UK Bahá’ís Remember The Life of Lord Avebury

Lord Avebury
The Bahá’í community of the UK has remembered the life of Lord Avebury with prayers and recollections of his service to the advance of human rights.
Lord Avebury was born Eric Lubbock and came to prominence in British political life when he won the 1962 Orpington by-election.  He was ennobled in 1971 and dedicated much of his time in the House of Lords to his duties as Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group.

In 1999 Lord Avebury became a founder member and officer of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of the Bahá’ís Group. He gave constant and distinguished service to the plight of the Bahá’ís in Iran for the rest of his days, serving as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the group at various times.

In 2007 the National Spiritual Assembly of the UK felt moved to honour his longstanding service to humanity, and presented the Lady Blomfield Award to Lord Avebury in recognition of his advocacy in support of a wide-range of human rights concerns, including those of Bahá’ís. In addition to commanding great respect across the political spectrum, he was the object of genuine affection and warmth. He was seen as much as a friend as a political leader.

In a letter of condolence to Lady Avebury, the National Spiritual Assembly has cited a quote from Abdul Bahá that seems a befitting tribute to Lord Avebury’s spirit; “…may all your intentions centre in the welfare of humanity, and may you seek to sacrifice yourselves in the pathway of devotion to mankind.”
The National Spiritual Assembly has prayed for the passage of Lord Avebury’s noble soul and remembered his family.

George Galloway: "Who gave the right to Britain to grant Palestine to the Jews?"


And Abdul Baha was awarded the title 'SIR' by the Britishers for his valuable services.
Reference :
The handbook of Palestine
EDITED BY : HARRY CHARLES LUKE, B.Lr1r., M.A.
ASSISTANT GOVERNOR OF JERUSALEM AND EDWARD KEITH-ROACH ASSISTANT CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF PALESTINE
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
The Right Hon. SIR HERBERT SAMUEL, P.C., G.B.E.
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR PALESTINE
Issued under the Authority of the Government of Palestine
MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON
1922
Quote
"...Sir 'Abbas Effendi 'Abdu'l Baha had travelled extensively in Europe and America to expound his doctrines, and on the 4th December, 1919, was created by King George V. a K.B.E. for valuable services rendered to the British Government in the early days of the Occupation....."
Abbas Effendi (Servant of British Empire)

Britain’s Role In Consolidation And Expansion Of Bahaism


A-British support to Mirza Hussein Ali even after he was exiled from Iran.

The October 1917 Russian Revolution for a while preoccupied the Russians with their domestic issues and prevented them from other hegemonist policies. On the other hand, the Bolshevik doctrine, in the early years of its power, showed no willingness towards encouraging hegemonist tendencies. Therefore, Babism and later Bahaism which were directly or indirectly under the patronage of the Russian government, clearly fell into the hands of the British government. The Bahai base in Ashqabad was thus closed down. Qarn-e Badi, one of the reliable sources of Bahais, writes in this connection:
“Colonel Arnold Combal was the consul general of the British government in Baghdad. Noticing the sublime personality of Master Bahaullah, he wrote a friendly note to him asking him to accept the support and citizenship of his government. Being received in audience, he undertook the responsibility of making the required efforts in sending Bahaollah’s letter to the British court if the Master desired to correspond with Queen Victoria. He even proposed that he was ready to provide facilities for the transfer of the residence of the Master to India or wherever he desired.”(1)
On page 125, volume II of God Passes by, Shoghi Effendi writes
“ Colonel Sir Arnold Campbell wrote a friendly letter to His Holiness Bahaullah and proposed to him sovereign government acceptance to support His Holiness.
…He even went as far as to say that
He is prepared to arrange to settle him in India (British Colony) or any other place His Holiness might wish.”
In fact, even if this one document had been found on the subserviency of the Bahais to the British government, it would have been enough. Mirza Hussein Ali Bahaullah stayed in Iraq for 12 years, the first two years of his exile in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdestan and the remaining period in Baghdad. While in the mountains, he would dress as sufis and live among them. A picture is available of him dressed as sufis.
Following the sufferings of the Iraqi Muslims at the hands of the rebellious Bahais, the Ottoman government upon a request by the Iranian ambassador in Istanbul Mirza Hussein Qazvini, who later became the chancellor, exiled the Babis to the remotest areas of the Ottoman territory. They were later sent to Adrianopole where the Babis refer to as the… secret land. It was in Adrianopole where Bahaullah laid claim to Bab’s mantle as the Awaited One and rejected his brother Mirza Yahya Sobh-e-Azal, It is interesting that Combal offered the title of Baron before these claims were raised by Hussein Ali Mirza.
When the seditious role of the Babis was revealed to all foreign governments, the French decided to take advantage as well. To this end, the deputy consul of the French embassy secretly met Bahaullah and held talks with him for half an hour. It was in this meeting that the French official, according to Kavakeb-ud Dorriyeh, asked Bahaullah to apply for French citizenship so that they could support him.(2) It is obvious that the objective of the British and French governments by offering citizenship to Bahaullah was to dispatch him to areas such as India on behalf of the British and to Algeria on behalf of the French governments in order to promote schism in Muslim land. Otherwise, the Bahais had no advantage other than disturbing peace and laying claims to prophethood.
After the Azalis and Bahais split, Mirza Hussein Ali was sent into exile to Akka where he stayed until he died in 1892 and was replaced by his son Abbas Affendi.


