Abdul Baha: Racist??? Someone explain--IN DETAIL

Dec 2014
44
Chicago
#1
A couple of weeks ago, I came here and inquired about the method of leaving the Baha'i Faith. I mentioned, then, my reasons for leaving, none of which had anything to do with any animosity against The Faith.

But now, I find THIS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zn6ZiyroAg .

I had left The Faith with good feelings, in my heart. But now? I asked a prominent Baha'i about this, who said they'd get back to me. When they did, I asked them had they viewed the ENTIRE video so that they could analyze ALL of the quotes cited by this individual. They had not. They dismissed the video, saying, "Oh, I've heard this stuff before," and attributed the quotes to the "usual ranting" of anti-Baha'i propagandists. I implored them to please look at the ENTIRE video anyway, just for me. They have not gotten back to me in months.

Well, that is not acceptable, especially since the individual did not even view the entire video, which is only 16 minutes and 10 seconds long. No one owes me anything in the form of an explanation, especially since I have already left The Faith.

But, what a shock. So, I ask someone--anyone--to view the ENTIRE video, and, if you can, tell me whether the quotes this man used in that video are true quotes from Abdul Baha'; are false quotes; are true quotes that have been taken out of context, or what. The quotes are so awful that, even if they were taken out of context, they still are abhorrent to the extreme.

If the quotes are true, then, for me, this calls into question the spiritual status of Abdul Baha, and perhaps even Bahaullah and the Bab. No truly spiritual person that God speaks to would EVER say such things, because he would be on a high level, directed by Almighty God.

Not only are the statements wholly racists and evil, but they are also absolutely false, especially if one understands the ENTIRE history of African people, who were described, in the 1700s, in the following manner by the European aristocrat, Count Volney:

"There a people, now forgotten, discovered, while others were yet barbarians, the elements of the arts and sciences. A race of men, now rejected from society for their sable skin and frizzled hair, founded on the study of the laws of nature, those civil and religious systems which still govern the universe." (The Ruins, or, Meditations on the Revolutions of Empire and the Law of Nature, by C.F. Volney, 1789)

How is it possible that an ORDINARY man, and a European at that, acknowledged, openly and easily, the fact that black people, in his opinion, based on his studies, were the originators of arts, sciences, and civilization itself, yet someone who is SUPPOSED to be planted by Almighty God, would believe, and voice, such racist ideas? How is that possible?

I will TRY to be as open-minded about this as possible, though that's going to be VERY difficult if the answers given [I hope someone answers] are not TIGHT and good. I am not owed anything. The basis of the truth of the Baha'i Faith is not to be determined by me, as if I'm some fatwa-wielding mullah. I'm just ASKING, that's all. I have my standards, and I will never veer from them. No excuse for racism, coming from ANYONE, and certainly not from a spiritual person.

You have people like the following who have demonstrated the immense contributions given by black people to world civilization; men who have acknowledged that, yes, black folks had a fall. But these men did their homework, and discovered that black folks had dominated this entire planet at one time, a fact conveniently hidden today, except by some of the British historians of the 1800s, who were surprisingly open in their account of black domination of this world:

Dr. Ivan Van Sertima
Dr. Chancellor Williams
Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop
Dr. J.A. Rogers
Dr. W.E.B. Dubois
Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden
Dr. Asa Hilliard III
Dr. Josef Ben Joachannan,

as well as scholars like David Hatcher Childress and Robert Bauval, both of whom, incidentally, are white.

Now, my point is that, the above-stated men are just academic scholars, THAT'S ALL. How is it possible that an academic scholar, who claims no spiritual authority; no spiritual office; no religious authority; how is it possible that THEY understood the ebb and flow of civilizations, explaining that African people had a fall, but, at one time, had science that, some say, even surpassed anything that exists today; but a spiritual man, Abdul Baha (if the quotes provided in the video are true) could mimic the lies of white racists? This is astonishing.

If the quotes are true, then there is NO excuse whatsoever--none, especially since there are founders of modern-day spiritual and religious movements that were contemporaneous with Baha'i, but those founders, in none of their writings, ever said a single racist thing against African/black people. I'm not guessing. I've read the works of the founders of a few modern-day religious movements. And I've NEVER seen anything like what's talked about in this video.

