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Montreal, Thursday, August 6, 2020 – A group of self-motivated friends from the city have started a forum to discuss the subject of “Unity in diversity”. This topic, so dear to the hearts of the Bahá’í Community all over the world has been a source of inspiration for poets, writers, musicians, artists, theatre and movie script writers.

Unity of race and ethnical diversity are well elucidated in the Bahá’í Writings. The Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, in a message to the Bahá’í World says the following:

 I am reminded, on this historic occasion, of the significant words uttered by Bahá'u'lláh Himself, Who as attested by the Center of the Covenant, in His Writings, "compared the coloured people to the black pupil of the eye," through which "the light of the spirit shineth forth."                                        

(Shoghi Effendi:  Messages to the Baha'i World 1953, Page: 136)

The central theme of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Center of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, in the North American lectures was Race Unity. Speaking in Chicago on April 30, 1912, He said:

...Difference of race and color is like the variegated beauty of flowers in a garden....

Bahá'u'lláh hath said that the various races of humankind lend a composite harmony andbeauty of color to the whole. Let all associate, therefore, in this great human garden, even as flowers grow and blend together side by side without discord or disagreement between them.    

                                                        (The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 68-69)

To inspire the participants, passages, quotes and prayers on Race Unity from various sources  were read and discussed in depth in the Forum. Many ideas and experiences were shared by the friends from North Carolina, Nova-Scotia and Montreal.  It surely created a space to uplift and refresh the soul. It created an enthusiasm to support each other’s efforts to translate ideals into meaningful individual action at this time when both societal and personal transformation are sorely needed.

Dozens of similar virtual gatherings are organized throughout Montreal neighbourhoods and the topic of “Unity in Diversity” is discussed. Practical ideas were suggested to encourage all of us to take positive action and make an exceptional effort to try to bring our society together and create a harmonious environment where justice and encouragement will be everyone’s commitment.

In a letter addressed to the Bahá’ís of the United States dated 22 July 2020, the Universal House of Justice writes : “ Ultimately, the power to transform the world is effected by love, love originating from the relationship with the divine, love ablaze among members of a community, love extended without restriction to every human being. This divine love, ignited by the Word of God, is disseminated by enkindled souls through intimate conversations that create new susceptibilities in human hearts, open minds to moral persuasion, and loosen the hold of biased norms and social systems so that they can gradually take on a new form in keeping with the requirements of humanity’s age of maturity.”

Since its existence over a century ago, the Montreal Bahá’í Community as well as the Bahá’ís of the world are diligently working to bring about this unity and love that humanity so desperately needs and to fulfill one of the major promises made by the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith : “The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light is these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Daystar of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. The One true God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of these words. Exert yourselves that ye may attain this transcendent and most sublime station, the station that can insure the protection and security of all mankind. This goal excelleth every other goal, and this aspiration is the monarch of all aspirations.”

(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 14)

 

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