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April 24 2012

Bahá’ís in Ottawa gathered to elect the nine members of the Local Spiritual Assembly

Ridván 2012. As the Bahá’í Faith has no clergy, the Local Spiritual Assembly guides, and administers, the affairs of the community. In this way, governance in Bahá’í communities springs from the grassroots. Common activities in the Bahá’í Community of Ottawa include classes for the education of children, devotional services, study classes, discussions on global issues, social events, the observance of holy days, marriages, and funeral services.

Many local Spiritual Assemblies around the world also oversee small-scale educational, economic or environmental development projects. Such efforts range from the sponsorship of community health workers to small agricultural projects.

The elected members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ottawa for 2012-2013 are: Fred Afagh, Philippe Allard, Sandy Brown, Fu'ad Foroughi , Niels Hansen-Trip, Pejman Mosleh, Nabil Seddigh, Frank Ziaei, Zahra Ziaei.

The Bahá’í electoral system removes partisanship from the democratic process, thus increasing the likelihood that those elected are not bound by narrow interests, but rather seek the well-being of the entire human race. All Bahá’í elections occur by secret ballot without candidacies, nominations or campaigning, all Bahá’ís 21 and older may vote and serve.

The annual elections are held on the first day of the 12-day Festival of Ridván (pronounced RIZ-von. This period of twelve days commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s proclamation, in 1863, that He was a Messenger of God and that His teachings represented the continuation of that process of divine revelation which had given birth to previous religions. On April 21st Ottawa Bahá'ís gathered to celebrate the beginning of Ridván. Hundreds of local Bahá'ís and their guests enjoyed a memorable program that included devotions and prayers from the Bahá'í sacred writings followed by musical presentations on the significance of the Festival of Ridván.

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