B-Espionage activities of Abbas Effendi for British Government earned him the title of “SIR”
At the outset of World War I, the leadership of Bahaism was in the hands of Abbas Effendi, the eldest son of Bahaullah. This man pretended to be Muslim and attended congregational prayers of Muslims in spite of the apparent prohibition by the Bahai faith.
(“God Passes By” by Shoji Effendi vol 3, pg 318)
However, as soon as the British imperialists scored victories in the war with the Ottomans, which drew Palestine into conflict, the Bahais acted as a powerful espionage group in support of the British Government and against the Moslems and the Ottoman government.
Abbas Effendi went so far that Jamal Pasha, commander of the Ottoman forces, decided to hang him on the slope of Mount Carmel.
(“God Passes By” by Shoghi Effendi vol 3, pg 297)
As soon as the British cabinet received news of this through the British army intelligence, Lord Curzon and Lord Lamington began taking measures, and Lord Balfore, the British Foreign Minister (promoter of the Zionist government) immediately cabled General Allenbly, commander of the British forces in Palestine, ordering him to use all his power to protect Abbas Effendi, his family and friends. After conquering Haifa and saving Abbas Effendi from Jamal Pasha, he transmitted a cable to London and reported the safety and health of Abbas Effendi to the officials.
(“God Passes By” by Shoghi Effendi vol 3, pg 297)


Foreign Minister Lord Balfour (1848 – 1930)


