Hossain B. Danesh Seminar on Baha’i Marriage and Family

It is deeply troubling to see the National Assembly of Canada continue to promote Hossain B. Danesh. He is provided with official Baha’i venues, promoted through official channels and presented as a leading figure to the community in the very field from which he was expelled because of sexual misconduct towards his patients.

Hossain DaneshTo those unfamiliar with the history, Hossain Danesh was a psychiatrist practicing in Canada as well as a long time member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada from the 1980′s to early 1990′s. He was Secretary General of the NSA for many of those years.

Multiple patients brought charges of sexual misconduct against Hossain Banadaki Danesh. The result of the investigation and procedure was that in 1994 the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons along with Hossain Danesh and the victims came to an out of court agreement. This agreement resulted in Danesh being stripped of his membership in that organization as well as losing his legal rights to practice as a psychiatrist and the forfeiting of any future application for re-entry into same. As well, Danesh agreed to pay $10,000 towards the costs of therapy for the three former patients. Danesh did not admit to any of the charges as part of the out of court settlement, which is normal for these sorts of things.

Throughout the process Danesh was allowed to maintain his membership in the NSA and he only resigned his membership because he had been gifted a new cushy job as head of the newly established Baha’i university, Landegg Academy, in Switzerland. Danesh was shipped off across the ocean, away from the scandal and safely nestled into this new job. Unfortunately the gig didn’t last long as Danesh’s management and leadership sank Landegg into a sea of debt.

Now that Hossein Danesh is back in Canada, the ‘old boy’ network, of which he was a ranking member, has continued to promote him in the very field in which he disgraced himself. In the past few years he has been repeatedly promoted by the institutions for seminars such as “Healthy Marriage and Family Life” and “Shaping our Destiny: An Open Forum for Youth and Young Adults”. The latest will be April 15th at the Toronto Baha’i Center:

Reflections on the Baha’i Concept of Suffering

The talk will address suffering as often encountered in marriages and families these days and is suitable for both Baha’is and any interested friends. There will be time for questions and answers that permit exploring the many dimensions and experiences that frequently come up in relation to this topic. We are looking into making arrangements for simultaneous translation into Persian.

For those who may not know him, Dr. Danesh is an author, international lecturer and consultant, with more than thirty five years of academic and clinical experience as a psychiatrist and peace educator.

If someone is going to give a seminar on weight loss, you would balk if they waddled onto the stage, wheezing from the exertion of having to cart their massively obese form around. It is as ludicrous to have a man who was disgraced and thrown out of his profession for sexual misconduct to give a seminar on relationships.

Why is Danesh given the star treatment? why are seminars arranged for him? why are these community events promoted heavily by the NSA in Baha’i communities through official Baha’i channels? why is the truth about his past hidden? why is he referred to as a “psychiatrist” when he does not have the legal right to use that title?

To be clear this issue is not a personal one with Hossain Danesh. Rather it is about the nature of the community that we wish to develop and the values which we want to uphold and present to the world at large. It is wrong for the NSA of Canada to promote Danesh to a position of trust within the community for topics like family, relationships, and marriage simply because he was the quintessential insider. By doing so they are communicating that they are more aligned with personal ‘network’ connections and less so with the animating spirit and values of the Baha’i Faith. They are demonstrating that they value “Danesh’s” prestige more than they value the community itself.

  • Fubar

    This is the xxxpected behavior in a dysfunctional organization that ritually abuses its followers.

  • Justice

    While we don’t know the truth of the matter it is a slap in the face as it seems his career should have gone into another field rather than be in the one that questions his credibility.

    Personally it reminds me of the promotion of an Auxiliary Board Member (M. Rayhani) to Continental Board of Counselors by the Universal House of Justice after she refused to allow 36 Aborigines who had been studying the Baha’i Faith for one year to join the Faith. After-all, who wanted the Indigenous people of Australia to become a force in the Faith in their own Country.

