Why We Don’t Have Peace in the Middle East

Ever wonder why we just don’t seem to ever get traction in attempts to enable peace in the Middle East? Why is it that hate and violence rules the day?

Take a look at this short clip from a children’s show produced by a tv station backed by Hamas. It depicts Farfour, a Mickey Mouse ripoff that is killed by a Jew:

How can we expect anything but cycles of violence when children are brainwashed this way? In fact, if peace does break out it would be the most shocking thing. Miraculous even.

Until this cycle is broken, no manner of conferences, no amount of UN resolutions and no external pressure will ever produce a lasting peace. [sigh] Here’s hoping a miracle does happen. I’m so saddened when I think about how little, innocent minds are indoctrinated this way.

I’ve contacted the tv station to see if Farfour will make another appearance from Heaven with his quota of 72 furry mouse virgins. No word yet. But stay tuned.

  • Miranda Winterstad

    Why don’t we have peace at Wikipedia? I just read this:

    A swedish Wikipedia user, we can call her Sandra, has been suspended from the Swedish Wikipedia after moving a photo of Bah??’u’ll??h from the top of the article to the end of the article about Bah??’u’ll??h. She did this after trying in six months to get in touch with the excelsior Wikipedia administrator who first put the image there. Sandra enforces that the board for Wikimedia (Wikipedia’s media agency) has told her that such an agreement has been decided inernationally. However only 15 minutes after that she had moved the image to the end of the article she was expelled from writing on The Swedish Wikipedia.

    According to The Baha’i-faith pictures of Bah??’u’ll??h shall only be looked at in the shrine in Bahji in Israel. Despite this, Wikipedia has been spreading a picture all over the world in articles about Bah??’u’ll??h in most languages. However, the English Wikipedia and many other have moved the picture of Bah??’u’ll??h from the top to the end of the articles. And in many languages there is a warning and a text which explains why Bah??’u’ll??hs face not shall be showed.

    Sandra isn’t a bahai-believer, but member of Amnesty and a fighter for human rights and religious tolerance. She has been taking an active interest in Wikipedias harassment of the Baha’i faith because of justice grounds. Wikipedia dares not expose a painting or picture because of Mohammed, The prophet of Islam. Then should Wikipedia also respect The image ban of the Baha’i faith, has Sandra claimed. Another reason for Sandras engagement in the question is that she not think that the atheists who control Wikipedia have a moral right to avoid harassment of another religion. The atheism is also a religion, says Sandra, and that religion rules Wikipedia

  • Miranda Winterstad

    Why don’t we have peace at Wikipedia? I just read this:

    A swedish Wikipedia user, we can call her Sandra, has been suspended from the Swedish Wikipedia after moving a photo of Bah??’u’ll??h from the top of the article to the end of the article about Bah??’u’ll??h. She did this after trying in six months to get in touch with the excelsior Wikipedia administrator who first put the image there. Sandra enforces that the board for Wikimedia (Wikipedia’s media agency) has told her that such an agreement has been decided inernationally. However only 15 minutes after that she had moved the image to the end of the article she was expelled from writing on The Swedish Wikipedia.

    According to The Baha’i-faith pictures of Bah??’u’ll??h shall only be looked at in the shrine in Bahji in Israel. Despite this, Wikipedia has been spreading a picture all over the world in articles about Bah??’u’ll??h in most languages. However, the English Wikipedia and many other have moved the picture of Bah??’u’ll??h from the top to the end of the articles. And in many languages there is a warning and a text which explains why Bah??’u’ll??hs face not shall be showed.

