Peter Khan memorial service..

Jun 2006
I attended a memorial service today for Peter Khan (1936 - 2011) and learned he had lived in Australia awhile and was the first Muslim in Australia to become a Baha'i among other things..

If there are some Aussie friends or others who would like to share any remembrances of Peter Khan..please share them!:)
Sep 2010
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Arthra - I met Dr Peter Khan on quite a few occasions at functions back in the 80s & 90s and listened to His talks (Western Australia, Sydney & Townsville) - A wonderful person and great Baha'i. Unfortunately my memory of these occasions & talks are not good.

He worked hard for the cause and was a good example of a dedicated Baha'i.

My friends in my current area did a lot more activities with Dr Peter Khan and knew Him well. He travel a lot around the country to give talks etc. I pioneered to quite remote areas for a lot of years and did not have a lot of Baha'i contact for those 20 years.

Regards Tony
Jun 2006

Thanks for sharing that!:) I think I may have seen him at the St. Louis Conference years ago.. Some Baha'is that also went were very stirred by his address...:)
Sep 2011
Dr Khan was born and educated in Australia, and returned there after some time as a university staff member in the US. He also returned there after leaving Haifa in 2010.

He was the youngest person to be elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Australia. He later became a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Australasia.

His parents were Muslims and migrated to Australia from India (now Pakistan). They became Baha'is when Peter was 11.

You can find details on Australian Baha'is > Home as well as an account of his funeral. There is also information on

He was much loved not only in Australia but worldwide. His talks were very clear, inspiring and insightful, and usually included some jokes during the introduction.

You can find quite a few on the web.

His service as a member of the Universal House of Justice was outstanding.
Jun 2006

Thanks for sharing that information about Dr. Khan! as well as the Australian Baha'is site!

Jun 2006
More on Dr. Khan:

The funeral of 'a distinguished servant': Dr Peter Khan
Brisbane, 26 Jul 2011
The funeral of a distinguished servant: Dr Peter Khan

Dr Peter Khan 1936-2011

A flock of cockatoos fanned skyward in a beautiful white salute as the cortege for Dr Peter Khan prepared to leave the venue of his funeral service and travel to his last resting place.

It was an appropriate send-off for this great Australian who had served his own national Baha’i community with distinction.

His influence had also been global. Attending the service in Brisbane were more than 800 Baha’is and their friends not only from throughout Australia but from such places as Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Western Samoa and the United States.

Placed near the casket in the gracious venue for the service was a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The gift had come from the Universal House of Justice, the Baha’i Faith’s international governing body of which Dr Khan had been a member for 23 uninterrupted years until he retired in 2010.

On a screen which formed the backdrop were two giant portraits of Dr Khan, his trademark smile beaming out to all.

Master of Ceremonies Anton Jones introduced the readings, which included selections from the sacred writings of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha. The theme was one of great hope, that the life beyond for a true believer would be one of great joy and influence.

The readers were from Australia, Polynesia, New Zealand and North America. A glorious chant in Persian resonated throughout the room, lifting hearts and minds.

The first to address the mourners was Dr Vahid Saberi, the chairperson of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia, who pointed out that Dr Khan had been elected to that national governing institution as soon as he became eligible at the age of 21, thereby becoming the youngest person to have served as a member. Dr Saberi paid tribute to the assistance Dr Khan had given to the institution over the years by his wise counsel.

No account of Dr Khan is complete without a mention of his humour, and Dr Saberi provided one that had everybody rocking with laughter. Dr Saberi said that once a nervous Baha’i treasurer had told an evening meeting he worried that he had not paid the electricity bill on time. Half way through the meeting, Dr Khan arranged for the mains power to be switched off, plunging the event into darkness and everybody into laughter.

A member of a Baha’i senior advisory group, the Continental Board of Counsellors, Mr Dinesh Kumar-Mills, then came to the lectern to read the tribute to Dr Khan from the Universal House of Justice to its dearly loved former member.

The Baha’i Faith had lost a “distinguished servant”, the message said.

“By any measure, his was a remarkable life, one of earnest striving, of unbending resolve, of unflinching dedication to principle, and of constancy of effort, “ the message said, before moving on to recognise “his considerable intellectual gifts”, and then to describe his addresses to “unnumbered audiences” as presentations of “uncommon eloquence and endearing humour—lifting hearts, stimulating minds, galvanising spirits”.

The audience was moved when a radiant Dr Janet Khan came to the lectern and thanked all those who had attended and sent messages. She praised her late husband and delighted everyone as she referred to Dr Khan’s sense of humour – that he would be asking why his funeral was being held at a venue at a golf links rather than a cricket ground, his favourite sport.

After a reception under trees in a sunny courtyard, six pallbearers carried the casket to the hearse, which began the journey to the Toowong cemetery, followed by a long line of vehicles, their headlights on to signal they were part of the cortege.

On a sunlit hillside in the cemetery, under Australia’s native eucalyptus trees, one of the beautiful prayers of Baha’u’llah was read to the big group of mourners: ”From the sweet scented streams of Thine eternity give me to drink, O My God, and of the fruits of the tree of Thy being enable me to taste, O my Hope!”

Then it was time for the recital of Baha’u’llah’s majestic Prayer for the Dead, with its rhythmic, solemn repetitions. As the prayer was being said, the casket was lowered deep into the earth.

When the reader reached the refrain “We all, verily, yield thanks unto God”, a gentle wind arrived, rustling the leaves and passing over those deep in prayer.

The bouquet was placed over the grave, and the formal service was over. But as those attending stood in silence, wrapped in their own thoughts, the singing began.

As they sang Baha’u’llah’s words, “Blessed is the spot, and the house and place, and the city and the heart and the mountain ...where mention of God Has been made and His praise glorified...” thoughts of some, no doubt, turned to the mountain and the city (Mt Carmel in Haifa) where Dr Khan once served as a member of the Universal House of Justice.

Then came the final prayerful tribute to a cherished Baha’i. It was the singing of a greeting and prayer beloved of Baha’is worldwide. The volume was at first low and sweet and then began to swell as more and more joined in, lending their voices to the melody.

Friends lingered, embraced, spoke of their memories of Dr Khan, and only then said their farewells.

Report by Michael Day

For more about Dr Khan:

Dr Peter Khan