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Montreal, July 10, 2018 - The Bahá'í Community of the Island of Montreal was present at a solemn commemoration at the Bahá'í Center on Pine Avenue East. Children, youths, adults, talented musicians, even nature in the form of beautiful roses that decorated the hall; together, commemorated this tragic event occurred in the history of humanity. It took place on July 10, 1850 in a military barracks in Tabriz, a city in northwestern Iran.

A youth of 30 years old, a direct descendant of Muhammad's lineage, carrying a new message of peace and brotherhood of humanity, was tried as an offender of Islamic theology. He proclaimed that He was the Promised one of Islam, the One who should appear at the end of time! The clergy found Him a threat to the church and state. They imprisoned him, persecuted him and finally sentenced him to death. Those among the clergy who had a clear vision and sincerely awaited this miraculous period of history accepted Him without any hesitation. A surprising number of over 400, of the most learned in the country; not only accepted his Message but, almost all, gave their lives for his Cause.

This young man bore the name of the Báb (1819 - 1850), the Door of Knowledge of God, a Saint John the Baptist of Christendom, the Qá'im of Islam, the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith and a Divine Messenger!

During His imprisoned in the fortress of Máh-Ku in northwestern Iran, only one European had a meeting with the Báb. He was Dr. Cormick, an English physician residing in Tabríz who was summoned by the Persian authorities to decide on the Báb’s mental state.
 
“… He only deigned to answer me, writes Dr. Cormick, when I told Him that I was not a Musulman and was willing to know something about his religion, as I might perhaps be inclined to adopt it. He regarded me very intently on my saying this, and replied that he had no doubt of all Europeans coming over to his religion. Our report to the Shah at that time was of a nature to spare his life…

He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much. Being a Siyyid, he was dressed in the habit of that sect, as were also his two companions. In fact, his whole look and deportment went far to dispose one in his favour. Of his doctrine, I heard nothing from his own lips, although the idea was that there existed in his religion a certain approach to Christianity. He was seen by some Armenian carpenters, who were sent to make some repairs in his prison, reading the Bible, and he took no pains to conceal it, but on the contrary told them of it. Most assuredly the Musulman fanaticism does not exist in his religion, as applied to Christians, nor is there that restraint of females that now exists."
 
The Báb and one of his disciples were hung by ropes against the wall of a military barracks, and a regiment of seven hundred and fifty Christian Armenian soldiers was brought in to form the firing squad. The colonel of the regiment, a certain Sám Khán, was reluctant to execute the received order, fearing that it would draw the wrath of God on his head. It is said that the Báb gave him the following assurance: "Follow your instructions and if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you from your perplexity."

Many eyewitnesses testified as follows: The regiment was set up and seven hundred and fifty shots fired. The smoke produced by the muskets, which were filled through the front barrel, obscured the place. When it dissipated, the astonished spectators saw the companion of the Báb standing unharmed in front of the wall; the Báb was gone! The ropes on which the two men were hung had been cut by bullets. A frenzied search ensued and the Báb, still unharmed, was found in the room he had occupied the night before. He was calmly giving his last instructions to his secretary.

The crowd was out of control, and the Armenian regiment refused to participate again in this execution. The colonel of the regiment was threatened by the real possibility that the moody crowd, who had first acclaimed and denounced the Báb, saw in the deliverance of the latter a sign of God and rose for His support. A regiment of Muslims was hastily formed, the Báb and his companion hung once more along the wall, and a second volley was fired at them. This time the bodies of the two prisoners were riddled with bullets.

The extraordinary circumstances surrounding the death of the Báb aroused a new wave of interest in his Message. The story spread like wildfire, not only among the Persians, but also among the diplomats, merchants, military advisers and journalists who constituted a substantial European community in Persia at that time. The words of a French consular diplomat, A.L.M. Nicolas, give an idea of the impact that this drama had in Persia on educated Westerners:

"It is one of the most magnificent examples of courage ever given to humanity to contemplate, and it is also an admirable proof of the love that our hero bore to his fellow-citizens. He sacrificed himself for humanity; for her he gave his body and soul; for her he suffered privations, insults, torture and martyrdom. He sealed with his blood the pact of universal brotherhood and, like Jesus, he gave his life as a ransom for the announcement of the reign of concord, equity and love of neighbor.
"

 

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