    Sandra isn’t a bahai-believer, but member of Amnesty and a fighter for human rights and religious tolerance. She has been taking an active interest in Wikipedias harassment of the Baha’i faith because of justice grounds. Wikipedia dares not expose a painting or picture because of Mohammed, The prophet of Islam. Then should Wikipedia also respect The image ban of the Baha’i faith, has Sandra claimed. Another reason for Sandras engagement in the question is that she not think that the atheists who control Wikipedia have a moral right to avoid harassment of another religion. The atheism is also a religion, says Sandra, and that religion rules Wikipedia

  • http://www.maryams.net/dervish Umm Yasmin

    Whilst Farfur is garbage and deserves to be trashed, I’d be a little sceptical about the translation you’re getting from MEMRI. See “Arabic Under Fire”

  • http://www.maryams.net/dervish Umm Yasmin

    Whilst Farfur is garbage and deserves to be trashed, I’d be a little sceptical about the translation you’re getting from MEMRI. See “Arabic Under Fire”

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Yasmin, such quibbling over dotting the i and crossing the t is either out of a lost perspective – losing sight of the forest for the trees – or deliberate to distract from the despicable way that Arab children are brainwashed to hate.

    In either case it does little to address the real issue. Would the world tolerate this if we substituted blacks or Indians or Japanese or any other ethnic group?

    Would we still be quibbling about grammer and syntax? Or would a comment like ‘nappy headed hos’ lose you your job?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Yasmin, such quibbling over dotting the i and crossing the t is either out of a lost perspective – losing sight of the forest for the trees – or deliberate to distract from the despicable way that Arab children are brainwashed to hate.

    In either case it does little to address the real issue. Would the world tolerate this if we substituted blacks or Indians or Japanese or any other ethnic group?

    Would we still be quibbling about grammer and syntax? Or would a comment like ‘nappy headed hos’ lose you your job?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Miranda,
    this isn’t really relevant to the discussion at hand but still… as a member of the Baha’i Faith and as a rational human being I disagree with you.

    Comparing this issue to a picture of Mohammad on wikipedia is a non sequitur since unlike Baha’u’llah, there are no pictures of Mohammad. And by the way, throughout history there have been myriad depictions of Mohammad in paintings and other artworks. These usually show a man but instead of a face, it is either left blank or covered with stylized flames. In either case, these paintings are not impressionistic or realistic but more like cartoons so it doesn’t really matter since they could not depict individual characteristics or facial features.

    And just to be clear, I fully support freedom of speech which means that I don’t have a problem with the cartoon debacle you allude to. In fact, I upped my consumption of Belgian goods as much as possible when I heard about the boycott. But there is a limit to how much Belgian cheese and sausages one human being can consume.

    Had the cartoon depicted any other prophet, even Baha’u’llah or the Bab, my stance would be the same. I wouldn’t draw such a cartoon, nor do I think would I enjoy it, but I would insist on elevating freedom of speech above my own personal tastes and preferences. To do otherwise is much too dangerous. One of the tenents of a free, liberal and advancing civilization is the ability to express your opinions unencumbered by censorship. The only exception I would make would be inciting hatred (such as the video above) but I would even argue that in that case, the person expressing the opinion does themselves more damage.

    The guidance – notice it isn’t a law, but GUIDANCE – to not plaster the image of Baha’u’llah everywhere applies only to Baha’is. In fact, a Baha’i can and may have the picture of Baha’u’llah in their home, wallet, purse, etc. The guidance is that they treat it with reverence and not fall into the trap of making it an idol. There is no image ban. I repeat, THERE IS NO IMAGE BAN. If I am mistaken, I would kindly ask you to please show me through citation of the Baha’i holy texts that there is an image ban and Baha’u’llah’s picture can only be seen in Israel.

    Oh and by the way, the picture is in the archives building on Mt. Carmel, not Bahji which is a few miles down the road.

    I thank you for and Sandra for being concerned for their fellow human being and their human rights. I suggest that you continue this most worthy virtue. And that you conduct a bit more research into understanding fully the issue at hand before taking a stance with conviction or taking action which may create unwanted consequences.

    Thank you for your comment and I hope my reply was helpful.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Miranda,
    this isn’t really relevant to the discussion at hand but still… as a member of the Baha’i Faith and as a rational human being I disagree with you.

