British Bahá'í Relationship
"...Sir 'Abbas Effendi' Abdul-Baha had travelled extensively in Europe and America to expound his doctrines, and on the 4th December, 1919, was created by King George V. a K.B.E. for valuable services rendered to the British Government in the early days of the Occupation..."
Abbas Effendi (Servant of British Empire)
Britain’s Role in Consolidation and Expansion of Bahá'ísm
A-British support to Mirza Hussein Ali even after he was exiled from Iran.
The October 1917 Russian Revolution for a while preoccupied the Russians with their domestic issues and prevented them from other hegemonic policies. On the other hand, the Bolshevik doctrine, in the early years of its power, showed no willingness towards encouraging hegemonic tendencies. Therefore, Babism and later Bahá'ísm which were directly or indirectly under the patronage of the Russian government, clearly fell into the hands of the British government. The Bahá'í base in Ashqabad was thus closed down. Qarn-e Badi, one of the reliable sources of Bahá'ís, writes in this connection:
“Colonel Arnold Combal was the consul general of the British government in Baghdad. Noticing the sublime personality of Master Bahaullah, he wrote a friendly note to him asking him to accept the support and citizenship of his government. Being received in audience, he undertook the responsibility of making the required efforts in sending Bahaullah’s letter to the British court if the Master desired to correspond with Queen Victoria. He even proposed that he was ready to provide facilities for the transfer of the residence of the Master to India or wherever he desired.”(1)
On page 125, volume II of God Passes by, Shoghi Effendi writes:
“Colonel Sir Arnold Campbell wrote a friendly letter to His Holiness Bahaullah and proposed to him sovereign government acceptance to support His Holiness…He even went as far as to say that He is prepared to arrange to settle him in India (British Colony) or any other place His Holiness might wish."
In fact, even if this one document had been found on the subservience of the Bahá'ís to the British government, it would have been enough. Mirza Hussein Ali Bahaullah stayed in Iraq for 12 years, the first two years of his exile in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan and the remaining period in Baghdad. While in the mountains, he would dress as Sufis and live among them. A picture is available of him dressed as Sufis.
Following the sufferings of the Iraqi Muslims at the hands of the rebellious Bahá'ís, the Ottoman government upon a request by the Iranian ambassador in Istanbul Mirza Hussein Qazvini, who later became the chancellor, exiled the Babis to the remotest areas of the Ottoman territory. They were later sent to Adrianople where the Babis refer to as the… secret land. It was in Adrianople where Bahaullah laid claim to Bab’s mantle as the Awaited One and rejected his brother Mirza Yahya Sobh-e-Azal, It is interesting that Combal offered the title of Baron before these claims were raised by Hussein Ali Mirza.
When the seditious role of the Babis was revealed to all foreign governments, the French decided to take advantage as well. To this end, the deputy consul of the French embassy secretly met Bahaullah and held talks with him for half an hour. It was in this meeting that the French official, according to Kavakeb-ud Dorriyeh, asked Bahaullah to apply for French citizenship so that they could support him (2). It is obvious that the objective of the British and French governments by offering citizenship to Bahaullah was to dispatch him to areas such as India on behalf of the British and to Algeria on behalf of the French governments in order to promote schism in Muslim land. Otherwise, the Baha’is had no advantage other than disturbing peace and laying claims to prophet hood.
After the Azalis and Bahá'ís split, Mirza Hussein Ali was sent into exile to Akka where he stayed until he died in 1892 and was replaced by his son Abbas effendi.
B-Espionage activities of Abbas Effendi for British Government earned him the title of “SIR”
At the outset of World War I, the leadership of Bahá'ísm was in the hands of Abbas Effendi, the eldest son of Bahaullah. This man pretended to be Muslim and attended congregational prayers of Muslims in spite of the apparent prohibition by the Bahá'í Faith (“God Passes By” by Shoghi Effendi vol 3, p 318).
However, as soon as the British imperialists scored victories in the war with the Ottomans, which drew Palestine into conflict, the Bahá'ís acted as a powerful espionage group in support of the British Government and against the Moslems and the Ottoman government.
Abbas Effendi went so far that Jamal Pasha, commander of the Ottoman forces, decided to hang him on the slope of Mount Carmel (“God Passes By” by Shoghi Effendi vol 3, p 297).