    I think the movie ‘Thrive’ explains why these people are kept in “position” – follow the money trail which is alive and well within the Baha’i Faith – and the money trail wants specific outcomes. It wasn’t just the meager donations from believers that could pay for the edifices on Mt. Carmel as there are many investments assisting that process. The corruption is rife and the hypocrisy worse.

  • Craig Parke

    Thanks to the great success of Suzanne Collins’s three novels on the deranged dystopian society in “The Hunger Games”  and the great success of the first film to come from the three books (supposedly six films will be made from the trilogy by 2016) the mystery of this kind of behavior seems to be Topic A in many places these days as to why “PanemMIC$achs” type organizations keep happening because the entire human race seems to be both individual and collective cowards who just won’t stand up to these kinds of people and organizations that seemingly always attract them to the top with mathematical precision. In the quest to understand how these things always seem to happen it appears elderly Polish psychiatrist Andrzej M. Lobaczewski has become a luminary with his long suppressed book on “Political Ponerology”.

    “Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole
    life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action
    you had taken.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Political-Ponerology-Science-Adjusted-Purposes/dp/1897244258

    The human race has to start understanding this and dealing very severely with it. Especially since we now have invented both tract housing with possible psychopaths next door and atomic weapons among nation states with unstable leaders with massive personality problems.

    Bueller?

    Bueller?

    Anyone?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoUT7q2iTbQ

  • Justice

    Well Craig thanks for telling us about the Politics of Ponerology. I knew as a youngster the System of Things was going down the drain; but then I heard about the Baha’i System, which, at that juncture, gave me hope (bait and switch) – even though I knew about the Games People Play Now (they come right up to ya, singing Glory Hallelujah, and then sock it to ya, in the name of the Lord).

    When the Baha’i System showed it’s ugly head (Politics of Ponerology – or study of Evil) dudring the last hijack, I knew it was time to jump ship and start working on building the New Earth Energy for those that didn’t want to go down the drain (messed over by deviants in leadership positions).

    The New Earth Paradigm is the alternative society needed, rather than confronting the Ponerous One, of which the Baha’i Organization has partnered with in these later days. Bringing the Ponerous stuff to zero energy is just a natural occurring event of building a healthy alternative on a connected grid in harmony with Source Will.

  • Craig Parke

    “…they come right up to ya, singing Glory Hallelujah, and then sock it to ya, in the name of the Lord…”

    What can anyone say? This indeed seems to be the “Law and the Prophets” these days. THAT was pretty much it coming out of this pathetic just now ending loser World Age. The “bait and switch” on very good and earnest people (I was once one myself for decades) as you say was truly of Biblical proportions. We can only hope that the people of the world will eventually get up off their knees and start to understand the psychologies involved. Never, never, never give power in any way shape or form to psychopaths. Especially in systems of institutionally entrenched psychopaths.who are NEVER confronted by a mentally soft and compliant rank and file.

    “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a
    people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as
    paradise.” ― Adolf HitlerLife is tough and it only gets tougher The entire fate of the human race now depends on critical thinking skills .worldwide. Things are not looking good.http://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=24763Best to you!
     
    .

  • Frank Neubrand

    I think it is horrible to post such a blog without knowing the fact in person.  I can only say we took the class on marriage development and are very thankful we did. It has set a great moral standard wich has helped us to realize what phases a marriage can go through. I think other people should take the course as well and find out how to plan and go into a marriage  and hopefully avoid all the divorces. secondly who of the peopel in the blog were in Landegg? who knows what caused Landegg to fail ( in person) ? I was ther and I can tell you it was not Dr. Danesh’s fault. I think it is outrageous taht people who call themselves Baha’is in good standing go out and backbite and spread rumors of things they themselves have not experianced . I can only say that we always witnessed Dr Danesh as a very knowing caring and nice Person. And this from someone who worked with him in Landegg for nearly 2 years. So who would be the one eligible to post a opinion about another person in a blog? Have you met Dr Danesh? have you taken the course? Do you actually read the writings? Because I can’t find anything in them that would excuse such a vicious behavior toward another person.

