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Saturday, June 24, 2000

Baha’is to solemnize
martyrdom of man
who predicted prophet

Shirley Iida


Members of the Baha'i Faith will observe a day of remembrance for one of the central figures of the religion next month.

The Hawaii congregation will commemorate the martyrdom of the Bab, who had predicted the coming of the leader of the Baha'i faith, with an outdoor program and potluck lunch scheduled for 11 a.m. July 9 at Ewa Beach Park.

The Baha'i faith began in Islamic countries in the 19th century. In 1844 the Bab, one of God's messengers, proclaimed the coming of a new era when the world would be unified.

The Bab, whose name means "the Gate," predicted that a great prophet would appear. He is best described as the equivalent of what John the Baptist was to Jesus, said Paul Sjoquist of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i of the Hawaiian Islands.

The Bab won many followers, but his teachings alarmed Islamic clergy and Persian government officials. On July 9, 1850, the Bab was executed in Tabriz, Persia.

Three years after his death, Mirza Husayn-Ali declared he was the predicted prophet and assumed the name Baha'u'llah, which means "Glory to God." He is the founder of the Baha'i faith.

Sjoquist estimates there are as many as 1,000 Baha'i followers in Hawaii.

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