Online Baha’i Adult Learning Every Sunday 11 AM EST

Please join our ONLINE meeting this Sunday at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time from your computer, tablet or smartphone by clicking on this button:



Join our online talk on July 5th at 11:00 am EST

This week’s topic:

A brief summary of the status of US Immigration Laws and the bright future of this area of law in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

The ever-escalating draconian US Immigration Laws call humanity to conscientiously look within inwardly, to reevaluate our own individual moral values as to what extent we are willing to forgo decency, and at what price. The statistics of the past several years demonstrate society’s apathy and laxity to these ever-increasing crises facing humanity. The numbness to the devastating effects on society as a whole continues. It is time for us to pause and revisit some of the basics that brought us all to this point in our history. We will reflect on our trajectory into the future, but we must also reflect on our past to realize why and how we reached this unfortunate plight. The USA is a land of immigrants.Considering the rich diversity of the USA, it has become the land of the free and the brave to many of its newest citizens. Many immigrants came to the USA fleeing religious persecution and searching for a brighter future. There was not much of an immigration process in place, and yet we now have the USA that we all live in and call home. We need to reflect as to why the immigration process is becoming so difficult now, to the extent that the USA is closing its borders to countless immigrants. Some of these immigrants are fleeing their homeland for their very lives, and other immigrants have special skills and expertise that are very valuable to advance the interests of the USA.

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The highest administrative body of the Baha’i Faith, The Universal House of Justice, stated in Its letter that the most challenging issue facing the United States is racism and materialism.We can now easily witness the effect of these serious diseases in our nation. The two are interconnected and explicitly affect one another. Sadly some immigrants themselves now have forgotten their own past and espouse the closure of our borders to immigrants in becoming gatekeepers. They joined others with the unfounded fear that immigrants are not vetted and are mostly criminals and that our job safety is at risk with the entry of influx of immigrants. The beauty of our nation is in its rich tapestry of so many diverse cultures and not its uniformity. Yet we see immigrants entering the US with their rich heritage and culture and some forgoing their culture in efforts to assimilate into the American society not realizing that this great American society was built with that richness of its diverse culture. Abdu’l-Bahá, who is the eldest son of the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith, stated “Behold a beautiful garden full of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Each flower has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume, and beautiful color. The trees too, how varied are they in size, in growth, in the foliage — and what different fruits they bear! Yet all these flowers, shrubs and trees spring from the self-same earth, the same sun shines upon them and the same clouds give them rain. So it is with humanity. It is made up of many races, and its peoples are of a different color, white, black, yellow, brown, and red — but they all come from the same God, and all are servants to Him. This diversity among the children of men has unhappily not the same effect as it has among the vegetable creation, where the spirit has shown is more harmonious. Among men exists a diversity of animosity, and it is this that causes war and hatred among the different nations of the world.” Paris Talk Page 51.

 

Baha’u’llah stated that “The well-being of mankind, its peace, and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”

This week’s presenter:

Sepideh Eskandari, Esquire
Speaker Biography: Ms. Sepideh Eskandari, Born in Tehran, Iran, and immigrated to the US at age nine. She has a BA in Communications from the University of Tampa, and JD from Stetson College of Law.  She has been an Immigration Law practitioner from 1996 to the present.  She served as a Florida Bar Investigative member of the Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee for four years, Hearing Officer at St. Petersburg Housing Authority and Pinellas County, appointed to the Board of Trustees at Community Law Program, recipient of 6th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Awards for three consecutive years, and served on the St. Petersburg Interfaith Committee and Local Spiritual Assembly of The Baha’is of St. Petersburg.

Please join our ONLINE meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone by clicking on this button:

The session wil begin at 11 am EST on Sunday

Join our online talk on July 5th at 1:30 pm EST

SESSION FIVE: ‘Islám: the promise of the Torah and the New Testament Apparent contradictions.

