Video: Langley Baha’i community celebrates 200th anniversary

Video: Langley Baha’i community celebrates 200th anniversary

All welcome at “An Evening of Prayer, History, Music and Finger food” on Saturday

Langley resident Parvin Shaikholeslami left Iran just two months before the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy and the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini as the country’s Supreme Leader.

As a third-generation member of the Bahá’í faith, she had every reason to expect the rise of the Shia Muslim leader would only make things worse for the already-persecuted religion, the country’s second-largest religion after Islam.

Her grandfather, Aboul Qasem Shaikholeslami, had been murdered during the monarchy because of his faith, she said.

“At that time, my father was only 10 years old.”

Fears of increased repression since the Ayatollah rose to power have come to pass, she says.

“Many Bahá’í are being tortured and killed (in Iran),” she said.

“We still have friends in prison.”

A United Nations resolution put forward by Canada has expressed “serious concern” over the human rights situation in Iran, one that refers to escalating human rights violations against the Baha’i, “including cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, the denial of freedom of religion … disregard of property rights, the destruction of sites of religious importance … and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, adequate housing and other benefits …”

Despite the persecution, the faith now has between five and seven million adherents spread across the world.

Now a Canadian citizen and resident of Langley since 1988, Shaikholeslami is among the 70-members who belong to the Baha’is of Langley.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Langley Baha’i community will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the “Twin Birthdays” of the two who are central to the history of the faith.

They are the Bab, the forerunner, and the founder of the Baha’i faith, Baha’u’llah, known for saying “the Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”

The Langley event, billed as “An Evening of Prayer, History, Music and Finger food” will take place in the Township of Langley Fraser River Presentation Theatre, on the fourth floor at 20338 65 Ave.

“Whichever nationality, religion or ethnicity you belong to, you are most welcome to join us at this festive occasion,” the invitation reads.

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