Abbas Effendi was rewarded with a large amount of money and as well a Knighthood bearing the title of “Sir”.
In this connection, Bloomfield writes “…The British Government honored Abdul Baha (Abbas Effendi) with a Knighthood, which he accepted as a gesture of honoring formally by a just king”
Abbas Effendi wrote a letter of gratitude “ O God, the tabernacle of justice has truly been erected on this holy land, and we thank and praise Thee. O God, may Emperor George V, Ruler of Britain, be assisted in his divine achievements, and May his shadow over this realm be everlasting.”
(Makatib by Abbas Effendi vol 3 pg 347)
During the leadership of Abbas Affendi, the Ottomans were embroiled in military hostilities with the British, and since Abbas Affendi was an advocate of the British government, he would collect military information in Akka and Haifa. He would also provide the English forces with the required foodstuff.
After the Ottomans found out that Abbas Afandi and his followers were spying for the British government in Palestine and that he was a British mercenary, as Showqi Afandi has asserted in his book Qarn-e Badi the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman government Jamal Pasha decided to execute Abbas Afandi for his espionage acts.(3) But Britain in an open support for Abbas Affendi, commissioned the then Foreign Minister Lord Balfour to send a cable to the commander of the British corps in Palestine General Lord Allenby, stressing protection for Master Abdol Baha (Abbas Affendi), his family and his friends.(4)
The possible arrest and execution of Abbas Affendi was reported to Lord Cruiseden by Jamal Pasha but General Allenby in a pre-emptive action, seized Haifa and cabled to London: Palestine was seized today. Inform the world that Abdul Baha is alive.”
Abdol hussein Avareh writes in his book: “Seemingly, the British commander who seized Haifa in 1918 had received the special order to be received in audience by Abdol Baha. That is to say, he had been commissioned by the British empire to meet Master Abdol Baha upon his arrival in Haifa, and the British king decorated him with Knighthood.(5)
Abdul Baha was receiving the medal of Knighthood
Lady Bloomfield writes The English Government according to its usual system for protecting and encouraging the heroes awarded Abdul Baha a medal of knighthood which is ordered by the just King as a sign of honour for him and he accepted it.
In gratitude for receiving the title of ‘Sir’, Abbas Affendi prayed for the grandeur of the British King, George V, and the continuation of his rule in Palestine:
“O God, the royal court has been set up throughout this realm, from East to the West, and I thank you for such a powerful and just kingdom which does its best for the welfare of the people. O Lord! let the great empire of George V, the King of Britain be victorious and make his kingdom everlasting.”
Abbas Effendi wrote a letter of gratitude “ O God, the tabernacle of justice has truly been erected on this holy land, and we thank and praise Thee. O God, may Emperor George V, Ruler of Britain, be assisted in his divine achievements, and May his shadow over this realm be everlasting.”
(Makatib by Abbas Effendi vol 3 pg 347)


Abdul Baha was receiving the medal of Knighthood
The crystal clear connection between Bahais and the British government does not end here. In his various interviews arranged during his trips to Europe, Abdol Baha once said in London: “The power which attracted me towards you was the same magnet of your love. The Britons I have met so far had pure souls and were active for the purpose of peace (the British-type peace and the kind of unity to the advantage of the British government). Therefore, London would be suitable for the spread of this task (Bahaism). (6)
In one of his speeches, quoted from the book Collections of Abdol Baha’s Orations Abdol Baha addresses his English audience and says: “I am satisfied with the people and government of Britain…My coming here, has resulted in consolidation of friendship between Iran and Britain. This friendship will soon reach the extent that Iranians would sacrifice their lives for the sake of Britain.”(7)
C-British condolence at Death of Abdul Baha
Abbas Afandi , after making several trips to Europe and America with the objective of presenting Bahaism as a common ideal among all religions and all peace-loving nations was warmly received by his masters and finally gave up his ghost in 1921. The diplomatic representative of Britain in the Middle East , sent messages of condolences to the Bahais.
During his funeral processions high-ranking British personalities such as Herbert Samuel and Sir Ronald Stores were present. On this occasion, The British secretary of state for colonies, Mr. Winston Churchill telegraphed sent a cable of condolences to Haifa which read: “I hereby convey the sympathy and condolences of the Majesty government of Britain to the Bahai community. Similar cables have been sent by other high-ranking British officials on this occasion “ .
Similarly, General Congreve (Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary force), General Sir Arthur Money (Former Chief Administrator of Palestine) and other official of the British Government transmitted similar telegraphs.
Britain‘s support for Bahaism has continued till the present time and comprehensive research works have been conducted by major British universities to explore the possibility of further promotion of this pseudo-religion.
In Akhbar-e Amri magazine, the official publication of Bahai circle, published in 1919, it was reported that Bahai representatives attended meetings of the international union held in Colonge , West Germany along with high-ranking officials, including the former British prime minister. The same magazine some six years later congratulated the king of England on the occasion of his birthday in an official note sealed by the Bahai circle and the king in return thanked them.
There are several other instances but generally it could be said that Britain patronized the spread of Bahaism by encouraging Abdol Baha who was later decorated with medals for his espionage acts. Abdol Baha’s grandson, Showqi Afandi, is burried in London. Today, many Bahais are active in Britain and have invested in Britain’s economic activities.
Reference:
1. Qarn-e Badi, vol. 2, page 134, by Showqi Afandi
2. Kavakeb-ud Dorriyeh, vol. 1, pages 380-1
3. Qarn-e Badi , vol. 3 , page 291
4. Qarn-e Badi , vol. 3 , page 297
5. Kavakeb-ud Dorriyeh, vol. 2, page 305, by Abdolhussein Avareh
6. Trial of the Zionist Goldziher, page 270
7. Khatabat-e Abdol Baha , vol. 1, page 23

