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Bahá’í Chief Missing

Bahaist Chief Missing
Chicago Illinois News
April 29, 1912
Chicago, IL

Abdul-Bahá, Head of Cult, Disappears on His Way to Convention in Chicago.


Left Washington with Oriental Suite Last Night – Faith Has 40,000,000 Adherents Elsewhere.

Where is ‘Abdul-Bahá, son of Bahá’u’lláh, who took the place of the Báb in the Bahá’í movement in the Moslem countries, who was coming to Chicago to-day to preach the universal brotherhood of man?

Chicago Bahá’ís — there are said to be some 40,000,000 followers in the world — asked each other this question and failed to find an answer. In the Corinthian hall in the Masonic Temple building 170 delegates attending the Bahá’í convention waited for the leader of the movement.

Abdul-Bahá was last head of in Washington, D.C. Louise R. Waite, corresponding secretary of the Bahá’í woman’s assembly, 5217 Winthrop avenue, received a telegram to-day saying that ‘Abdul-Bahá had left Washington last night. Accompanied by Said Hassad Ullah, Mirza Mahmud and Ameen Fareed, he had started for Chicago. A suite was reserved for him at the Hotel Plaza.

Ignorant of His Whereabouts.

«None of us knows where ‘Abdul-Bahá is,» confessed Dr. Frederic N. Nutt, President of the Chicago executive board of the Bahá’í movement: «We rather expected him to appear before the convention today. But circumstances can easily intervene. You see, ‘Abdul-Bahá will remain wherever he sees there is opportunity to do good. This opportunity might have been presented at some by station, some stopping place. He would not pause. He would leave the train.

«Another difficulty in keeping trace of him is his dislike of publicity of any sort. A delegation of Bahá’ís in New York chartered a tug to go out and meet his ship when he arrived in this country several weeks ago. Through one of his suite he asked that the delegation disperse quietly.»

Albert Hall of Minneapolis, Minn., president of the Temple Unity, a branch of the Bahá’í movement, founded for the building of a temple of worship, was also at a loss to account for the whereabouts of ‘Abdul-Bahá and his original suite.

«We have received absolutely no word from him.» he declared, «We know that he had planned to arrive in Chicago to-day and a suite was engaged for him at a north side hotel. But there is no telling where he is at present.»

Object of the Movement.

The object of the Bahá’í movement, according to booklets issued by one of them, is the establishment of a universal religion on which will be the foundation of «inter-religious, inter-racial and international brotherhood and peace.» It aims to offer to mankind a «Practical basis of unity.»

This movement began in Persia in 1844. There arose a teacher known as «The Báb» (meaning the door or gate), who proclaimed the coming of the greater teacher and died a martyr. Bahá’u’lláh (meaning the glory of God) appeared soon afterward and «was subject to imprisonment and all manner of suffering at the hands of the oriental despots, because of his teachings. He was sent an exile and prisoner to the Turkish penal colony of Akka in Syria, where he died in 1892. With him went his son, ‘Abdul-Bahá (meaning the servant of God), who was released from the prison in 1908 at the fall of the old Turkish government.

Abdul-Bahá’s stay in Washington was most successful. He was the guest of several Washington hostesses and Mrs. A.J. Parson, said to be one of Washington’s wealthiest women, kept open house for the Bahá’í leader.