Bahá’ís in Ireland and the ‘Education is Not a Crime’ campaign

bahai starThere’s something beautiful about the Bahá’í beliefs. In a world where identity is too often made up of simple dualistic divisions that result in lots of usses and thems, here is a group which considers humanity as one. Even boundaries between religions are transcended, in a sense, by their belief in one Source, or god, and one religion but many messengers. In addition to all of this, there’s the bonus name of one of the founding guys – the Báb.

In terms of age, the Bahá’í faith is in its infancy compared to most of the major world religions. The story of its beginnings can be traced to this guy who came to be called the Báb who was born in 1819 in Persia to a Shiah Muslim family. The Báb foretold the coming of a messenger from god. His teachings were seen as threatening to Islam and he was eventually executed in 1850. Persecution of Bahá’ís continues in Iran to this day.

A little more history bit of the beginnings for those who are interested… Shortly after the death of the Báb, a guy who called himself Bahá’u’lláh claimed to be the messenger predicted by the Báb and his followers became known as Bahá’ís. Bahá’u’lláh wrote lots of texts and after he died, his son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became the next leader and he was followed by his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, who died in 1957. Since 1963 the ‘Universal House of Justice’, a group of elected Bahá’ís, provides leadership to the fast-growing worldwide community.

In Ireland there is a significant Bahá’í community with Bahá’ís living today in most major towns and cities across the country. The website of the Irish Bahá’ís features a ‘quote of the day’ and just so you have a flavour of it, today’s quote (25th February 2015) is: The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion.~Abdu’l-Bahá.

During February and March 2015 Bahá’ís all over Ireland are trying to highlight the cause of Bahá’ís in Iran who are legally excluded from pursuing third-level education. The campaign is part of an international human rights movement called ‘Education is Not A Crime’. As part of this movement a documentary by Maziar Bahari called ‘To Light A Candle’ is being screen at various venues across the country. The full list of events is included below. The screening and campaign also gives me an excuse to upload a copy of a radio documentary-short which I made circa 2005 about the Bahá’í community in Waterford.

The full list of screening events is here:

UCD Cinema, UCD – Thursday, February 26th, 6.00p.m.

Cork – Rochestown Park Hotel – Friday, February 27th, 7.45p.m.

Dublin – Global Room, Trinity College -Friday, February 27th, 5.00p.m.

Ennis – The Civic Rooms, Drumbiggle – Friday, February 27th, 7.30p.m.

Galway – Salthill Hotel – Friday, February 27th, 7.30p.m.

Kilkenny – Butler House – Friday, February 27th, 7.30p.m.

Limerick – City Library, The Granary – Friday, February 27th, 7.30p.m.

Waterford – Dooley’s Hotel, The Quays – Friday, February 27th, 7.30p.m.

Letterkenny – Regional Cultural Centre – Saturday, February 28th, 8.00p.m.

Wexford –  The Irish National Heritage Park, Ferrycarrig – Sunday, March 1st 3-5pm (film starting at 3.20p.m.)

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