    Frank N 

  • Baquia

    Frank, as I wrote above this is not personal. While it does involve one single individual, the issue is much broader and more important than that. I’m sure that people have had positive interactions with Danesh but it doesn’t negate his history, why he was moved hurriedly out of Canada, etc. You claim that I am spreading “rumors” – can you please point out where exactly you find anything but facts in the above article? It is also disingenuous to credit the head of an organization with its success but not hold the same accountable for its failure.

  • Frank Neubrand

    Well he way you write the article points into certain directions that you have no proof for. For example. can you prove that he was sent to Landegg for that reason? Or was i planned earlier? Can you prove, who was responsible that Landegg failed? He wasn’t the CFO  He was only responsible for the institute pat not the facility or the hotel.  these are facts you dont know of  and still you write ” Danesh’s management and leadership sank Landegg into a sea of debt” he was naot the manager. So where are your FACTS? .Landegg was doomed even before Dr Danesh arrived. Can you prove he did, what was brought against him? Might there be the possibility of some intent from others? During his say in Landegg there was not even the slightest hint of such behavior. so did you gather the facts yourself? or is this hear-say combined with some opinion and a negative undertone?  I don’t understand how you can write things about people you have not personally met or were present when the issue or what is accused happened.

  • Barbruthw

     Baquia,

    To try to clarify the situation in my own mind, I asked my husband Gary, who is a physician, what he thought of this record of events, and he is going to make a reply here in his own words:

    “Sometimes a respondent in a lawsuit will agree to a settlement solely to end an expensive and stressful legal proceeding, even though the respondent is not guilty of the accusations.  However, medical boards and licensing agencies do not remove physicians’ licenses unless there is proof of wrongdoing severe enough that mere probation and/or remedial education is not considered adequate to rectify the behavior. I have never heard of a physician voluntarily surrendering her or his license to terminate a lawsuit.” 

  • Frank Neubrand

    Baquia,
    You still have no proof of anything. Facts are based on proof. None of these so called facts you can prove.  What you are writing is an opinion. You are also discrediting a person based on information you have not verified.  That is backbiting in its highest form. 
    Back to my question: where in the writings does it allow such a behavior on your side.  You see yourself in such good standing and point the finger at others isn’t this  a blunt proof you are no better than the people you are trying to point out without proof.
    Wasn’t the base of your message, a person who did something wrong should not be walking around promoting the correct behavior. Well aren’t  you doing exactly that? Backbiting without poof and seeing yourself as a Baha’i in good standing pointing the finger at others ?

    What if ,I started spreading “facts” or “opinions” you were writing blogs and I had heard you were being adulterous and on drugs, how else could one write such a blog for example.  I had read it somewhere or so , or someone in a conference told me. Would that be any different to your way of acting?

    If I had such “facts” ,  the issues should be brought to the NSA  or the UHJ not into a blog. 

    To Babruthw,
    Just not having heard of such a case does not mean there is no such case.  Where are the FACTS. Who was there? These are all opinions.
    I could also say: I have never heard of Baha’is in good standing write such a blog and publicly backbite on others. So does this make everyone in the blog a covenant breaker?

  • Barbruthw

     Calm, calm,  Frank.  The legal case of Mr. Danesh has been a matter of public record – Baha’i institutions are not refuting that.  The question is, whether a person who lost his license over such charges should be promoted by Baha’i institutions as a representative in the area of Baha’i marriage and family life, considering the nature of the charges brought against him and which resulted in loss of his license.  This is akin to the Catholic Church moving priests who had committed sexual offenses to other areas, and letting them continue to operate freely in a position of trust when they had already betrayed that trust.

