Culture Secretary Eric Pickles was one of the guest speakers at this years All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Baha'i Faith. Although his speech was rather lack lustre, he clearly has a remarkable jovial smile that has obviously been developed for photographs. The event was held on Wednesday 30th April on the Terrace Pavilion of the House of Commons.
Rather more endearing was the quality of the welcoming speech made by the Baha'i representative who spoke of the history of the Baha'i Faith and its origins in Iran around 1863. Her speech was spoken most eloquently, but had a strong heartfelt message of peace and unity during the most holy period of the Baha'i calendar.
Ridvan is a period of 12 days from 12 April - 2 May and is celebrated by the World's six Million strong Baha'i Community, as "the Most Great Festival." It commemorates the dates in 1863 when Baha u llah, Founder of the Baha'i faith, revealed his mission to his family and friends.
The evnet was used to galvanise the wider friendships of the Baha'i Community of the UK and I for one was grateful for the wonderful attempts made by the organisers to engage with Juliet Chowdhry, Wilson Chowdhry and Haroon Yousaf of the BPCA. The organisers made every effort to connect potential work partnerships, by linking groups working in similar humanitarian fields.
Wilson Chowdhry said;
"Our relationship with the Bahai Community has developed over three years and has become one of deep admiration for each other's work. These invites are never deemed trivial by the BPCA, we view each occasion as an opportunity to show solidarity for the other's cause, as both our communities suffer great persecution."
"It was a privilege to stand united with our Baha'i brothers and to expand our own understanding of the richness of their culture."
The All-Party Group has two aims; to raise awareness within Parliament of the Baha'i faith and the efforts of the Bahai Community of the UK to contribute to the betterment of British Society, and to raise awareness of the persecution of Baha'is in Iran and other instances where Baha'is are subject to discrimination or oppression on the grounds of their faith.
Secretary of State for Culture Eric Pickles and Wilson Chowdhry Chair of the BPCA.
Revd Patrick Morrow of The Council of Christians and Jews with Juliet and Wilson
Vice-Chairperson Mr Shahid Khan and Press Secretary Miss Claire Fuller of Global Minorities Alliance withWilson Chowdhry.
Serge from Global Human Rights Defence and Wilson from BPCA.