Bahai News - Bahais open home for King observance January 10, 2002

Bahais open home for King observance

By Joanna Corman / joanna.corman@latimes.com

CLAREMONT -- Considering that Martin Luther King Jr.'s main message in the civil rights movement was one of inclusiveness, Keyvan and Arsalan Geula figured the best way to honor King on his birthday was to open their home to strangers.

The Claremont couple belong to the Bahai faith, which preaches unity.

Festivities begin with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the couple's home, 234 E. Alfred Drive. A full menu of activities, including religious readings and music, will follow. The public is invited but should call for a reservation. "The pivotal teaching of the Bahai faith is the oneness of humanity," Keyvan Geula said. "It really is at the heart of our beliefs."

The Bahai religion was founded in Iran in the 19th century. Important principles include eliminating racial, class and religious prejudice.

Those attending will hear readings from the sacred texts of the Hindu, Christian, Bahai, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Muslim and Buddhist faiths. There will also be music by a high school pianist, singing, a play about civil rights hero Rosa Parks and a "candle unity" ceremony. Keyvan Geula -- who is a marriage, family and child counselor -- said the evening will end with an exercise she is developing that invites people to talk about how they can eliminate racism. She said she wants people to leave empowered.

"Our hope for it is to draw people together and honor Dr. King and find fuller expression of his views in society, because I know we have a long ways to go for racial harmony," said Nancy Scott, a member of the Bahais of Claremont, who is helping to organize the event.

The organizers see King's mission as closely mirroring their own, Scott said.

"As Bahais, we don't make a distinction between religions," Scott said. "They come from the same God."

For information or a reservation: 626-2569


©Copyright 2002, Los Angles Times

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