    Covenant breaking is a very serious charge – you should educate yourself as to the exact definition of covenant breaking before you start tossing it around in an effort to discredit folks here.  One does not need to have been present at a legal proceeding which is a matter of public record in order to discuss it.  And the fact that a medical professional has never heard of a case of a colleague voluntarily surrendering their license after the many years of education and hard work to attain it, does not mean that such a thing could not occur – we are speaking, rather, of the likelihood of such a thing occurring.

    You are understandably upset because this case is disturbing – it disturbs all of us.  One does not want to accept such knowledge regarding someone revered.  Again, this is very similar to the feelings of devout Catholics who had a very hard time realizing the human frailty of their beloved priests.  What is most disturbing to me is that many Baha’is seem to have such a hard time accepting that Baha’is are human beings, subject to the frailties of all human beings, and less than honorable behavior does occur among Baha’is from time to time.  Shutting one’s eyes to that fact is not helpful.  The worst thing about the Catholic scandal regarding priests was not, in my view, what some of the priests had done; it was, rather, the fact that Catholic authorities covered it up, and had such a lack of confidence in the ability of the church to absorb and deal with such a reality, that they were willing to put other children at risk, to make an appearance that all was well in the priesthood.  This was the real crime.

  • FrankN

    Well then  contact the authorities if you have  a problem with it. What bothers me is that a lot of the things sad in the blog part not true. The part about Landegg is not true, I know that because i was there.  The reason for Dr Danesh to go to Landegg is a assumption not a fact.  No what bothers me is the fact that is is backbiting one of the worst things to be doing. No matter who it is addressed to. The way this issue is being put into public is far wors than what Dr Danesh is accused of doing in this blog. If someone has a problem with hm follow the correct form of action . bring it to the LSA,NSA or UHJ. 
    Furthermore the course Danesh is teaching is really good. Has anyone here taken it to be able to judge it.  I thing it is incredibly hypocritical to make the point ”
    If someone is going to give a seminar on weight loss, you would balk if
    they waddled onto the stage, wheezing from the exertion of having to
    cart their massively obese form around. It is as ludicrous to have a man
    who was disgraced and thrown out of his profession for sexual
    misconduct to give a seminar on relationships.”
     by puttng themselves on a high moral stand and on the other hand doing on of the worst things that can be done backbiting. this is what bothers me . People trying to set different standards for their own action. Pointing their finger at others and doing even worse themselves.
    By the way, does a coach have to be better than his athlete ? I know of many cases where  the messenger does not stick to his message, but it still is a good message( for others).
    And i guess i hit a nerve with m comparison earlier, and yes I know what a covenant breaker is. I did not accuse anyone of such I just used the same form of judgment  and assumptions as the blog is using to make a point.  
    And by the way the priests example is wrong. Who is Dr Danesh hurting by teaching a really good course on marriage development.  In the cases with the priests,  they were continuing  their bad habits. Teaching a class on marriage development in my opinion is doing the  opposite of what Dr Danesh was accused of doing.
    Do me a favor take the course and judge the course before judging the person. We took  in Landegg prejudice free and it formed our  great 13 year and counting marriage.

  • SueB9

    Abuse of anyone is horrific. Sexual misconduct of someone in a position of power over vulnerable others is reprehensible.  There are many possibilities as to what happened. One being that Dr. Danesh himself has a mental illness that was undiagnosed and untreated at the time. This is not to excuse his behavior, it is to say that people can make horrible mistakes while in a mental health crisis. Mental illness is treatable. As to whether he should teach a class that addresses marriage and crisis and growth within that union; I think if he uses himself as an example of crisis and recovery this may be worthwhile. Has anyone asked those who were abused their thoughts and feelings on his reentry into the greater Baha’i community? Let the Canadian Baha’i Community vote with their feet and with their complaints to the LSA/NSA. 

  • SueB9

    I think that anyone who may have issue with Dr. Danesh should address it with him directly. This is his history and reputation. 

