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Removal of All Prejudices: Is this Principle New?

Sunday, 08 November 2015 23:36 Written by  font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

Removal of All Prejudices: 
Is this Principle New?

Abdul Baha claims this principle is new: A new religious principle is that prejudice and fanaticism - whether sectarian, denominational, patriotic or political - are destructive to the foundation of human solidarity; therefore, man should release himself from such bonds in order that the oneness of the world of humanity may become manifest. 
(Abdul Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 455)

As we already mentioned, Baha’u’llah had grown up in a Shia community and for years, was under the influence of those beliefs. The Shia belief about prejudice and zeal states that not all kinds of zeal are undesirable. Showing zeal towards what is right and is logically and rationally correct is by no means bad. On the other hand, having indiscriminate prejudice on race, incorrect beliefs, and even one’s family must be put aside. The third Shia Imam explains it like this

Prejudice [is bad] when it results in a sin. For instance, [regarding tribal prejudice], if a man regards the worst person in his tribe better than the best person from another tribe, this is prejudice, but if a person loves his tribe this is not prejudice. Another form of prejudice is when a man assists his tribe in oppressing [another group]. 
(Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 308)

This is how the Prophet of Islam describes the outcome of having prejudice: He who has prejudice or others show prejudice because of him, then he has removed the necklace of faith from his neck (meaning he no longer has any faith). 
(Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 308)

The Baha’i view about prejudice has elements borrowed from Shia Islam combined with a fair amount of illogical extremism. This extremism, which regards all prejudice and zeal void irrespective of their outcome, is to an extent novel, but nevertheless unjustifiable.


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