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Dr. Hussein Ahdieh was born and raised in Nayriz, Iran, He is a sixth generation Baha'i. Hussein immigrated to the United States as a young man of 19. Like many immigrants seeking a better life in America, he worked and attended college in the New York area. Hussein eventually completed a Masters Degree in European Intellectual History and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts.

The Spirit of the Age: Abdu’l-Baha, Khalil Gibran & Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village has historically been an attractive place for writers, scientists, artists and politicians, including during the time of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to New York City in 1912, when He spoke in churches, temples, universities and at a peace conference. This article is an attempt to shine light on this neighborhood blessed by the footsteps of the Master, and to focus particularly on the relationships between Abdu’l-Baha and two artists living there, Juliet Thompson and Khalil Gibran. Continue reading

Juliet Thompson: Champion of the Baha’i Faith in New York City

Juliet Thompson & portrait of Mrs. Coolidge. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

It is always a pleasure to show friends my favorite places when they visit New York City. I first came here when I was 17 years old and sometimes I feel like there is a memory on every street. The two places that I am most excited to show my out-of-town visitors are the Church of the Ascension where Abdu’l-Baha spoke days after His arrival in America and the other is the home of Juliet Thompson at 48 West 10th Street, near 5th Avenue. I believe that in the future these will be the must-visit spots for any visitor to New York City, far surpassing in popularity the Empire State building, Times Square, and other current tourist attractions.

Juliet Thompson was born in Washington DC, on September 23, 1873. She was of Irish descent. She was twelve years old when her father died and she was forced to work as a teenager in order to support the family. Early on, she showed talent for painting and was able to make money selling her pastel portraits. She studied at the Corcoran Art School in Washington DC. Continue reading

They Kidnapped My Father and Killed My Dog

This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength. How much the organs, the members and the parts of the body of man are intermingled and connected for mutual aid and help, and how much they influence one another! In the same way, the parts of this infinite universe have their members and elements connected with one another, and influence one another spiritually and materially. – Abdu’l-Baha

Ever since small boats could sail beyond the horizon, each person who has journeyed to a new home has a unique story, with their own motivation for leaving the home of their ancestors and for starting out as a foreigner in a new land. There is sometimes a push: famine or war. There is sometimes a pull: freedom or economic stability. For Baha’is, the strongest reason for their exodus from Iran over the past fifty years is religious persecution.  Continue reading