Re: Chicago Tribune Article

The response by members of the Wilmette Bahai denomination here to this article by The Chicago Tribune ought to give any thoughtful person reason for pause and reflection. Below are a few excerpts for historical context.

Many of the comments demonstrate the truth of what Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan observed way back in 1998 in his book Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha’i Faith in the Nineteenth-Century Middle East, Columbia University Press, writing that the Baha’i administration has increasingly come under the control of fundamentalists, “stressing scriptural literalism … theocracy, censorship, intellectual intolerance, and denying key democratic values” (196).

Similarly he wrote online in 1998,“The very technique of the more glaze-eyed among these people is to unbearably bully a Baha’i whom they don’t like, use unjustified threats of declaring him or her a CB [Covenant Breaker (heretic)] to silence the individual, and if the person will not be silenced, then to depend upon the gullibility of the Baha’is in refusing to listen to any victim’s story because, of course, the Baha’i institutions are infallible and divinely guided and could never do anything wrong. It is a perfect racket.”

Professor Juan Cole, in February 23, 1999:
“There is nothing to be puzzled by. Right wing Baha’is only like to hear the sound of their own voices (which are the only voices they will admit to being “Baha’i” at all). Obviously, the world is so constructed that they cannot in fact only hear their own voices. They are forced to hear other
voices that differ from theirs. This most disturbs them when the voices come from enrolled Baha’is or when the voices speak of the Baha’i faith. The way they sometimes deal with the enrolled Baha’is is to summon them to a heresy inquiry and threaten them with being shunned if they do not fall silent. With non-Baha’is or with ex-Baha’is, they deal with their speech about the faith by backbiting, slandering and libelling the speaker. You will note that since I’ve been on this list I have been accused of long-term heresy, of “claiming authority,” of out and out lying
(though that was retracted, twice), of misrepresentation, of ‘playing fast and loose with the facts,’ and even of being ‘delusional.’ I have been accused of all these falsehoods by *Baha’is*, by prominent Baha’is. I have been backbitten by them. This shows that all the talk about the
danger a sharp tongue can do, all the talk about the need for harmony, for returning poison with honey, for a sin-covering eye, is just *talk* among right wing Baha’is. No one fights dirtier than they when they discover a voice they cannot silence and cannot refute.

I suggest recalling the words of Judge Diane S. Sykes, to the lawyer for the Wilmette Baha’is in their attempt to deprive other Bahai denominations of essentially their religious freedom and liberty, quote, “Clearly raises some Constitutional concerns.” Again, the 3-minute Mp3 file of her actually making this statement in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals may be found at…

It’s long past time that the people of Chicago and the United States should know the Wilmette Baha’is for the fanatical and oppressive organization it actually is. The Chicago Tribune is to be applauded for allowing its readers to decide for themselves.

The Reform Bahai Faith

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