  • Craig Parke

    “Let the Canadian Baha’i Community vote with their feet and with their complaints to the LSA/NSA. ”

    Indeed in the U.S. Baha’i Community thousands of long time very dedicated Baha’is have VOTED WITH THEIR FEET in this top down lifetime incumbent Admin-O-Strosity farce.

    Secondly, where does this impulse come from among “Baha’is” to continuously take “courses” on things you are supposed to know how to do because you have a PULSE? Like how to be married, how to raise your children, how to eat with a fork, how to wipe your own a** after you take a dump? The Ruhi abomination was the ultimate desecration of human dignity in the Baha’i Faith.

    The lifetime incumbent class incestuous cult think criminal psychopaths running this current system completely destroyed the once great supernal potential of the Baha’i Faith for centuries for millions on Earth. I am sure the current mind bending cowardly worldwide rank and file would passively accept this man being elected to the UHJ without a thought or an investigation into anything if his cronies gave him that chance. The Faith was hijacked by automaton massive morons and cowards long ago.

    There will be NO PLANETARY CIVILIZATION set up by ANYONE or evolved by ANYONE in this New World Age Cycle until everyone on Earth in every nation, government, political party, financial mecca, corporate business organization, and ORGANIZED RELIGION (Tm)  is completely familiar with the ideas and concepts in this book and practices them in a voting booth in every election they ever face. The Baha’i Faith will be dead in the water for decades and centuries until this happens. But it eventually will happen everywhere on Earth including the now spiritually indolent and lazy completely passive Baha’i Faith. The power of the Internet for self education cannot be stopped by anyone. or any organization on Earth now. All bets are off. Rejoice! The Promised Day has indeed come! People like this as documented in this book are goping to be stopped with a retaliatory fist at last! No more! people are going to be wise to the game and are just not going to stand for it anymore across the planet in every society and religion

    “POLITICAL PONEROLOGY (A SCIENCE ON THE NATURE OF EVIL ADJUSTED FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES)”
    http://www.amazon.com/Political-Ponerology-Science-Adjusted-Purposes/dp/1897244258

  • http://bahainmoscow.blogspot.com/ Anton

    Hi, I agree
    with Frank. This particular post looks more like backbiting than justified critique
    of the institutions.

    I know that
    Mr.Danesh met with Russian NSA in 1999 and conducted a seminar on consultation
    for its members. They were happy with him.

  • http://justabahai.wordpress.com/ SonjavanK

    It is shocking to read this Baquia. That on April 15th 2012, the Toronto Baha’i Center hosted public talk by a Bahai with a public record of sexual misconduct on the topic of marriage. Surely this would bring the Bahai community into disrepute. 
      
