The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
Baha’is abhor and unequivocally oppose violence.
Baha’u’llah said that it is better to be killed than to kill. The Baha’i Writings clearly state that violence, whether between individuals or between nations, must end. Baha’is particularly oppose war and inter-religious violence, and work globally to end them. For Baha’is, love for all Faiths and all people is the best antidote to violence:
A Baha’i denies no religion; he accepts the Truth in all, and would die to uphold it. He loves all men as his brothers, of whatever class, of whatever race or nationality, of whatever creed or colour, whether good or bad, rich or poor, beautiful or hideous. He commits no violence; if he is struck he does not return the blow. (Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 56)
When religious fanaticism and fundamentalism provoke violence and terrorism, Baha’is strive to re-double their efforts to end the hatred and disunity that provoke them. We do not yet know who is responsible for the bombing at the Boston Marathon, although a long series of similar bombings around the world in the 21st Century have been directly linked to religious fanaticism and terrorism. This statement, excerpted from the Baha’i International Community’s report in 1987, speaks directly to the Baha’i position on the issue:
There has been a revival of religious fanaticism in all parts of the globe, and among people of varied faiths. It is a truly worldwide phenomenon and, in our view, a deeply disturbing one, for religious fanaticism breeds hatred and violence. We need not look far to find numerous examples in the world today of the civil strife, terror and human suffering that religious fanaticism has wreaked upon religious communities and entire nations. Its pernicious influence can be found at the root of all too many of the wars, conflicts and other ills undermining peace in the world, including the problem of terrorism.
Fanaticism represents a perversion of religion and is directly contrary to the humane teachings brought by the Founders of all the great religions of the world. We believe that the purpose of every religion has been to promote unity among all the peoples of the world, and to outlaw war and violence in human affairs. All the major religions have taught the “Golden Rule.” The violence and disruption associated with religious fanaticism testifies to its spiritual emptiness. Fanaticism destroys the very foundations of human solidarity by dividing the world into contending factions, each believing itself to be superior to others and to have an exclusive claim on religious truth. These actions and attitudes negate the very purpose of religion.
The current outbreak of religious fanaticism, while overturning the spiritual values conducive to the unity of mankind, also works to undermine the unique achievements of each of the religions it pretends to serve. The outstanding contributions made to the welfare of society by the teachings of the great religions are steadily being overshadowed by the atrocities committed in the name of those same religions.
Fortunately, the contemporary phenomenon of religious fanaticism does not, in our view, signal the dawn of a new era of religious strife. Instead, we believe that it represents the dying convulsions of doctrines and societies which have openly defied the altruistic teachings of their own faiths.
We believe that all men and women of good will can contribute towards hastening the end of religious fanaticism. They can do this, first, by living up to the high ideals of love, unity and tolerance that lie at the center of their own religions or beliefs. …everyone must be taught to respect the beliefs of others so that they will not merely tolerate, but positively respect, those who hold different beliefs. …Baha’i communities around the world are already implementing educational programs along these lines as their contribution to eliminating fanaticism under any guise and to implementing the principle of unity among peoples of every faith and belief. They will persevere in their efforts until the fire of religious fanaticism and hatred is finally extinguished. – Baha’i International Community, March 1987, Eliminating Religious Intolerance.