I am no longer Baha'i, but I've been thinking about writing the UHJ and asking. For the years that I was Baha'i, I never ran across these quotes in Baha'i literature. And if the quotes are true, then it's clear WHY I never ran across them--they were suppressed.

Again, I hope someone can view the ENTIRE video, unlike the Baha'i that I asked to do so. It's very strange. The character of the people of The Faith, as a whole, is spotless, especially when it comes to so-called "race." The demonstration of REAL work, globally, in the area of race is deep.

One might be tempted to dismiss early quotes as "ignorance," and then point to the work of Baha'is TODAY. And perhaps that's legitimate to most people. Not to me. Never.

Please let me know, if you can. Thank you.
 
Oct 2013
1,208
United States
#2
Your link isn't working or showing up. But I can guess it's more hatred from the Shia Muslim individual in Iran who is paid to produce attacks on the Baha'i Faith.

Abdu'l-Baha arranged an interracial marriage between black and white American Baha'is, at a time when segregation was the law of the land in America. He integrated Baha'i meetings at a time when that was considered radical and dangerous. I can't think of any religious leader who did more to fight racial prejudice in America during the early 20th century.

I've read these accusations before, and they are all mistranslations and lies (such as when Abdu'l-Baha wrote stuff like "some men say: the black man is a savage" and it's quoted as Abdu'l-Baha saying "the black man is a savage". Or a translation where Abdu'l-Baha wrote "savages" and it was mistranslated as "African savages".

Like I wrote earlier, this stuff has been fabricated by a person living and working in Iran whose paid job is to attack the Baha'i Faith.

This is Iran, where Baha'is are murdered (including children!) for their beliefs, their graves are desecrated, Baha'is cannot attend university, Baha'i schools are closed, etc.

Sen Mcglinn has made a good analysis of these attacks here:

http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/abdul-baha-africans/
 
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Dec 2014
44
Chicago
#3
Reply to Matthew Light.

I'm not sure why you're saying that the link is not appearing. It's appearing for me, and it's embedded in my post. I will give it to you again, but I will also give you the name of the video at Youtube, just in case the link below doesn't work. Here is the name of the video at Youtube:

The Baha'i Faith & Racism

And here is the direct link again, below, and you can click it and see if it works.

Now, I am surprised at your answer. Rather than go to YouTube, try to find the video, view it, analyze it, and answer, instead you just dismissed it, PRECISELY AS THE OTHER BAHA'I DID, without even viewing it.

You gave some accounts of good things that Abdul Baha did racially, perhaps assuming [??] that I didn't know about those. I did know about that history. IN FACT, the author of the video that I hope you will view COMPLETELY openly gave credit for the anti-racist work of the Baha'i community, and he did so without "blinking an eye."

But the POINT of his video is that the Baha'i faith claims that it does racism has never been a part of its history, and that it is the "only," or "first" religion, in history, for which racism cannot be found, from its very inception. The quotes provided by that gentleman say otherwise.

Each quote is accompanied by a reference to a Baha'i work. You said, without your having even viewed the video, that the quotes are mis-translations. Boy, if so, then that is a big surprise, because some of the quotes are quite lengthy.

Were I interested, it would not be difficult for me to pay a translator to translate the verses--someone who was not Iranian; not Baha'i. I acquired the services of such a person many years ago for a book that i was writing, and he was someone not affiliated with any religion.

So, I am hoping that you, or someone, can offer an explanation, rather than say, "Oh, they're just lying." If you can prove it, that would be good. If not, that's okay too, no problem. I'll just continue to do my own research when I can find time.

Here's the direct link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zn6ZiyroAg
 
Dec 2014
44
Chicago
#4
Incidentally, I will look at the Sen Mcglinn link that you sent me. I will also, as I said before (when I can find time) acquire the services of a professional, unbiased translator--or maybe a couple of them, to reduce the chances of bias, as well as the chances of mis-translations. That, I promise you, I will definitely do, when time allows.

But, like most lazy people (and I'm lazy!), I was just hoping that I could possibly avoid that. But now that I think about it, if I REALLY want to know the truth about this, I actually have no choice but to hire the services of an un-biased, professional translator. Because, if I don't do that, my OWN biases might prevent me from accepting explanations coming from Baha'is, I admit. So, this will be an ongoing project.

