From September 6 through September 10, using large trucks and bulldozers, a number of unknown individuals destroyed and excavated the Baha’i Cemetery of Najafabad and Vilashahr [near Isfahan]. The cemetery, which belongs to the Baha’is of Najafabad and Vilashahr, and which is known as Gulestan Javid [“eternal garden”], is situated about 9 miles from Najafabad. This land was given to the Baha’is of Najafabad and Vilashahr in the winter of 1995; it has been attacked 18 times since them. It has been reported that 119 graves are located in this cemetery – 95 are in the first section and 24 more are in the second section. According to reports by eyewitnesses, when Baha’is visited the cemetery on Thursday, September 10, 2009, they were confronted with a destroyed cemetery and excavated land. The entire first section and portions of section 2 of this cemetery had been excavated, and large craters and earth-mounds were created. In some segments, the earth had been removed to the depth of over a yard, and in other segments earth had been brought in from other areas and piled up in long rows as high as 10 yards. Moreover, parking lots located on the northern and southern parts of cemetery were also excavated up to 35 yards from the graves, and large craters and mounds were created in them. It should be noted that tracks from bulldozers and large trucks were clearly evident throughout the cemetery and surrounding land. In addition, the remains of previously destroyed facilities that had included water tanks were taken away from the property. It should be noted that the previous Baha’i cemetery of this region was thoroughly destroyed and eradicated in 1984.
People’s spiritual beliefs influence their attitude toward climate change, with religious groups increasingly helping to frame humanity’s response to environmental issues. That was one of the messages from a session at the 33rd annual conference of the Association for Baha’i Studies, held in mid-August in Washington. The gathering drew nearly 1,000 participants from some 20 countries. The theme of the conference was “Environments,” and one of the plenary speakers was Peter G. Brown, a geography professor at McGill University in Montreal who has participated in the Moral Economy Project of the Quaker Institute for the Future. Dr. Brown said the current economic paradigm is bringing mayhem to the planet and that people need to learn to think of themselves as citizens, not consumers. “We need a different image of ourselves,” he said – an image that sees humanity as part of a long “co-evolutionary” process. Rather than asking how to better exploit the earth’s resources, humanity should be asking how to live with an ethic of respect and reciprocity for all life, he said. Society’s concept of morality is too limited, he continued, suggesting that a moral framework must be applied to systems, not just to individuals. “We have not been able to connect our scientific knowledge with our moral systems,” he noted. A Baha’i speaker, Peter Adriance, described how religious groups and faith communities are increasingly collaborating with the environmental movement. He quoted Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-founder of the Forum on Religion and Ecology, as saying that “no other group of institutions can wield the particular moral authority of the religions.” Mr. Adriance listed a dozen initiatives by various groups that focus on spiritual or moral aspects of creating a sustainable environment.
The Baha’i writings are full of beautiful prayers for many different events-such as marriage-
O Thou kind Lord! These are Thy servants who have gathered in this meeting, have turned unto Thy kingdom and are in need of Thy bestowal and blessing. O Thou God! Manifest and make evident the signs of Thy oneness which have been deposited in all the realities of life. Reveal and unfold the virtues which Thou hast made latent and concealed in these human realities.
O God! We are as plants, and Thy bounty is as the rain; refresh and cause these plants to grow through Thy bestowal. We are Thy servants; free us from the fetters of material existence. We are ignorant; make us wise. We are dead; make us alive. We are material; endow us with spirit. We are deprived; make us the intimates of Thy mysteries. We are needy; enrich and bless us from Thy boundless treasury. O God! Resuscitate us; give us sight; give us hearing; familiarize us with the mysteries of life, so that the secrets of Thy kingdom may become revealed to us in this world of existence and we may confess Thy oneness. Every bestowal emanates from Thee; every benediction is Thine.
Thou art mighty. Thou art powerful. Thou art the Giver, and Thou art the Ever-Bounteous.