As the two hundred year anniversary of Baha’u’llah’s birth approaches, leaders around the world from the international to the local level are honoring the momentous occasion with special tributes.

On July 31, 2017, Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, addressed a message to the Baha’i community of his country:

Baha’u’llah’s teachings of unity and peace are cherished values in our multi-racial and multi-religious society, I am heartened that the Baha’i community is active in inter-faith engagements, and continues to promote understanding, dialogue and interaction among people from different religions.

Your efforts will go a long way in enhancing mutual respect in a multi-faith society and strengthening Singapore’s social harmony.

The Prime Minister’s tribute is among a number that have already been received by Baha’i communities around the world. The global Baha’i community will celebrate the bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s birth on October 22nd, 2017. Born in Tehran, Iran in 1817, Baha’u’llah is the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, which has since spread to every nation on Earth:

O noble friends and seekers for the Kingdom of God! About sixty years ago in the time when the fire of war was blazing among the nations of the world, and bloodshed was considered an honour to mankind; in a time when the carnage of thousands stained the earth; when children were rendered fatherless; when fathers were without sons and mothers were spent with weeping; when the darkness of inter-racial hatred and animosity seemed to envelope mankind and blot out the divine light; when the wafting of the holy breath of God seemed to be cut off—in that time Baha’u’llah rose like a shining star from the horizon of Persia, inspired with the message of Peace and of Brotherhood among men.

He brought the light of guidance to the world; He kindled the fire of love and revealed the great reality of the True Beloved. He sought to destroy the foundations of religious and racial prejudice and of political rivalry.

He likened the world of humanity to a tree, and all the nations to its branches and the people to its leaves, buds and fruits.

His mission was to change ignorant fanaticism into Universal love, to establish in the minds of His followers the basis of the unity of humanity and to bring about in practice the equality of mankind. He declared that all men were equal under the mercy and bounty of God.

Then was the door of the Kingdom set wide and the light of a new heaven on earth revealed unto seeing eyes.

Yet the whole of Baha’u’llah’s life was spent in the midst of great trial and cruel tyranny. In Persia He was thrown into prison, put into chains, and lived constantly under the menace of the sword. He was scorned and scourged.

When He was about thirty years old He was exiled to Baghdad, and from Baghdad to Constantinople, and from there to Adrianople and lastly to the prison of Akka.

Yet under chains and from His cell He succeeded in spreading His cause, and uplifting the banner of the oneness of humanity.

Now, God be praised, we see the light of Love shining in the East and in the West; and the tent of fellowship is raised in the midst of all the peoples for the drawing together of all hearts and souls.

The call of the Kingdom has been sounded, and the annunciation of the world’s need for Universal Peace has enlightened the world’s conscience. – Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, pp. 36-38.

In Vietnam, in honor of the upcoming bicentenary celebrations, senior government officials, including Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, met with representatives of the Baha’i community and expressed appreciation for the community’s contributions towards the country’s development through activities that are improving living conditions and promoting education.

Since the message from the President of India earlier this year, similar tributes have now been received from the Vice President and several other high-ranking members of the national government, as well as the Chief Minister of one of the states of India and other officials.

At the local level, the City Council of Rosario, Argentina, passed a government resolution honoring the bicentenary anniversary and recognizing Haifa as its sister city.

In the United States, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has also passed a resolution to honor the birth of Baha’u’llah and urge its citizens to work for the realization of peace, justice, and solidarity.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

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