    Comparing this issue to a picture of Mohammad on wikipedia is a non sequitur since unlike Baha’u’llah, there are no pictures of Mohammad. And by the way, throughout history there have been myriad depictions of Mohammad in paintings and other artworks. These usually show a man but instead of a face, it is either left blank or covered with stylized flames. In either case, these paintings are not impressionistic or realistic but more like cartoons so it doesn’t really matter since they could not depict individual characteristics or facial features.

    And just to be clear, I fully support freedom of speech which means that I don’t have a problem with the cartoon debacle you allude to. In fact, I upped my consumption of Belgian goods as much as possible when I heard about the boycott. But there is a limit to how much Belgian cheese and sausages one human being can consume.

    Had the cartoon depicted any other prophet, even Baha’u’llah or the Bab, my stance would be the same. I wouldn’t draw such a cartoon, nor do I think would I enjoy it, but I would insist on elevating freedom of speech above my own personal tastes and preferences. To do otherwise is much too dangerous. One of the tenents of a free, liberal and advancing civilization is the ability to express your opinions unencumbered by censorship. The only exception I would make would be inciting hatred (such as the video above) but I would even argue that in that case, the person expressing the opinion does themselves more damage.

    The guidance – notice it isn’t a law, but GUIDANCE – to not plaster the image of Baha’u’llah everywhere applies only to Baha’is. In fact, a Baha’i can and may have the picture of Baha’u’llah in their home, wallet, purse, etc. The guidance is that they treat it with reverence and not fall into the trap of making it an idol. There is no image ban. I repeat, THERE IS NO IMAGE BAN. If I am mistaken, I would kindly ask you to please show me through citation of the Baha’i holy texts that there is an image ban and Baha’u’llah’s picture can only be seen in Israel.

    Oh and by the way, the picture is in the archives building on Mt. Carmel, not Bahji which is a few miles down the road.

    I thank you for and Sandra for being concerned for their fellow human being and their human rights. I suggest that you continue this most worthy virtue. And that you conduct a bit more research into understanding fully the issue at hand before taking a stance with conviction or taking action which may create unwanted consequences.

    Thank you for your comment and I hope my reply was helpful.

  • al

    I’d suspect that a good number of the Palestinian children who saw this on TV have already experienced a relative being killed by the Israeli army some time in their livees. But let’s blame TV instead.

  • al

    I’d suspect that a good number of the Palestinian children who saw this on TV have already experienced a relative being killed by the Israeli army some time in their livees. But let’s blame TV instead.

  • Brendan Cook

    Al,

    What the Israeli government and military is doing to the Palestinian people is inexcusable. But the way you’re using that to distract from the issue at hand is dishonest and manipulative. We’re not talking about the malfeasance of the Israeli regime — and it is great — we’re talking about something so disgusting its almost unthinkable. You bring up the crimes committed against Palestine by Israeli policy because you don’t like that we’re talking about the crimes commited by Palestine against herself.

    And I can’t of anything worse than what we’ve just seen. If Palestinian children were being fed cyanide or arsenic by their elders, we would all be horrified: how can parents poison their own children? But hate is a more terrible poison than any of this. Worse than poisoning the body of a child is poisoning their soul.

    How can anyone say they care about the people of Palestine, the children of Palestine, and be anything but indignant on this matter? It is one thing that Israeli bombs and sanctions have caused the death of Palestinian children, but that is nothing to the thought that otherwise loving mothers and fathers would allow their own sons and daughters to watch a clip like the one we’ve seen here. The parents who are complicit in this will have a terrible reckoning before God.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Al,

    What the Israeli government and military is doing to the Palestinian people is inexcusable. But the way you’re using that to distract from the issue at hand is dishonest and manipulative. We’re not talking about the malfeasance of the Israeli regime — and it is great — we’re talking about something so disgusting its almost unthinkable. You bring up the crimes committed against Palestine by Israeli policy because you don’t like that we’re talking about the crimes commited by Palestine against herself.

