By 1908, the Ottoman government’s opposition to Abdu’l-Baha had become more intense than ever. Rumors flew – that he would be executed, or once again be exiled further away to a place where he would perish. But in July of that year, everything changed when the Young Turk Revolution freed all political and religious prisoners.
After more than half a century, Abdu’l-Baha was free.
Abdu’l-Baha first stopped on his journey west in Egypt, where journalists write that “no one has visited him without leaving him impressed by his presence and praising his qualities and wondering at his magnanimity and his astonishing mind.”
After a year in Egypt, Abdu’l-Baha went to Europe where, for the first time, European and American Baha’is could associate with him as a free man, away from the squalid atmosphere of Akka. In 1911 he gave his first ever public address, proclaiming the essential Baha’i principles to some 2000 people in London’s City Temple that, “… there is one God … mankind is one … the foundations of religion are one.”
During his 239 days in North America, Abdu’l Baha’s visit and speaking tour became front-page news in multiple cities.
In this third episode of the Ambassador to Humanity podcast we hear first-hand remembrances from those who met Abdu’l-Baha during his historic visit to the West, and learn how their encounters with this unique spiritual leader shaped the rest of their lives. To high and low alike, whether in large meeting halls or in private conversations, Abdu’l-Baha created an impression that transformed thousands of lives and significantly enhanced the size and prestige of Baha’u’llah’s Faith in the West.
Narrated by Parisa Fitz-Henley and Rainn Wilson with contributions from Michael Day, Hooper Dunbar, Kathryn Jewett Hogensen, Nwandi Lawson, Moojan Momen, Anne Perry, Tim Perry, Robert Stockman, and Lesley Taherzadeh O’Mara; and historical reminiscences from Jean Bonn, Joseph Ioas, Monroe Ioas, Sylvia Paine Parmalee, Bahiyyih Randall-Winckler, Eva Swingle, Isabelle Windust, Shinji Yamamoto, and Aziz Yazdi
Featuring the voices of Valerie Atwood, Anthony Azizi, Beverley Evans Matthews, Nathan Rainsford, and Paul Taylor
Extracts from Baha’i Blogcast with Anne and Tim Perry used with the permission of Baha’i Blog
Extracts from Luminous Journey: Abdu’l-Baha in America, 1912, courtesy of Anne and Tim Perry, Perry Productions
Written and produced by Rob Weinberg and Nathan Rainsford
Assistant Editor: Noah Matthews
Executive producers include Rainn Wilson, Shahin Sobhani, Steve Sarowitz, Maia Reneau, and Ford Bowers for Spring Green Media, in collaboration with 239Days.com and BahaiTeachings.org.
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