December 7, 2020
CREATING A REFUGE FROM RACISM
Every organized community enlisted under the banner of Bahá’u’lláh should feel it to be its first and inescapable obligation to nurture, encourage, and safeguard every minority belonging to any faith, care, class or nation within it. - Shoghi Effendi
Carol Mansour grew up in a racially segregated neighborhood in the United States, and was troubled by the many instances of racism she observed and witnessed while growing up, none of which seemed congruent with what she had learnt in church about God’s love for all His creatures. When she heard of the Bahá’í teachings as an adult, she was intrigued that working for the elimination of racial prejudice was deemed a spiritual obligation. As a journalist with a background in television, professional and personal skepticism made it difficult for her to take much of what she was hearing at face value. She describes herself as officially becoming a Bahá’i for nearly 30 years now.
Carol is one of the founding administrators of an international group devoted to exploring social justice issues through a Bahá’í lens, "Bahá’ís Exploring Social Justice", and is active in the Nashville area in interfaith circles, especially those dealing with the issue of eliminating racial prejudice.
As part of the Ottawa Bahá'í community's “Big Ideas” , Carol gave an online talk on October 2nd on the topic of creating a refuge from racism. During her presentation, she not only spoke about how to address the issue of racism in society, but also spoke about steps we can each take towards eliminating prejudice in our own personal lives. She began with a famous quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, to an African American Bahá'í:
“Thou art even as the pupil of the eye, the very wellspring of the light, or God’s love hath cast its rays upon thine inmost being, and thou hast turned thy face upon the Kingdom of Thy Lord.”
She followed this with an
explanation, through slides, on the important
anatomical function of the pupil in the eye, which she then linked to
the higher spiritual understanding of what that means. In her
estimation, “When you have illumined souls of African descent in your
community, you are receiving gifts of insight that you would not