Tributes paid to leader

Abdu’l-Baha with Baha'is in Chicago in 1912.

Greater Dandenong’s Baha’i community is set to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the faith’s leader Abdu’l-Baha on 28 November.

His funeral in 1921 was said to be “unprecedented” in scale, Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i’s of Greater Dandenong spokesperson Rowena Eghanian said.

Jews, Christians and Muslims from a wide diversity of backgrounds gathered to pay their respects in then-Palestine.

“They knew him in various capacities – as one who had saved countless lives from starvation during the First World War, had cared for the poor, and had served as the highest example of a life of service.

“His service to humanity was exemplary.”

Abdu’l Baha was the eldest son and appointed successor of the Baha’i faith’s prophet-founder Baha’u’llah

He was exiled and imprisoned for more than 40 years by Persian and Ottoman authorities until he was freed in 1908.

At age 67, he toured Europe and North America to promote his father’s teachings and world peace.

Abdu’l-Baha spoke on topics such as the equality of women and men, the oneness of the human race, the unity of religions, the eradication of prejudice and the elimination of extreme wealth and poverty.

He warned Europe was on the brink of war. In 1912, he accurately predicted a “spark will set ablaze the whole of Europe” in two years’ time.

During World War I he arranged for surplus grain supplies to be brought to his famine-stricken Akka-Haifa region.

His efforts were rewarded with a knighthood by the British Empire.