As soon as the British cabinet received news of this through the British army intelligence, Lord Curzon and Lord Lamington began taking measures, and Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Minister (promoter of the Zionist government) immediately cabled General Allenby, commander of the British forces in Palestine, ordering him to use all his power to protect Abbas Effendi, his family and friends. After conquering Haifa and saving Abbas Effendi from Jamal Pasha, he transmitted a cable to London and reported the safety and health of Abbas Effendi to the officials (“God Passes By” by Shoghi Effendi vol 3, p 297).
Foreign Minister Lord Balfour (1848 – 1930)
Abbas Effendi was rewarded with a large amount of money and as well a Knighthood bearing the title of “Sir”.
In this connection, Bloomfield writes “…The British Government honored Abdul Baha (Abbas Effendi) with a Knighthood, which he accepted as a gesture of honoring formally by a just king.”
Abbas Effendi wrote a letter of gratitude “O God, the tabernacle of justice has truly been erected on this holy land, and we thank and praise Thee. O God, May Emperor George V, Ruler of Britain, be assisted in his divine achievements, and May his shadow over this realm be everlasting.” (Makatib by Abbas Effendi vol 3 pg 347)
During the leadership of Abbas effendi, the Ottomans were embroiled in military hostilities with the British, and since Abbas effendi was an advocate of the British government, he would collect military information in Akka and Haifa. He would also provide the English forces with the required foodstuff.
After the Ottomans found out that Abbas effendi and his followers were spying for the British government in Palestine and that he was a British mercenary, as Showqi effendi has asserted in his book Qarn-e Badi the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman government Jamal Pasha decided to execute Abbas effendi for his espionage acts (3). But Britain in an open support for Abbas effendi, commissioned the then Foreign Minister Lord Balfour to send a cable to the commander of the British corps in Palestine General Lord Allenby, stressing protection for Master Abdul Baha (Abbas effendi), his family and his friends (4).
The possible arrest and execution of Abbas effendi was reported to Lord Cruiseden by Jamal Pasha but General Allenby in a pre-emptive action, seized Haifa and cabled to London: “Palestine was seized today. Inform the world that Abdul-Baha is alive.”
Abdul Hussein Avareh writes in his book: “Seemingly, the British commander who seized Haifa in 1918 had received the special order to be received in audience by Abdul-Baha. That is to say, he had been commissioned by the British empire to meet Master Abdul-Baha upon his arrival in Haifa, and the British king decorated him with Knighthood.”
Abdul-Baha was receiving the medal of Knighthood.
Lady Bloomfield writes The English Government according to its usual system for protecting and encouraging the heroes awarded Abdul-Baha a medal of knighthood which is ordered by the just King as a sign of honor for him and he accepted it.
In gratitude for receiving the title of ‘Sir’, Abbas effendi prayed for the grandeur of the British King, George V, and the continuation of his rule in Palestine:
“O God, the royal court has been set up throughout this realm, from East to the West, and I thank you for such a powerful and just kingdom which does its best for the welfare of the people. O Lord! Let the great empire of George V, the King of Britain be victorious and make his kingdom everlasting.”
Abbas Effendi wrote a letter of gratitude “O God, the tabernacle of justice has truly been erected on this holy land, and we thank and praise Thee. O God, May Emperor George V, Ruler of Britain, be assisted in his divine achievements, and May his shadow over this realm be everlasting.” (Makatib by Abbas Effendi vol 3 p.347)
Abdul-Baha was receiving the medal of Knighthood.
The crystal clear connection between Bahá'ís and the British government does not end here. In his various interviews arranged during his trips to Europe, Abdol-Baha once said in London: “The power which attracted me towards you was the same magnet of your love. The Britons I have met so far had pure souls and were active for the purpose of peace (the British-type peace and the kind of unity to the advantage of the British government). Therefore, London would be suitable for the spread of this task (Bahá'ísm). (6)
In one of his speeches, quoted from the book Collections of Abdul-Baha’s Orations Abdul-Baha addresses his English audience and says: “I am satisfied with the people and government of Britain ...My coming here, has resulted in consolidation of friendship between Iran and Britain. This friendship will soon reach the extent that Iranians would sacrifice their lives for the sake of Britain.”(7)
C-British condolence at Death of Abdul-Baha
Abbas Effendi, after making several trips to Europe and America with the objective of presenting Bahá'ísm as a common ideal among all religions and all peace-loving nations was warmly received by his masters and finally gave up his ghost in 1921. The diplomatic representative of Britain in the Middle east, sent messages of condolences to the Bahá'ís.