    And I can’t of anything worse than what we’ve just seen. If Palestinian children were being fed cyanide or arsenic by their elders, we would all be horrified: how can parents poison their own children? But hate is a more terrible poison than any of this. Worse than poisoning the body of a child is poisoning their soul.

    How can anyone say they care about the people of Palestine, the children of Palestine, and be anything but indignant on this matter? It is one thing that Israeli bombs and sanctions have caused the death of Palestinian children, but that is nothing to the thought that otherwise loving mothers and fathers would allow their own sons and daughters to watch a clip like the one we’ve seen here. The parents who are complicit in this will have a terrible reckoning before God.

    Brendan

  • Larry Gilman

    Hi;

    I was interested to see this video, which has been widely reported in Western media as an example of Palestinian/Arab lunacy. The Mickey Mouse connection also made it, apparently, more newsworthy by Western standards.

    I’ll say first that I do find the video problematic. The beating of the mouse figure, the use of a child as a spokesperson for scripted political propaganda—both things I would rather not see. However, my problems with how your commentary frames the video are even more basic.

    First, this video is typical of the Palestinian/Arab effusions deemed newsworthy in the West. Almost without exception, only extreme, crazy-seeming, anti-Semitic rhetoric is reported. When Palestinians or other Arabs talk like sane human beings, it is simply not reported. This mouse video of 2007 received probably thousands of times more coverage in the West than the formation in 2005 of Combatants for Peace, a joint group of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters, both of whom confess crimes against the other side (http://www.combatantsforpeace.org/). If all we see is the lunacy, we conclude predictably that insanity is endemic Over There and that there is no hope. Head-shaking with implicit self-congratulation becomes the only imaginable option.

    If we want to understand why Palestinian culture might produce such disturbing products, we might wish to look at what pressures that culture is under. As North Americans, we enjoy conditions of social stability and immunity from violence that are unimaginable to Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and southern Lebanon. We should be very slow to shake our heads over the distortions that appear under such conditions—especially since the U.S., at least, is the funder and military backer of Israeli occupation policy. We should recall, too, how extreme the propaganda produced by our own cultures has been in times of war or national stress: recall the extreme racism and violence of the American comic-book industry during World War II and Vietnam.
    And in neither case was the US suffering occupation, unlike the Palestinians.

    First a minor point of fact, and then relevant context for judging apparently intransigent Middle Eastern madness:

    (a) You state that the video shows the mouse being killed by ?a Jew.? I can’t read Arabic, but the English subtitling nowhere uses the word ?Jew.? The person behind the desk is clearly meant to stand for the government of Israel, but I see nothing that is explicitly anti-Semitic. In fact, far from looking like a caricature or stereotype Jew, the stand-in for Israel looks to my eyes more like a black American man.

    (b) Treating the whole thing as intractable lunacy, you do not address the factuality of the claims in the propaganda: the main point being that Israel appropriates Palestinian land. Is this, considered as a claim-of-fact and apart from the excited rhetoric, correct? Yes. The Israeli Jewish human rights organization B’tselem, using Israeli government documentary evidence, has documented the systematic expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian lands in the occupied territories (http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp).

    (c) The Hamas propaganda also claims that Israel kills Palestinians, naming some names. Again, this is essentially factual. Israel’s policy of extrajudicial killings and assassinations of Palestinians is documented by B’tselem (http://www.btselem.org/Download/200101_Extrajudicial_Killings_Eng.doc). As is Israel’s routine torturing of prisoners (http://www.btselem.org/English/Torture/Index.asp). Regardless of who is ?retaliating? for what, or acting ?defensively,? it is a numerical fact that Israel kills far more Palestinians than vice versa, a fact made graphic by this chart from the New York Times (forgive scan quality: original smudgy newsprint):

    [img src=?http://www.larrygilman.net/misc_images/deathtolls.JPG? width=400]

    (If image does not appear in Comment window, please click on this link: a href=”www.larrygilman.net/misc_images/deathtolls.JPG”>New York Times graphic showing Israeli & Palestinian death tolls)

    So is really Farfour, or the entrenched, intractable madness he supposedly represents, really the ?reason we don’t have peace in the Middle East?? Or could considerations of land, power, and geopolitics—choices made by powerful nations such as the US and others, as well as by relatively powerless people like the Palestinians—have something to do with it?

