Thursday, June 22, 2017

Baha'is don't help anyone. They build large buildings and do landscaping.

Then he (Peter Khan) talked about the "completion" of the "Mount Carmel projects." Well, no doubt this was a big accomplishment for a small religious community (there are probably only really about 1.5 or 2 million of us, folks). That is, to be able to spend some $300 million over 15 years on major building projects is remarkable. Of course, a lot of the money came from Gulf Baha'i billionaires. But there was lots of individual sacrifice, too. I can't, however, for the life of me understand what this "accomplishment" has to do with the Baha'i principles. How have we helped humankind by building these terraces? How is anyone's life better? What have we done in the meantime for the poor, the homeless, the persecuted? The national budget of the US community in the 1990s was only about $20 million a year on the average. The Universal House of Justice took an average of $6 million a year from that. It impoverished the US community. It funneled enormous amounts of money to these projects. Local communities were left strapped. And, when one local community expressed its aspiration to build a local Mashriqu'l-Adhkar (house of worship), the UHJ sent agents out to bully these devoted Baha'is and make it clear to them that such a step (which would after all interfere with building terraces in Haifa) was out of the question and they should shut up and sit down, Or Else. Yet `Abdul-Baha commanded the building of local houses of worship, which he said was an urgent goal. And, the problem is that the "projects" are hardly completed. These Baha'i officials in Haifa have thought up loads of building projects. They want to go on spending $20-$30 million a year of our money on these white elephants for the next few centuries. In the meantime, local communities have to sit on the floor of someone's apartment during Feast and the Faith spends almost none of its own money on charity or development. We don't help anyone. We build large buildings and do landscaping. This was the purpose of Baha'u'llah's suffering 40 years in exile??

- Juan Cole

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