British Baha'is meet with Prime Minister Brown on Bahais concerns


LONDON, 16 July (BWNS) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met this week with members of the U.K. Baha'i community and underlined his government's concern over the seven Baha'i leaders being detained in Iran.

Mr. Lembit Opik, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of the Baha'is group, accompanied three Baha'i representatives to the meeting, held yesterday at the prime minister's office in the Houses of Parliament.

One of the Baha'is, Mrs. Bahar Tahzib – originally from Iran but now living in England – shared with Mr. Brown her first-hand experience of religious persecution. Her father was executed in Iran in June 1980 for being a Baha'i, and her uncle, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, is one the seven Baha'i leaders arrested in the spring of 2008 and jailed since then in Evin prison in Tehran.

Charges against the seven have been reported in government-controlled mass media as "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic" – accusations the Baha'i International Community categorically denies. No formal charges have been filed, however, and the seven Baha'is have had no access to attorneys.

Families of the prisoners had been informed that there would be a trial this past week, but now the families reportedly have been told there is a delay. No new trial date has been given.

"I was very touched by the prime minister's genuine expressions of sympathy and concern," Mrs. Tahzib said after yesterday's meeting with Mr. Brown.

The other Baha'is who met with Prime Minister Brown were Dr. Kishan Manocha, secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom, and Mr. Barney Leith, director of diplomatic relations for the U.K. Baha'i community.

 


The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair praised the work of the nation's Baha'i community

7 April 2005

LONDON — The prime minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, has praised the work of the nation's Baha'i community in assisting social cohesion and the interfaith movement.

"In many ways, Baha'is embody the spirit of community cohesion that is so important to our society," Mr. Blair said in a message on the occasion of the Baha'i Naw-Ruz (New Year).

"The Baha'i community, in its outlook on life and in its proactive work in the inter-faith, cohesion and anti-discrimination fields, show how much faith-based bodies can contribute to wider society, and the Government looks forward to continuing our good relationship," Mr. Blair said.

The message was read at the Naw-Ruz reception held on 21 March 2005 on the terrace of the House of Commons. Baha'i representatives, members of both Houses of Parliament, and senior members of the public service attended the event.

The All Party Parliamentary Friends of the Baha'i Faith sponsored the gathering, which was also attended by representatives of interfaith organizations, NGOs, and the media.

The All Party Friends of the Baha'i Faith was formed in 1999 and has since hosted five Naw-Ruz receptions. The group is open to members of Parliament from across the political spectrum and was formed largely in response to the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran and other states.

The chair of the All Party Friends of the Baha'i Faith, Lembit Opik MP, spoke of his admiration for the work of the Baha'is.

At the Naw-Ruz reception at the British Paliament: (left to right): Inder Manocha, master of ceremonies, Meghan Morris, a Baha'i representative, and Lembit Opik MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of the Baha'i Faith.

At the Naw-Ruz reception at the British Paliament: (left to right) Tim Morris of the British Foreign Office, Mieko Bond, director of the Baha'i Office for the Advancement of Women in the UK and Lembit Opik MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of the Baha'i Faith.



The secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom, the Hon. Barney Leith (left), with the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of the Baha'i Faith, Mr. Lembit Opik MP.



Lord Andrew Stone (third from left) at the Baha'i Naw-Ruz reception at the British Parliament with Baha'i representatives (left to right) Dr. Graham Walker, the Hon. Barney Leith, and Ms. Guilda Walker.