    Sincerely,

    Larry

  • Larry Gilman

    Hi;

    I was interested to see this video, which has been widely reported in Western media as an example of Palestinian/Arab lunacy. The Mickey Mouse connection also made it, apparently, more newsworthy by Western standards.

    I’ll say first that I do find the video problematic. The beating of the mouse figure, the use of a child as a spokesperson for scripted political propaganda—both things I would rather not see. However, my problems with how your commentary frames the video are even more basic.

    First, this video is typical of the Palestinian/Arab effusions deemed newsworthy in the West. Almost without exception, only extreme, crazy-seeming, anti-Semitic rhetoric is reported. When Palestinians or other Arabs talk like sane human beings, it is simply not reported. This mouse video of 2007 received probably thousands of times more coverage in the West than the formation in 2005 of Combatants for Peace, a joint group of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters, both of whom confess crimes against the other side (http://www.combatantsforpeace.org/). If all we see is the lunacy, we conclude predictably that insanity is endemic Over There and that there is no hope. Head-shaking with implicit self-congratulation becomes the only imaginable option.

    If we want to understand why Palestinian culture might produce such disturbing products, we might wish to look at what pressures that culture is under. As North Americans, we enjoy conditions of social stability and immunity from violence that are unimaginable to Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and southern Lebanon. We should be very slow to shake our heads over the distortions that appear under such conditions—especially since the U.S., at least, is the funder and military backer of Israeli occupation policy. We should recall, too, how extreme the propaganda produced by our own cultures has been in times of war or national stress: recall the extreme racism and violence of the American comic-book industry during World War II and Vietnam.
    And in neither case was the US suffering occupation, unlike the Palestinians.

    First a minor point of fact, and then relevant context for judging apparently intransigent Middle Eastern madness:

    (a) You state that the video shows the mouse being killed by ?a Jew.? I can’t read Arabic, but the English subtitling nowhere uses the word ?Jew.? The person behind the desk is clearly meant to stand for the government of Israel, but I see nothing that is explicitly anti-Semitic. In fact, far from looking like a caricature or stereotype Jew, the stand-in for Israel looks to my eyes more like a black American man.

    (b) Treating the whole thing as intractable lunacy, you do not address the factuality of the claims in the propaganda: the main point being that Israel appropriates Palestinian land. Is this, considered as a claim-of-fact and apart from the excited rhetoric, correct? Yes. The Israeli Jewish human rights organization B’tselem, using Israeli government documentary evidence, has documented the systematic expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian lands in the occupied territories (http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp).

    (c) The Hamas propaganda also claims that Israel kills Palestinians, naming some names. Again, this is essentially factual. Israel’s policy of extrajudicial killings and assassinations of Palestinians is documented by B’tselem (http://www.btselem.org/Download/200101_Extrajudicial_Killings_Eng.doc). As is Israel’s routine torturing of prisoners (http://www.btselem.org/English/Torture/Index.asp). Regardless of who is ?retaliating? for what, or acting ?defensively,? it is a numerical fact that Israel kills far more Palestinians than vice versa, a fact made graphic by this chart from the New York Times (forgive scan quality: original smudgy newsprint):

    [img src=?http://www.larrygilman.net/misc_images/deathtolls.JPG? width=400]

    (If image does not appear in Comment window, please click on this link: a href=”www.larrygilman.net/misc_images/deathtolls.JPG”>New York Times graphic showing Israeli & Palestinian death tolls)

    So is really Farfour, or the entrenched, intractable madness he supposedly represents, really the ?reason we don’t have peace in the Middle East?? Or could considerations of land, power, and geopolitics—choices made by powerful nations such as the US and others, as well as by relatively powerless people like the Palestinians—have something to do with it?

