New 'Baha'i World' volume addresses pressing social issues

June 9, 2005

HAIFA, Israel — Gender equality, domestic violence, and the role of the family in society are among the issues examined in the newly released volume of "The Baha'i World."

"The Baha'i World 2003-2004" is the 12th volume in the annual record of Baha'i activities and perspectives.

"The Baha'i World volumes offer serious students of the Baha'i Faith and general readers a yearly snapshot of the Baha'i community's progress and development," said Ann Boyles, the book's senior editor.

"We publish articles and essays that relate Baha'i perspectives to issues of topical concern," said Dr. Boyles.

Some of the major articles include "Inner Enlightenment, Moral Refinement, and Justice: Antidotes to Domestic Violence," by Dr. Michael Penn; "Towards a Purposeful Beauty: Reflecting on and Learning from the Houses of Worship," by Charles Boyle; and a "World Watch" essay by Dr. Boyles on the role of the family.

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A page of photographs in "The Baha'i World 2003-2004."

Dr. Penn's article explores the Baha'i perspective on the global problem of violence within the home. He discusses beliefs and practices that are detrimental to the physical and psychological well-being of women and girls, while considering the efforts of various Baha'i administrative bodies in promoting equality between men and women.

Dr. Penn looks at the connection between the private and social elements of life, and examines the effect of family violence on the progress of society.

He stresses the Baha'i principle of the importance of early childhood education in promoting social justice and eliminating domestic violence.

"The cultivation of the human spirit begins in the family," he writes.

In his article, Charles Boyle offers a perspective on the significance of the Baha'i Houses of Worship and their relationship to other sacred architecture.

"The Houses of Worship erected by the Baha'i community are designed to attract the heart and stir the soul," Mr. Boyle writes. "They stand as physical embodiments of purposeful beauty."

Other reports featured in the book include an account of the Baha'i participation at the World Summit on the Information Society, the annual "Year in Review" survey, a statement by the Baha'i International Community on "The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality," and an update on the situation of the Baha'i communities in Iran and Egypt.

A chapter, illustrated by photographs, is devoted to the golden jubilee celebrations that were held in 2003-04 in many Baha'i national communities.

This 280-page book is prepared by the Baha'i International Community's Office of Public Information.

It contains numerous color photographs, and is available for US$18.00. It can be ordered from World Centre Publications through the United States Baha'i Distribution Service, 4703 Fulton Industrial Boulevard Atlanta, GA 30336-2017, USA. Telephone: (800) 999-9019; e-mail: