Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 20, No 2 (2007)

Global Citizenship and the Baha'i Faith

Ruth Williams
Issued Date: 6 Oct 2007


Attitudes towards refugees has been critiqued by Derrida (2002), who considers receptivity of host societies. Comparatively, Hage (2003) claims Australians are adopting a paranoid nationalism, subsequently hindering the adaptation of newcomers.
Features of a refugee group may be vital to appreciating their ultimate outcome. In-depth interviews with 7 Iranian Bahá’í refugees reveal the centrality of religion to their relatively consistent cosmopolitan identities.
Bahá’ís refer to their faith as a world religion where the key principle ‘elimination of all prejudices’ aspires to unity in diversity. Consequently, Bahá’ís stem from all parts of the world, constituting it as cosmopolitan religion.
Central tenets of their faith appear to facilitate the adaptation process. ‘The unity of humankind’, means Bahá’ís refer to themselves as citizens of the world. Thus, identifying as Bahá’í rather than Iranian or Australian, meaning the values underpinning religion outweigh national or ethnic identity.

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DOI: 10.1558/arsr.v20i2.217


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