    Sincerely,

    Larry

  • Larry Gilman

    Re. my message above:

    Argh! I really want that death-count graphic to come up, and I’ve failed and it doesn’t seem possible to edit one’s comments once they’re up. Here’s another try:

  • Larry Gilman

    Re. my message above:

    Argh! I really want that death-count graphic to come up, and I’ve failed and it doesn’t seem possible to edit one’s comments once they’re up. Here’s another try:

  • Brendan Cook

    Larry,

    A lot of good points. I agree that in the West we pay disproportionate attention to the Palestinian response to Israeli violence. Successive Israeli regimes have a lot to answer for, it’s true, and there is definitely a tendency to minimize this. Only see the villification undergone by Jimmy Carter for stating the obvious in his last book. And I also hope that Baquia wasn’t implying that “intractable lunacy” is at the root of problems in the Middle East. And I know him well enough to say that I’m almost 100% sure he wasn’t. But perhaps he may agree with us when he has a chance to comment that the title *Why We Don’t Have Peace in the Middle East* might be ill-considered. You are right that Farfur is symptomatic of other problems. I’m glad you said so.

    All the same, you also seem to argue about some things which are less than essential. Quibbling about whether the man who kills Farfur is intended to be Jewish. for example, this is only a distraction from what matters. Say what you will on either side, the thought of a small child viewing this is terrible. The whole notion of filling the minds of children with poison, of deliberately traumatizing them with disturbing images — it seems to be a new degree of horror. There is something so inherently awful about this that it makes everything else fade into irrelevance. Bombs can only destroy a child’s body, after all, but hate can corrode a soul.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Larry,

    A lot of good points. I agree that in the West we pay disproportionate attention to the Palestinian response to Israeli violence. Successive Israeli regimes have a lot to answer for, it’s true, and there is definitely a tendency to minimize this. Only see the villification undergone by Jimmy Carter for stating the obvious in his last book. And I also hope that Baquia wasn’t implying that “intractable lunacy” is at the root of problems in the Middle East. And I know him well enough to say that I’m almost 100% sure he wasn’t. But perhaps he may agree with us when he has a chance to comment that the title *Why We Don’t Have Peace in the Middle East* might be ill-considered. You are right that Farfur is symptomatic of other problems. I’m glad you said so.

    All the same, you also seem to argue about some things which are less than essential. Quibbling about whether the man who kills Farfur is intended to be Jewish. for example, this is only a distraction from what matters. Say what you will on either side, the thought of a small child viewing this is terrible. The whole notion of filling the minds of children with poison, of deliberately traumatizing them with disturbing images — it seems to be a new degree of horror. There is something so inherently awful about this that it makes everything else fade into irrelevance. Bombs can only destroy a child’s body, after all, but hate can corrode a soul.

    Brendan

  • Miranda Winterstad

    Hi

    Yes your reply was helpful, but I did not understand it all. Do you say that the photo of Bahaullah only shall be avoided by people who already are Baha’i believers?

    If you look at the article about Bah??’u’ll??h at Wikipedia in English and Wikipedia in Swedish, there is a difference. The photo is in the very beginning of the article at Wikipedia in Swedish.

    I did not know that Baha’i believers are allowed to keep pictures of B??b and Bah??’u’ll??h in their homes. And I have never seen it in a home of a Baha’i. Only ‘Abdu’l-Bah??.

    Love from Miranda

  • Miranda Winterstad

    Hi

    Yes your reply was helpful, but I did not understand it all. Do you say that the photo of Bahaullah only shall be avoided by people who already are Baha’i believers?

    If you look at the article about Bah??’u’ll??h at Wikipedia in English and Wikipedia in Swedish, there is a difference. The photo is in the very beginning of the article at Wikipedia in Swedish.

