"Of all the places on Earth that might have been chosen as world headquarters for this 160-year-old faith, why did the Baha'i wind up here, on a mountainside overlooking the busiest seaport of the globe's only Jewish state?
'This,' replies Douglas Moore, the church's public relations director in Haifa, 'is where He was a prisoner.'
Moore is referring to Baha' Alla – Arabic for The Glory of God – a Persian nobleman who was born in 1817 in what is now Iran and who went on to become the founder and guiding spirit of the Baha'i faith.
Hounded by the political authorities of the day, Baha' Alla spent most of his life in exile and eventually found himself imprisoned with his family in Akko, now a beach resort north of Haifa. Then it was a filthy, desolate penal colony, a remote outpost of the Ottoman Empire.
Once freed, Baha' Alla instructed his son and successor to build a mausoleum on the slopes of Mount Carmel and there bury the remains of the Bab, another Persian religious figure, who had foretold the appearance of Baha' Alla before being executed in Persia in 1850."
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