Ten days after leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran were arrested because of their religious beliefs, Baha’i delegates from across Canada gathered in Toronto for the Canadian Baha’i Convention, May 23 to 25, and elected the governing council of their community, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada.
Those elected were Karen McKye, Judy Filson, Borna Noureddin, Fariborz Sahba, Mark Wedge, Enayat Rawhani, Gordon Naylor, Susanne Tamas, and Todd Smith.
Having no clergy, Baha’i communities elect councils at local and national levels, called Local Spiritual Assemblies and National Spiritual Assemblies. The international governing council, the Universal House of Justice, is elected in a democratic election every five years.
Delegates to the Convention heard recent news of the escalating violation of human rights suffered by their fellow believers in Iran. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada expressed its hopes that efforts by the Canadian government and other governments, as well as increased public awareness, focusing on the treatment of Baha’is in Iran may contribute to the release of those arrested and help end the systematic persecution by Iranian authorities of that country’s largest religious minority.
Delegates also discussed the most effective ways in which Baha’is could contribute more in service to Canada and the peoples of the world. The convention assessed some of the learning underway in the 30,000-member community across Canada as it further develops local Baha’i programs that address the moral and spiritual needs of children, youth, and adults.