Still curious, though, to know what people here think of that video. Thanks for your reply
 
Nov 2012
949
Florida
#5
The character of the people of The Faith, as a whole, is spotless, especially when it comes to so-called "race." The demonstration of REAL work, globally, in the area of race is deep.
And that is especially true of Abdu'l-Baha, who as Matthew pointed out, did monumental work for improving race relations. His deeds exceeded his words; while some were 'talking' he was 'doing'.


Here is a portion of a talk by Abdu'l-Baha in 1912:

"God maketh no distinction between the white and the black. If the hearts are pure both are acceptable unto Him. God is no respecter of persons on account of either color or race. All colors are acceptable to Him, be they white, black, or yellow. Inasmuch as all were created in the image of God, we must bring ourselves to realize that all embody divine possibilities. If you go into a garden and find all the flowers alike in form, species and color, the effect is wearisome to the eye. The garden is more beautiful when the flowers are many-colored and different; the variety lends charm and adornment. In a flock of doves some are white, some black, red, blue; yet they make no distinction among themselves. All are doves no matter what the color."

"This variety in forms and colorings which is manifest in all the kingdoms is according to creative wisdom and has a divine purpose. Nevertheless, whether the creatures be all alike or all different should not be the cause of strife and quarreling among them. Especially why should man find cause for discord in the color or race of his fellow creature? No educated or illumined mind will allow that this differentiation and discord should exist or that there is any ground for it. Therefore, the whites should be just and kind to the blacks, who in turn should reflect an equal measure of appreciation and gratitude. Then will the world become as one great garden of flowering humanity, variegated and multicolored, rivaling each other only in the virtues and graces which are spiritual." --Abdu'l-Baha, Talk at 227 Riverside Drive, New York City, May 11, 1912

That sure doesn't sound 'racist' to me.

The makers of that video have a severe axe to grind, and they grind it with glee. They start from the position that 'the Baha'i Faith is false', and then proceed from there. If they insist on playing in the shallow end of the pool, so be it. Abdu'l-Baha predicted their like, and even said we should welcome it:

"But after I leave, some people may arise in opposition, heaping persecutions upon you in their bitterness, and in the newspapers there may be articles published against the Cause. Rest ye in the assurance of firmness. Be well poised and serene, remembering that this is only as the harmless twittering of sparrows and that it will soon pass away. If such things do not happen, the fame of the Cause will not become widespread, and the summons of God will not be heard."...

"Therefore, my purpose is to warn and strengthen you against accusations, criticisms, revilings and derision in newspaper articles or other publications. Be not disturbed by them. They are the very confirmation of the Cause, the very source of upbuilding to the Movement. May God confirm the day when a score of ministers of the churches may arise and with bared heads cry at the top of their voices that the Bahá’ís are misguided. I would like to see that day, for that is the time when the Cause of God will spread. Bahá’u’lláh has pronounced such as these the couriers of the Cause. They will proclaim from pulpits that the Bahá’ís are fools, that they are a wicked and unrighteous people, but be ye steadfast and unwavering in the Cause of God. They will spread the message of Bahá’u’lláh." --Abdu'l-Baha, Talk at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC, November 10, 1912
 
Dec 2014
44
Chicago
#6
Josh, your post does not address the issue. You gave me quotes that I, as an ex-Baha'i, have already seen. Why?

I asked you about quotes for which the person who created that video gave REFERENCES. Did you watch the video? Tell the truth.

Nobody is ADDRESSING what he said. Matthew gave me a link that, he says, addresses this issue. You have not addressed it.

You provided me some OTHER quotes of Abdul Baha'is, but you did not address the quotes mentioned in the video. Are the quotes true? If so, did Abdul Baha experience an epiphany, and CHANGE his earlier beliefs? Please address the quotes, Josh [or not]. I already know of the racial work of Abdul Baha.

But, I want to know if those quotes, in THAT video, are true. Just because you offered quotes that are positive about race does not mean that Abdul Baha'i did not, at, perhaps, an earlier time in his ministry, say the things mentioned in the video.

I'm not dealing with emotions here, Josh. I want to know the facts.