Please Register here to attend our Free Online Seminar by Dr. Lameh Fananapazir on July 5th at 1:30 pm EST
and all attendees who cannot obtain a copy of the physical book, “Islam at the Crossroads,” will receive a free copy of the eBook from the Local Spiritual Assembly of Clearwater, Florida, upon request.

Dr. Lameh Fananapazir was born in Iran and spent his youth in Africa. He is a graduate of Edinburgh Medical School. He trained in Cardiology and further specialized in Electrophysiology at Duke Medical Center.

He worked for 15 years as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland studying causes of sudden death in athletes and those with inherited heart conditions. He has published more than 500 scientific papers and has given many presentations at national and international conferences.

He spent two and a half years as Director of Health Services at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel. He currently resides in Cumberland, Maryland where for 11 years he was in practice as a cardiologist and electrophysiologist. Dr. Fananapazir is a Bahá’í who has had a lifelong interest in the study of religion and its impact on the world. He is the author of “Islam at the Crossroads”; which was published in 2015 and examines current issues facing Islam and their potential solutions. He has also recently authored ‘A Companion to the Study of Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.

Session One

The crisis in Islam today and the solution offered by the teachings of Bahá u lláh.

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. —Jeremiah

It is undeniable that Islam is today in a condition of deep crisis. Political upheavals that dominate popular discussion of the subject are no more than surface expressions of a problem of historic dimensions: the inability of Islamic scholars and institutions to reconcile the teachings and perspectives of their Faith with the realities of modernity. Democratic and constitutional government, pluralistic societies, the authority of the sciences, such principles as gender equality and religious freedom, a rapidly integrating world all these familiar features of contemporary civilization pose insurmountable challenges to anyone who attempts to accommodate them to religious guidance laid down fourteen centuries ago for an earlier, much simpler stage in humanity’s social evolution. One sees in contemporary Islam a society desperately searching for and failing always to find, a formula that will make it possible to retain traditional Muslim faith in God while embracing the inescapable requirements of a world beyond the imagination of ages past.

At the same time, millions of Muslims view with feelings of outrage and helplessness the caricature of the Faith they love that aggressive fundamentalism is determined to impose upon it.

Equally significant has been the awakening of European populations to the implications of the presence in their midst of a vast number of Muslim immigrants some now into the third generation who often appear essentially irreconcilable with certain foundational norms of Western culture. Perhaps not surprisingly, this has inspired widespread desire to understand the religious roots of such phenomena, awakening an unprecedented interest in Islamic belief and practice.

Islam at the Crossroads presents extracts drawn primarily from the texts of the Qur án and the Bible to explain the interrelationship between Islam and its sister Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Christianity, as well as the Bahá í Faith, the most recent link in the chain of religions capable of responding to the process of transformation in which the entire world is today caught up. The format illustrates the progressive pattern and integral coherence of the divine Revelations as constituents of one common faith and demonstrates the principle that God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us, and, specifically, to followers of Islam, through Bahá u lláh.

Globalization and modernity, far from being alien to the Faith taught in the Qur án, are thus rather a fulfillment of it, both spiritually and practically. Clearly, Muslims have as much right to this common heritage of humankind as do the people of any other religious background.

Within the Bahá í community, much emphasis is placed on the importance of Western Bahá ís undertaking a serious study of Islam, using for the purpose sources that are authoritative and unbiased. This book examines the criteria offered by the teachings of Bahá u lláh for the validity of the Mission of the Prophet Muhammad, and some of the reasons why Islam and its fortunes are directly dependent on submission to God s Will and following His Straight Path in this day and age.

Session Two

Excessive reliance on religious leaders for guidance, Investigation rather than imitation, Criteria by which we can recognize the truth, Essentials of Faith and non-permanent aspects of religion

Session Three

Objections to earlier prophets, including Prophet Muhammad, Objections to Bahá’u’lláh – accusations of causing mischief and warring against Alláh

Session Four

Exclusivity and finality in Judaism (the Torah), in Christianity and Islám

While you’re waiting for the live session, you can review our previous Online Classes