    (see these newspaper links; “Psychiatrist cuts deal on sex assault charges
    The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has withdrawn charges of sexual impropriety against a psychiatrist who is the past secretary general of the Baha’i faith in Canada. …” ( The Ottawa Citizen, 27 April 1994) “Sex charges withdrawn when psychiatrist resigns ….Charges were withdrawn against Dr. Hossain Banadaki Danesh in exchange for Danesh’s immediate resignation and his “written undertaking not to reapply for another licence to practice medicine in Ontario or to apply to practice medicine anywhere else, at any time.”  (Toronto Star, 26 April 1994) ”  ) 
    Admittedly his misconduct was settled out of court and so one could claim that he wasn’t proven guilty but no professional would agree to give up the rights to ever practice again, unless there were serious allegations. Surely the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons would not have made a claim against him if these claims of sexual misconduct were not valid. Yes nearly twenty have passed by and people shouldn’t be condemned for past behaviour if they have shown that they have changed. However if someone was found, as an accountant to be stealing money, would any Baha’i institute be wise in giving them a job as a treasurer? Or worse promoting him at public talks as an expert and person of trust on the topic of ‘gifts to fund’?The Bahai community of Canada in supporting and promoting his public talks on relationships and marriage would certainly give the Faith a bad name in the eyes of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, let alone any of the journalists involved in the case or for any one aware of why his lost his licence to practise as a psychiatrist. It would show to these people and in particular to those who suffered by his misconduct, that the Baha’is do not care about moral standards when it comes to prominent individuals in their midst.Someone questioned the relationship of his appointment to run the Landegg Academy in Switzerland with this scandal. This newspaper article states: “…is still a member of the governing council for the Baha’i faith of Canada, Filson said. Danesh is one of nine elected members on that council. He resigns that position effective this Saturday, April 30, prior to a move to Switzerland within the next two months, where he will accept an academic post, Filson said.”  (Toronto Star, 26 April 1994) link: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahai/1999/danesh.htm)I think the actual appointment was later because I was at Landegg in Dec 1994 at the last event coordinated by professional staff and he was introduced to the stage as the newly appointed director. All administrative staff had been fired in late 1994 and told that they could only remain working as volunteers in line with the new policy of Landegg (I have no idea if this was something Dr. Danesh implemented or not). The new policy for the Landegg staff was to be unpaid. I assume in that case, most likely he was appointed to Landegg, because 1) now he has lost his licence to practise in Canada 2) someone had invited him to this position, and perhaps it was an unpaid position.I would not go as far as to say that he ran Landegg to the ground because I am sure that there were many factors involved, but it is a shame that an institute that was functioning as a place for a variety of Bahai related activities, now no longer exists.However now he is back in Canada and it is shameful that the N.S.A. of Canada supported a series of seminars he gave on marriage, relationships and directed at youth in 2010 (http://bahairants.com/hossain-danesh-heavily-promoted-by-nsa-1048.html) and now it seems they are continuing to support him as a Bahai spokesperson on these topics. Incidently Baquia, I came across this 2007 blog of yours about an Italian treasurer. http://bahairants.com/financial-scandal-rocks-italian-bahai-community-209.htmlWhen I chose the analogy of the corrupt accountant, I didn’t think that there would actually be an example of such a scandal in the Bahai community and reading your blog, I agree in that case, and this one here, the lack of transparency and accountability is what made things worse. A much less severe incident happened in New Zealand where a member of the NSA moved funds from one allocation to another and when discovered lost her voting rights as well as her membership of the NSA. The New Zealand Bahai community was informed of this and I was very impressed by the NSA’s openness. In being frank with the whole community I think they stopped half-truths circulating along with the denials some would make. By informing the community of the situation the NSA of New Zealand nipped this in the bud and I for one would welcome that person at any event, knowing that she would be aware that what she did was wrong and we all knew of this. I do not see this type of accountability in the way Dr. Danesh is being promoted as a speaker in the Canadian Bahai community.

  • http://justabahai.wordpress.com/ SonjavanK

    A friend made this comment b.t.w.: “NSA of Canada probably had no grounds for removing Hossain from the NSA. After all, the charges of sexual improprietry against him were dealt with by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and were withdrawn by the college as a result of an agreed-on settlement in which Hossain did not have to admit guilt abut did have to give up practicing medicine. The issue now is that Hossain is being given assistance by the NSA to “practice medicine” in the Bahai community”

  • http://www.facebook.com/ali.rohi.96 Ali Rohi

    Dr. Danesh never been convicted of any crime at any court of law. Therefore it is not fair to judge him and all other words about him is nonsense …

  • AmadodeDios

    “Contact the auhorities” – oh, come now! One point here is that “the
    authorities” are the good-ol’-boy circuit who are perpetrating the
    embarrassing behavior! A starry-eyed neophyte can trust blindly that the
    wise people on “the Institutions” will judge fairly – when one has
    tried to deal with committees of incompetents who think they are guided
    by God (and anyone who disagrees is un-holy!) one soon loses any
    illusion that “the authorities” are going to clean up their own act. Our
    Bahai Administration that we are so proud of lacks a whole area of
    mechanisms for self-cleaning, such as honest disclosure of personal
    records (Right to Information), any ombudsman function, any protection
    (rather than persecution) for whistle-blowers, etc.