Australian National Spiritual Assembly in solidarity
1 April 2019 / 12 Bahá 176 B.E.
To National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand
Transmitted by email
Dear Bahá’í Friends,
In the aftermath of the tragic events that took place in Christchurch on 15 March 2019, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia is moved to write to you, its dearly loved sister Assembly, in order to convey its deep solidarity and earnest prayers at this time in the lives of our two nations.
For more than two decades our twin institutions were one, and the spiritual tie between our countries is long-standing and indissoluble. We share your grief and sorrow at this recent tragedy, and we express the condolences of the Australian Bahá’í Community to the family members and loved ones of those who have had their lives cut short by hatred and the harrowing force of prejudice. We also share the vision, articulated so profoundly in the statement you have addressed to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, for the progress of society and the vital role of youth in building a just and sustainable future.
As we collectively strive to strengthen the pattern of community life, to give rise to vibrant and purposeful new communities – communities wherein relationships are founded on the oneness of mankind, universal participation, justice, and freedom from prejudice – we will increase our capacity to combat the disintegrative forces, magnetise souls, win their wholehearted allegiance to the compelling force of unity towards which humanity is striving, and establish once and for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life. In this connection we call to mind the words of the Supreme Body, less than two months before the tragedy occurred, that:
Humanity is gripped by a crisis of identity, as various peoples and groups struggle to define themselves, their place in the world, and how they should act. Without a vision of shared identity and common purpose, they fall into competing ideologies and power struggles ... Rival conceptions about the primacy of a particular people are peddled to the exclusion of the truth that humanity is on a common journey in which all are protagonists. (Universal House of Justice, 18 January 2019)
We express the profound hope that this juncture may come to be viewed as a turning point for societal unity in both our countries, hastening the recognition that in our essence we are all members of a single human family, and inspiring thought and action that will ultimately reshape society in a manner that recognises this fundamental spiritual truth. For its part, the Australian Bahá’í community wrote to both the High Commissioner for New Zealand and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, expressing our condolences and our committed efforts to work together with others towards the establishment of a peaceful and harmonious civilisation which values the collective security and wellbeing of all its members. We will continue to strive, shoulder to shoulder with others, so that every individual, the community and the institutions of our society may become increasingly conscious of the role they have to play in overcoming the forces of prejudice and in establishing unity.
The Mother Temple of the Antipodes is a spiritual centre for us all, a reservoir rich in spiritual forces and a symbol of unity, from which your Assembly no doubt continuously draws strength. The National Assembly offered its prayers at its meeting on 29-31 March, and will also dedicate the public service on 14 April, for solace and healing for the pain and suffering endured by the victims and families affected by this tragedy, the Muslim community in New Zealand, and a grieving society at large. It is our ardent hope that this service will help us all to draw upon the spiritual forces in serving and strengthening the bonds between our fellow citizens through the community building process in which we are all engaged.
With loving Bahá’í greetings,
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHÁ’ÍS OF AUSTRALIA