    I did not know that Baha’i believers are allowed to keep pictures of B??b and Bah??’u’ll??h in their homes. And I have never seen it in a home of a Baha’i. Only ‘Abdu’l-Bah??.

    Love from Miranda

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Miranda,
    Baha’is are asked to treat the picture of Baha’u’llah with reverence. This means although a Baha’i may personally have it in their possession, they wouldn’t necessarily put it on display. Baha’is are not told to ‘avoid’ the picture of Baha’u’llah. Nor is this a law as I mentioned before.

    Some Baha’is may prefer to not look at the picture of Baha’u’llah but that is a personal choice and not a religious requirement. There is no Baha’i law that states that Baha’is should avoid the picture of the Baha’u’llah. So if no religious rights have been infringed upon in the wikipedia case you brought up.

    I think what is going on is that some Baha’is know that the picture of Baha’u’llah is part of a visit to Haifa so they look forward to it as an experience. Seeing it pop up on a monitor screen for them, may ‘spoil’ that expected experience. But that is a far cry from doctrine or religious law.

    Regardint the Bab… there are no photographs of the Bab. There is a small (about the palm of your hand) painting in the ‘miniatoor’ Persian style. This style of painting does not really convey facial features since it is very stylized. The small size doesn’t help either. This picture is kept in the archives building on Mt. Carmel and is shown to visiting Baha’is.

    As far as I know, there are no copies nor is it in the public domain (the way Baha’u’llah’s passport picture is).

    In any case, Baha’is do not rever the physical form of the Bab nor the physical form of Baha’u’llah. The inner spiritual realities and essence are incalculably more important. The guidance that Baha’is not treat either picture casually is to both maintain reverence for their station as well as to prevent any all too human need for idolization.

    You are correct to say that many Baha’is keep a picture of Baha’u’llah’s son, Abdu’l-Baha in their house and many display it prominently. This is because Abdu’l-Baha is considered the Exemplar, the personification of Baha’i virtues, the apogee of Baha’i ideals. Baha’is display His picture not to idolize the person but to remember His life and His example.

    I hope the above was helpful. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Miranda,
    Baha’is are asked to treat the picture of Baha’u’llah with reverence. This means although a Baha’i may personally have it in their possession, they wouldn’t necessarily put it on display. Baha’is are not told to ‘avoid’ the picture of Baha’u’llah. Nor is this a law as I mentioned before.

    Some Baha’is may prefer to not look at the picture of Baha’u’llah but that is a personal choice and not a religious requirement. There is no Baha’i law that states that Baha’is should avoid the picture of the Baha’u’llah. So if no religious rights have been infringed upon in the wikipedia case you brought up.

    I think what is going on is that some Baha’is know that the picture of Baha’u’llah is part of a visit to Haifa so they look forward to it as an experience. Seeing it pop up on a monitor screen for them, may ‘spoil’ that expected experience. But that is a far cry from doctrine or religious law.

    Regardint the Bab… there are no photographs of the Bab. There is a small (about the palm of your hand) painting in the ‘miniatoor’ Persian style. This style of painting does not really convey facial features since it is very stylized. The small size doesn’t help either. This picture is kept in the archives building on Mt. Carmel and is shown to visiting Baha’is.

    As far as I know, there are no copies nor is it in the public domain (the way Baha’u’llah’s passport picture is).

    In any case, Baha’is do not rever the physical form of the Bab nor the physical form of Baha’u’llah. The inner spiritual realities and essence are incalculably more important. The guidance that Baha’is not treat either picture casually is to both maintain reverence for their station as well as to prevent any all too human need for idolization.

    You are correct to say that many Baha’is keep a picture of Baha’u’llah’s son, Abdu’l-Baha in their house and many display it prominently. This is because Abdu’l-Baha is considered the Exemplar, the personification of Baha’i virtues, the apogee of Baha’i ideals. Baha’is display His picture not to idolize the person but to remember His life and His example.

    I hope the above was helpful. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.