During his funeral processions high-ranking British personalities such as Herbert Samuel and Sir Ronald Stores were present. On this occasion, The British secretary of state for colonies, Mr. Winston Churchill telegraphed sent a cable of condolences to Haifa which read: “I hereby convey the sympathy and condolences of the Majesty government of Britain to the Bahá'í community. Similar cables have been sent by other high-ranking British officials on this occasion.”
Similarly, General Congreve (Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary force), General Sir Arthur Money (Former Chief Administrator of Palestine) and other official of the British Government transmitted similar telegraphs.
Britain‘s support for Bahá'ísm has continued till the present time and comprehensive research works have been conducted by major British universities to explore the possibility of further promotion of this pseudo-religion.
In Akhbar-e Amri magazine, the official publication of Bahá'í circle, published in 1919, it was reported that Bahá'í representatives attended meetings of the international union held in Cologne, West Germany along with high-ranking officials, including the former British prime minister. The same magazine some six years later congratulated the king of England on the occasion of his birthday in an official note sealed by the Bahá'í circle and the king in return thanked them.
There are several other instances but generally it could be said that Britain patronized the spread of Bahá'ísm by encouraging Abdul Baha who was later decorated with medals for his espionage acts. Abdul Baha’s grandson, Showqi effendi, is buried in London. Today, many Bahá'ís are active in Britain and have invested in Britain’s economic activities.
British Bahá'ís meet with Prime Minister Brown on Bahá'ís concerns.
LONDON, 16 July (BWNS) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met this week with members of the U.K. Bahá'í community and underlined his government's concern over the seven Bahá'í leaders being detained in Iran.
Mr. Lembit Opik, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of the Bahá'ís group, accompanied three Bahá'í representatives to the meeting, held yesterday at the prime minister's office in the Houses of Parliament.
One of the Bahá'ís, Mrs. Bahar Tahzib–originally from Iran but now living in England–shared with Mr. Brown her first-hand experience of religious persecution. Her father was executed in Iran in June 1980 for being a Bahá'í, and her uncle, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, is one the seven Bahá'í leaders arrested in the spring of 2008 and jailed since then in Evin prison in Tehran.
Charges against the seven have been reported in government-controlled mass media as "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic" –accusations the Bahá'í International Community categorically denies. No formal charges have been filed, however, and the seven Bahá'ís have had no access to attorneys.
Families of the prisoners had been informed that there would be a trial this past week, but now the families reportedly have been told there is a delay. No new trial date has been given.
"I was very touched by the prime minister's genuine expressions of sympathy and concern," Mrs. Tahzib said after yesterday's meeting with Mr. Brown.
The other Bahá'ís who met with Prime Minister Brown were Dr. Kishan Manocha, secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom, and Mr. Barney Leith, director of diplomatic relations for the U.K. Bahá'í community.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair praised the work of the nation's Bahá'í community.
7 April 2005
LONDON —the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, has praised the work of the nation's Bahá'í community in assisting social cohesion and the interfaith movement.
"In many ways, Bahá'ís embody the spirit of community cohesion that is so important to our society," Mr. Blair said in a message on the occasion of the Bahá'í Nowruz (New Year).
"The Bahá'í community, in its outlook on life and in its proactive work in the inter-faith, cohesion and anti-discrimination fields, show how much faith-based bodies can contribute to wider society, and the Government looks forward to continuing our good relationship," Mr. Blair said.
The message was read at the Nowruz reception held on 21 March 2005 on the terrace of the House of Commons. Bahá'í representatives, members of both Houses of Parliament, and senior members of the public service attended the event.
The All Party Parliamentary Friends of the Bahá'í Faith sponsored the gathering, which was also attended by representatives of interfaith organizations, NGOs, and the media.
The All Party Friends of the Bahá'í Faith was formed in 1999 and has since hosted five Nowruz receptions. The group is open to members of Parliament from across the political spectrum and was formed largely in response to the persecution of the Bahá'ís in Iran and other states.