Montreal, May 24, 2018 – In a packed synagogue of several hundred members of Jewish Community, guests, members of Canadian Parliament and Ministers of Government, the Message of Unity of Humankind, declared by Bahá’u’lláh, was proclaimed.

The occasion was the Celebration of 70th year of existence of the State of Israel and the services that this nation has rendered to the Global Community. The Public Affairs of Montreal and Norman Simon's Canadians for Coexistence in co-operation with Congregation Shomrim Laboker presented an evening of civil society celebrating the civilization of Israel. The participants and presenters included diplomats, elected officials from all levels of government, journalists, social activists, businessmen and cultural and faith community leaders. It was a once in a generation gathering of best and brightest speaking from the heart on what the example of Israel has meant to them. Among the speakers there were:
-       Israeli Consul General David Levy
-       US Consul Robert Dhalke
-       Romanian Consul General Ioana Costache
-       The Hon. David Kilgour, PC, former Secretary of State for Central Europe and the Middle East
-       The Hon. Maxime Bernier,PC, MP, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
-       The Hon. Kathleen Weil, MNA, Minister responsible for relations with Anglophone Quebecers
-       Sen.Leo Housakos, former Speaker of the Senate
-       The Hon. Gerry Weiner, PC, former Minister of Immigration
-       David Birnbaum, MNA and Parliamentary Assistant to Premier Couillard
-       Marvin Rotrand, Dean of Montreal City Council
-       Mary Deros, City Council member and former Deputy Mayor of Montreal

The two members of External Affairs of the Bahá’í Community of Montreal presented the historic relationship of the Faith with Israel starting with the following famous quote of Bahá’u’lláh addressed to Professor Edward Granville Browne of Cambridge University in April 1890:
"… That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled — what harm is there in this? … Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come.… Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind."

It was mentioned that Bahá’u’lláh who was expelled to the Holy Land through “successive banishments, culminating in His exile to the Turkish penal colony of Acre in Israel, and His subsequent death, and burial in its vicinity…” – therefore the Bahá’í Faith joined Judaism, Christianity and Islam which for centuries have recognized the Holy Land as sacred.

In 1891, Baha’u’llah designated Mount Carmel as the site for the world headquarters of His Faith. He also directed that the remains of the Báb, the Herald of the Faith and a Prophet in His own right, be buried on Mount Carmel. (1819-1850).

In 1892 Baha’u’llah passed away in a mansion on the outskirts of Akko and was buried nearby, His Shrine thereby becoming the most holy place on earth for Baha’is.

In 1953, the golden-domed, white marble superstructure was erected over the mausoleum of the Báb, completing the Shrine that is the second holiest place for Bahá'ís.

Over the years, Bahá'ís have built a series of gardens, encompassing other holy monuments, as well as other administrative buildings in the Haifa/ Acre area. All are funded entirely by contributions from the worldwide Bahá'í community.

Two years after the end of World War 2, the British Mandate was coming to an end and the newly born United Nations appointed a special committee on Palestine to look at the future of the land. In response to an inquiry by the committee’s chairman as to the religious interest of the Bahá’ís, some unique characteristics of the Faith’s position in the Holy Land was brought to their attention.

It is in the soil of this land “that the three central Figures of our religion are buried”, referring to Baha’u’llah, the Bab, and to Baha’u’llah’s son, Abdu’l-Baha. The Holy land “is not only the centre of Bahá’í pilgrimages from all over the world but also the permanent seat of its Administrative Order.”

The controversial topic of the future political status of the Holy Land was addressed as follows: “Our aim is the establishment of universal peace in this world and our desire to see justice prevail in every domain of human society, including the domain of politics.

As many of the adherents of our Faith are of Jewish and Moslem extraction we have no prejudice towards either of these groups and are most anxious to reconcile them for their mutual benefit and for the good of the country.”

The Baha’is are grateful that the government of Israel acknowledged and permanently safeguarded the independence of the Faith, its right to manage its international affairs from that area, and the right of Bahá’ís from every country to visit it as pilgrims.

“It must be remembered that the only oriental notable of any standing whatsoever who had not fled from Palestine before the War of Independence was Shoghi Effendi, the Head of the Bahá’í Faith in 1948. This fact was not lost upon the authorities of the new State [of Israel],”
“One of [the Jewish independence movement’s] first acts when the World War was still going on, had been to place a notice on the Shrine of Baha’u’llah – much more isolated than the Shrines in Haifa – stating that it was a Lieu Saint or ‘Holy Place’, thus ensuring that it would be treated with respect by all Jews.”
The Baha’i World Centre, with some 700-volunteer staff from around the world, is a symbol of the unity of humanity, and provides an example of how people of diverse national and religious backgrounds can come together in harmony and work for the peace and prosperity of the world.

The city of Haifa and the government of Israel have welcomed the Bahá'í presence and the beautification on the Mt Carmel. The former Mayor of Haifa, Amram Mitzna, wrote that the completed Gardens and Terraces for the Shrine of the Báb offer "unforgettably stunning panorama" for the "appreciation of all beauty lovers."

Several speakers including Israeli Consul General David Levy, referred to the presence of the Bahá’ís in the Holy Land and acknowledged its contribution to peace and harmony in Israel.

At the reception which followed, Norman Simon who was the principle organizer of the event, received an information kit about the Bahá’í Faith. Many interfaith representatives welcomed the Bahá’ís and invited them to their future events


Bahá'í Center


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Montreal Shrine


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