CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland
Issue 96 - 1 Kamál 161 BE - 1 August 2004 CE




Beman Khosravi, who has just returned from the latest Parliament of the World’s Religions, held in Barcelona 7—13 July, writes:

The first Parliament of the World's Religions was held in 1893 ( one year after the passing of Bahá'u'lláh ) in Chicago and the Faith was mentioned in an address by a Christian clergyman. The Bahá'í input at this latest Parliament, the fourth to be held, was significantly greater with several keynote speakers being Bahá'ís and many friends attending in their capacities as members of inter-faith and other organisations. The event was a vibrant and colourful spectacle with over 7,000 delegates from 75 countries.

Each morning the participants could choose to go to a different devotional and then with twenty lectures running simultaneously there was ample variety of subjects to suit all interests. Subjects included peace, unity, spirituality, and religious pluralism and were presented from many different perspectives. In addition there were arts performances and information booths. The Bahá'í booth offered a range of literature and an impressive and inspiring power point presentation. Three Bahá'ís , from Italy, Botswana and the United States represented the Faith in a panel discussion on “Religions and Religious Unity”, lectures were delivered on various subjects: Parliament participants joined the Bahá'ís in commemorating the Martyrdom of the Bab on 9 July.

Four members of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum were invited to give a session on Pathways to Peace. The Bahá'í delegate spoke about how the Faith contributes to the peace process in Northern Ireland and read a prayer for peace at the close of the session.

There are about eighty Bahá'ís living in Barcelona and every night of the Parliament they held public meetings in their large and beautiful centre in the heart of the city.

At the plenary session of the Parliament it was agreed that the followers of each religion while reading their own scriptures should endeavour to see the common thread in all faiths, the points of agreement and unity. In addition they should seek to separate the man-made ideas and rituals from the true teachings given by the Prophets.