Some other references:

1) Bahai World 2001-2002, page 103-104......
.


British Prime Minister Tony Blair commended the Baha'i community of the United Kingdom

In a message commemorating the new year, British Prime Minister Tony Blair commended the Baha'i community of the United Kingdom for its "significant contribution" to multi-culturalism and interfaith dialogue. The message was read at a reception on 21 March 2002 in the House of Commons, which was attended by nearly 100 people and was sponsored by the All Party Friends of the Baha'i Faith. Participants included members of the British parliament and other government officials, as well as representatives of NGOs and the media.

MP John Battle, the Prime Minister's advisor on interfaith matters, read Mr. Blair's message, which singled out the "con¬tribution of the Baha'i Faith to the stability and prosperity of British society as a whole" and said, "I am very encouraged by the vision the Baha'i community demonstrates in recognizing the power of interfaith dialogue and the importance of all citizens fulfilling their potential."

Barney Leith, Secretary-General of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom, addressed the gathering about the UK Baha'i community's Institute for Social Cohesion, an initiative to facilitate dialogue between entities working to build stronger societal bonds in the United Kingdom.

The Baha'i community of Northern Ireland also received NawRuz greetings from the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister or the Province.

2) Secret Document of British Government, dated May 1918.




The content of the document is given below:

                                                                                                                                37
 


SECRET.                                                                                             

           APPRECIATION OF THE ATTACHED EASTERN REPORT NO LXX.
                                            

                                               --------------------------------
                                                             RUSSIA

THE Asiatic intelligence should be read with care.  The Prospects in Turkestan
are now distinctly bad.  The destruction and disintegration of the Armenians proceeds
apace and paves the way for Turko-German dominion, extending through the Turanian
belt right up to Afghanistan itself. From that point of vantage the Turko-Germans
will work every possible form of anti-British policy; Pan-Islamism, Pan-Turanianism,
and anarchistic revolution will be the three forces that they will use.
The elements which will be friendly to us, and which will combat 
these three forces are :-
(a) The natural tendency which exists among pious Moslems to regard religion as
     a spiritual rather than a political force , and which lies at the back of the 
     teaching of Mohammed Abdu, Abdul Bahai, and the Persian Mystics.
(b) The natural dislike of non-Turanian people for Turanian ascendency.
(c) The social elements which stand to gain by justice and order.

With regard to the development of these elements into political assets, we can give 
positive assistance in regard to (b) and (c) ; in regard to (a), we can do nothing positive,
but on the negative side may do something by avoiding giving the impression that we
are afraid of political Pan Islam or are ready to compromise with it.

                                                  Palestine

The political news is satisfactory.

                                                  Persia

The situation is one which must give cause for anxiety.



May 30 ,1918                                                                            M.S.
                            ________________________________



3) The visit of Mrs. Cherie Blair to the Bahá'í House of Worship on 13th   January, 2008  

 Mrs. Blair with Mr. Shatrughun Jiwnani, Director of the Office of Public Relations.


 Mrs. Cherie Blair accompanied by a delegation arrived at 5.40 pm on Sunday, 13th January, 2008. 

She visited Baha'i Lotus Temple in New Delhi. She said - "Thank you for allowing me a moment of quiet reflection in this place of faith." She was presented with the signature book of the House of Worship – Dawning Place of the Remembrance of God and a folder with Bahá'í   material.

When she was asked about faith, she replied faith is a good thing and faith with action like what the Bahá'í community demonstrates is laudable.To the question if the media was not covering enough of the Bahá'í communities involvement in social and cultural development, she agreed and spoke in support of the Bahá'í International community.  She asked about the life of Bahá'u'lláh and if he had been married and had children.

 The other members of the entourage, Ms. Angela Good Child, Mr. Raj Loomba, Lord Dholakia OBE DL of the House of Lords were all happy.Lord Dholakia said he knew the Bahá'í s and had been invited to few events in England that he had attended.