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Montreal, January 4, 2020 - As the world was getting ready to celebrate the New Year, a soul took its flight to the Eternal Kingdom of God! This beloved soul who devoted most of his life to the service of humanity and who left this fleeting world, was Abdeslam Berrada. He has lived in Laval since 1973 where he served the Laval Community as the Spiritual Assembly member of the Bahá'ís of Laval until 2014. Surrounded by his family, the soul of Mr. Berrada left this world peacefully on December 31, 2019 in Laval at the age of 85.

Abdeslam Berrada was born in 1934 in Ceuta, Spanish territory of North Africa. His father was a judge and an academic who studied at one of the best Arab universities in the world. It is the Karaouiyine University of Fez, known by UNESCO as the oldest university in the world which continues to operate until now!

The name given to Mr. Berrada by his parents was "ʻAbd Salām" - it is an Arabic name which means "Servant of Peace". His name certainly influenced him because he believed deeply in the unity of humanity and the need to work for universal peace. His deep belief in these principles had guided him on his journey to accept the Bahá'í Faith.

Mr. Berrada first heard of the Bahá'í Faith in Ceuta (Spain) in 1954 during the ten-year Crusade. At the time, there were American pioneers such as John Fleming who taught the Bahá'í Faith in that city; which enabled several people, including Mr. Berrada, to become a Bahá’í in 1955 and have the opportunity to form the first Spiritual Assembly, the Local Administrative Body, in Ceuta. He was the member of this Assembly until his move to Tetouan, Morocco in 1958, where he was elected member of the Tetouan Spiritual Assembly between 1958-1963. In 1958, he married Cherifa and they had two sons, Kamal and Samir.

Following an incident in Nador in northern Morocco in 1962, a Baha’i was put in prison. The Tetouan Spiritual Assembly immediately sent four members, including Mr. Berrada, to go to Nador and obtain facts relating to the imprisonment. When they arrived in Nador, they were arrested and put in prison. Lawyers defended the case of these innocent prisoners. Simultaneously, a global campaign against social injustice and human rights forced the gradual release of prisoners, which lasted almost a year. * Ministry of the Custodians

After being released from prison, Mr. Berrada moved to Rabat (Morocco) where he served in the city's Spiritual Assembly between 1963 and 1968, the year of his departure for Canada.

After settling in Canada, Mr. Berrada became a member of the Montreal Spiritual Assembly and served in that institution with Bahá'ís such as Raymond Flournoy, Ron Stee, Loris McEwan and Abdu’l-Rahim Yazdi. He also had the privilege of knowing the early Montreal Bahá'ís such as Emeric Sala, Rosemary Sala and Rowland Estall.

Following a call to complete the number of believers necessary to form a Spiritual Assembly in Laval, Mr. Berrada and his family moved to that city where Mr. Berrada was a member of the Assembly from 1973 until 2014.

During the forty year period that Mr. Berrada was a member of the Laval Assembly, there were a large number of activities including proclamation of the Faith, firesides, prayer sessions, children's classes and summer camps. He also participated as a delegate to National Conventions.

Mr. Berrada and his wife Cherifa also made teaching trips, notably to Martinique in 1991 and to the Northwest Territories of Canada as well as to Spain.

Following Mr. Berrada’s passing, the Universal House of Justice sent a message to the family :

 … May the memory of his courage and fortitude in the face of persecution and hardship be a source of inspiration to all those who knew him. Be assured of the supplications of the House of Justice at the Sacred Threshold for the progress of his illumined soul in the Abhá Kingdom as well as for the comfort and solace of you and other members of his family at this time of bereavement. 

 

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