It is also NOT good that, as noted by the narrator, that The Faith suppresses information, as it did by not allowing the Baha'i Publishing Trust to offer the works of Kalimat Press. I'm' not born yesterday. I'm in my 60s. I know of this kind of thing, because it happens in other religious groups: suppression of documents that place a taint on the group.

I am not a dreamy-eyed ideologue that accepts everything just because it SOUNDS good. If there are parts of Abdul Baha'is life that are unsavory, I want to know about them, because he is someone that, it is claimed, is the Successor of a Manifestation--big stuff, right? So, his life should be SPOTLESS, as was Prophet Muhammad's.

I will get to the bottom of this, one day, you can count on that. And I hope to find that you and Matthew are correct. But, offering me a few quotes that I ALREADY KNOW ABOUT, and then totally ignoring the video off-hand, as did the OTHER Baha'i person that I asked, is not a good thing (in my view).
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
#7
Dear Dennis King, you say you left the faith with good feelings, I will take you at your word.

I have seen on the internet a great deal of mis-information regarding the Baha'i faith, when it is studied the truth can be found, and I have not found anything to change my mind either about Abdul-Baha or the Baha'i faith.

That the Baha'i you contacted has not got back to you, is, I feel lacking in manners, but that aside he like the rest of us are probably sick and tired of responding to each and every attack. Such as here in this forum if you had done a search, you will find threads where this subject has been brought up by persons who are enemies of the faith, before and gone over.

You spoke of independent search that you could believe, I feel that is wonderful, and the best way to go, other than writing to our Center in Hiafa, for an official response answer. After all we are only ordinary Baha'is here, their are no preists, we all have our own understandings and only the original writings are scriptue. But of course there have been translations done by enemies of the faith and I am sure they are what is in this video, and before you get upset with me why I do not view the given video I can't view it, my computer works on Linux and as yet I have not found the software that will allow me to view the video.

I would be most interested in your findings if and when you have them, please share with us all.

Also I trust you will read Sens blog, Sen is quite knowledgable and has skills in reading the original texts as well, I still struggle to learn Spanish, my only strong language skill is English, and sadly I am of an age that works against learning, having memory problems, also due to illness. You could possibly speak direct with Sen also, I am sure you may discover much which you appear to want to know the truth of.

Loving regards to you
bill
 
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Oct 2013
1,208
United States
#8
OK, I watched the video, it was put together by Darrick Evenson. I've known him for 15 years (online) and I don't give him much credibility, to say the least.

I'm not sure how I am supposed to address all the lies in the video?

I will start with one - that Baha'u'llah owned slaves.

Baha'u'llah's father (like most wealthy men in Iran at the time) did own slaves. When His father died and Baha'u'llah became head of the household, Baha'u'llah freed all the family's slaves:

Baha

Baha'u'llah also wrote this in a famous tablet to Queen Victoria:

Baha

I'm not going to go through the rest of the video and debunk the lies and distortions and bad translations and misquotations of Abdu'l-Baha.

The Baha'i Faith is not racist and Abdu'l-Baha was not a racist and Shoghi Effendi was not a racist. August Forel might have been a racist (many early Baha'is were, as was white society at that time).
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
#10
OK, I watched the video, it was put together by Darrick Evenson. I've known him for 15 years (online) and I don't give him much credibility, to say the least.

I'm not sure how I am supposed to address all the lies in the video?

I will start with one - that Baha'u'llah owned slaves.

Baha'u'llah's father (like most wealthy men in Iran at the time) did own slaves. When His father died and Baha'u'llah became head of the household, Baha'u'llah freed all the family's slaves:

Baha

Baha'u'llah also wrote this in a famous tablet to Queen Victoria:

Baha

I'm not going to go through the rest of the video and debunk the lies and distortions and bad translations and misquotations of Abdu'l-Baha.

The Baha'i Faith is not racist and Abdu'l-Baha was not a racist and Shoghi Effendi was not a racist. August Forel might have been a racist (many early Baha'is were, as was white society at that time).
Thank you Matt for your patience and clarifying part of this for our friend Dennis.

As I have over the years seen many such accusations, when I have delved into them, to find the facts, they fade away like the mirage they are.
 

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