Bahaism and the Struggle of New Abrahamic Monotheism

Ms. Amanah Nurish, an alumni of CRCS came to the CRCS-ICRS Wednesday Forum on 27th April 2011 and presented the paper on ‘Baha’ism in European Countries. She traveled to some of the European countries months ago to find out the religious life of the Baha’i community. She made her interest to study about the Baha’i community in different part of the world and she wrote her thesis on “Baha’sm in Indonesia” as the required fulfillment of the Master’s program at CRCS. She made the comparative study between Baha’is in Europe and Indonesia in terms of the religious freedom. In her study, she have found the Baha’ism as the new Abrahamic religion access more privilege in the European countries than in Indonesia. According to her findings from the interviews, the Baha’i community can access to the freedom of religious practices in Germany and Netherland, whereas paradoxically in Indonesia, the Baha’i is not even recognized by the state. In the birthplace, Baha’is suffer the persecution by the local Iranian rule. For the Muslim clergy, Baha’ism is seen as the offshoot of the Abrahamic religions which labeled as apostasy. Many Muslims majority countries, except the Turkey, chastised to this new religious movement. This made Baha’is from the Middle East who prevails in the European countries find the freedom of religiosity.


In the open discussion, Nurish made further explanation about Baha’ism in respond to some of the questions from the participants. Baha’sm is a syncretic form with the idea of unity between all Abrahamic teachings. In the case of Indonesia, most Baha’is are the formers Muslims who experienced the political repression in the state. This political repression and dissatisfaction of religious teaching of Islam in Indonesia made them to concert to Baha’ism. Professor Dr. Mark Woodward from CRCS said, the case of Baha’ism identical to Ahmadiyya in Indonesia. In respond to the subsequent of conversion, Dr. Wening Udasmoro from ICRS said the politically subjugated people converted to an unofficial religion made a fascinating scenario. Nuris agreed the preceding comments by sharing the fact that the Baha’is in Indonesia are still struggling within the Indonesian religious and political scene.


There were some clarification made on the presentation toward the issue Islamic states hostility and persecution towards the Baha’ism. Mr. Abdul Hamid, an American fellow student in ICRS, said persecution of Baha’is in Iran or Saudi Arabia cannot be the appropriate example because the context from one country to another differs where Iran and Saudi Arabia are the Islamic predominant States. In such case, persecution and hostility are not relating to Islam as the ethical entity, but it can approach more in relation to which party runs the state.


One of the significance outcome of the question hour was, it provides a broader perspectives for the forum to elaborate more about the teaching of Baha’ism. Nurish explained that how Baha’is in Indonesia deal with the difficulties related to the issue of education and civil registration including marriage. She made a conclusion that the main factor of emerging the Baha’ism in Indonesia is the open attitude both to the modern value as well as the traditional art and culture. [MoU]

This post is also available in: Indonesian


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