Known Facts: The Supreme Institution?

It has been a while since we cracked open a case of “Little Known Facts…” but don’t worry, this is a fresh batch.

If you are a Baha’i or have spent enough time around some recently, you may have heard the expression: “the Supreme body” or “the Supreme institution” at least a few times.

In current Baha’i vernacular, this refers to the Universal House of Justice. But where did it come from? and is it accurate? any why is it important to wonder about these questions?

During a recent discussion online at Talisman, the oldest continuous online Baha’i forum, the topic turned to the House of Justice and the quandary of how to distinguish if they are legislating or not. Within the discussion, as is now sadly becoming the norm, someone used the expression to refer to the UHJ.

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Interesting Baha'i factoids from the 2006 Census

Mining the 2006 Australian Census for interesting factoids is fun. The ABS have recently put up the CDATA Online facility, which allows you a certain amount of access to data tables you can customise yourself. I am doing the Muslim stuff for my thesis (which is why I’ve been playing around the ABS site all morning) but I thought I’d throw up a few fun Baha’i factoids:

In 2006, there were 12,331 people who voluntarily nominated their religion as Baha’i.  Of these, the two birthplaces with the largest numbers were (predictably) Iran and Australia.

  • 5,649 (46%) were born in Iran
  • 4,097 (33%) were born in Australia

Baha\'i places of birth

When we look at ancestry patterns, we can see the strong Iranian influence in Baha’i community in Australia. On the question of ancestry, it is possible for a person to put down a number of responses, however only the first two responses are coded. Obviously then, there are more ancestry responses than there are people, however it is interesting to note what a large percentage of Australian Baha’is (including those born here) are of Iranian descent, leading to the obvious conclusion that despite years of proselytizing, the Baha’i faith is still largely an Iranian religion in Australia.

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