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Bahá’ísm and Its Leader

Bahaism and Its Leader
The Springfield Daily Republican
April 13, 1912

Distinguished Persian to Begin a Tour of the United States This Month.

The Universal Principles of the Bahá’í Movement, Social, Economic, Governmental” is the title of a booklet issued for free distribution by the Persian-American educational society, whose headquarters is in Washington, D. C., preparatory to the visit of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and his participation in the second annual conference of the society in Washington the 18th, 19th and 20th of this month. The booklet is a compilation of the writings and sayings of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í movement. His son and successor, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, has left Persia, sailing from Alexandria, Egypt, bound to Naples and thence to New York, for his first visit to the United States. Before returning he will visit all of the principal cities of the country, making addresses not only before the Bahá’í assemblies, but before audiences of all cults and denominations, as well as many college and university settlements and educational societies. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will speak before the Lake Mohonk conference on international arbitration. In Boston he will address the Golden Link society, a Syrian organization, speaking in Arabic; the Twentieth Century club, the Massachusetts suffrage society, the Second church of Christ (Scientist) and the Bahá’í assembly.

Far from being a poetical presentation of new oriental mysticism or the principles of a new cult, says the Persian-American educational society in a circular letter, the Bahá’í movement’s principles are disclosed to be the last word in the most advanced social, economic, educational, political and religious thought of the day. The keynote of the utterances of the Persian who for half a century has been known to the East, but little known in western Europe or America, is unity and universalism. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá declares that over 50 years ago one of the chief lessons his father sought to impress upon his followers was the necessity for world peace through the instrumentality of arbitration treaties. He develops this idea to the extent even of providing for the terms of a treaty for international arbitration, international police and a gradual disarmament. The Persian teacher also advocates the blending of the world’s religions, protesting against differences of creeds. “The true foundations of all faiths must be established, the outer differences abolished,” he writes. “There must be oneness of faith.” Even a universal language is advocated. The differences of languages cause disunion between nations,” reads another paragraph. “There must be one universal auxiliary language.” Equality of the sexes is maintained to be the proper condition. The only reason why woman is not so advanced as man is given as a lack of education. With religion, morals, education, work, government and other subjects the writings deal, yet pervading them all is the ideal of unity and a common world-family.