Letter from the Universal House of Justice - 27 December 2017
In the affairs of the Bahá’í community, Bahá’ís are learning to transcend traditional barriers that divide people in the wider society and exacerbate tensions among people from different religious backgrounds. Shoghi Effendi explained that “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.” One example is the way in which all minorities, including those from a religious minority background, are encouraged in their participation. “If any discrimination is at all to be tolerated”, Shoghi Effendi has for instance stated when discussing the corrosive effects of prejudice, “it should be a discrimination not against, but rather in favour of the minority, be it racial or otherwise.” The practice of Bahá’í elections is symbolic of this commitment to encouraging minorities—when a tie vote arises and one of those involved belongs to a minority group in that society, that person is unhesitatingly accorded the priority without the necessity of another vote to break the tie.
Letter from the Universal House of Justice - 30 December 2021
As the intensity of community-building work in a cluster increases, the friends there inevitably become more conscious of social, economic, or cultural barriers that are impeding people’s spiritual and material progress. Children and junior youth lacking support in their education, pressures on girls resulting from traditional customs related to early marriage, families needing help with navigating unfamiliar systems of healthcare, a village struggling for want of some basic necessity, or long-standing prejudices arising from a legacy of hostility between different groups—when a Bahá’í community’s efforts in the field of expansion and consolidation bring it into contact with these situations and many others, it will be drawn to respond to such realities as its circumstances permit. In reflecting on such situations it becomes evident that, within clusters, expansion and consolidation, social action, and contributing to prevalent discourses are dimensions of a single, unified, outward-looking endeavour carried out at the grassroots of society. All these efforts are pursued according to a common framework for action, and this above all else brings coherence to the overall pattern of activity.