Monday, December 12, 2005

Minorities and Moral Responsibility

Whether the challenge involves Sunnis in Iraq, North Africans in France, African Americans in the Gulf Coast, or Arabs in Australia, how majorities treat minorities keeps coming up in the news. Humanity's struggle with this issue is not simply social or political but is essentially moral and spiritual in nature. This moral and spiritual struggle to recognize the oneness of humanity and practice it in our daily lives and in the social order is the greatest challenge facing the human race at this stage of its evolution. The following quote from the Baha'i Writings is one of many which makes clear that how minorities are treated should be a mark of distinction for Baha'i community life.

"Unlike the nations and peoples of the earth, be they of the East or of the West, democratic or authoritarian, communist or capitalist, whether belonging to the Old World or the New, who either ignore, trample upon, or extirpate, the racial, religious, or political minorities within the sphere of their jurisdiction, every organized community enlisted under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh should feel it to be its first and inescapable obligation to nurture, encourage, and safeguard every minority belonging to any faith, race, class, or nation within it."
(Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 35)

You can read an excellent statement regarding this issue that was put out by the Baha'i International Community here.