Ottawa Bahá'ís gather to
elect Local Spiritual Assembly On April 20, 2011, Bahá’ís in
Ottawa gathered to elect the nine members of the Local Spiritual
Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ottawa, the governing council that will
manage affairs for the Ottawa Bahá’í community for the year. At the
same time, hundreds of Canadian Bahá’í communities and Bahá’ís in over
11,000 cities, towns, and villages around the globe gathered to elect
their Local Spiritual Assemblies.
The annual elections are held on the first day of the 12-day Festival
of Ridván, which 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.
As the Bahá’í Faith has no clergy, the Local Spiritual Assembly guides
and administers the affairs of the community as a whole. 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 2011-2012 are: Fred Afagh, Philippe Allard, Ayafor Ayafor,
Niels Hansen-Trip, Pejman Mosleh, Nabil Seddigh, Sherri Yazdani, Frank
Ziaei, Zahra Ziaei.
The Bahá’í electoral system removes partisanship from the democratic
process, thus ensuring that those elected are not bound by narrow
interests, but rather seek the well being of the entire community. All
Bahá’í elections occur by secret ballot without candidacies,
nominations or campaigning, and all Bahá’ís 21 and older may vote and