Troubling time

PHOTO Renugaa Cabot, left, and Pegah Vahdati, staff members at Green Acre Baha'i School in Eliot, Maine, stand near a poster of the Shrine of the Bab, which is located at the Baha'i World Center in Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel.
Photo by Rich Beauchesne

ELIOT, Maine -- The 5 million followers of the Baha'i faith worldwide come from more than 2,000 different tribal, racial and ethnic groups in 235 countries. They are united in the belief that all people, no matter their religion, race or social status, are part of one human body.

So when guerrilla rockets struck Haifa, Israel -- home of the Baha'i World Center and a city known for its peaceful co-existence of different religious and ethnic groups -- on Sunday, killing eight, the effects were far-reaching.

"We pray for the protection and safety of all the inhabitants and the employees of our world center that are there," said Jim Sacco, co-administrator at Green Acre Baha'i School on Main Street, one of three national training centers that hosts Baha'i and prospective Baha'i from throughout the world. "Were concerned for the people of Haifa, but provisions are made for people to go to bomb shelter in the area so there is certain comfort in that."

One of the school's students, Mary Lincoln of Portsmouth, was particularly frightened once news of the attacks reached the U.S. Her son, Albert, and his wife Joany live in Haifa and hold prominent positions in the Baha'i community. She said she talked to Joany the day of the bombings, but Albert was in Lithuania on business.

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