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IRANIAN COMIC, OMID DJALILI, HEADLINES THE BAHÁ'Í SUMMER CONFERENCE

What is so funny about Bahá'í?

DID YOU hear the one about the Iranian comedian? No, it is not an oxymoron. Omid Djalili, Britain's only Iranian stand-up comedian and actor, was headlining in Slovakia, but not at a comedy club. He was one of three featured speakers at a Bahá'í summer conference in the Low Tatras July 31 through August 5.
Djalili may not be a household name, but his face should be familiar to moviegoers. He has had roles in films as diverse as The World Is Not Enough, Gladiator, and The Mummy, and is currently starring in an American sitcom with Whoopi Goldberg.


A FUNNY guy delivers a real message.
photo: Omeed Jahanpour

DID YOU hear the one about the Iranian comedian? No, it is not an oxymoron. Omid Djalili, Britain's only Iranian stand-up comedian and actor, was headlining in Slovakia, but not at a comedy club. He was one of three featured speakers at a Bahá'í summer conference in the Low Tatras July 31 through August 5.

Djalili may not be a household name, but his face should be familiar to moviegoers. He has had roles in films as diverse as The World Is Not Enough, Gladiator, and The Mummy, and is currently starring in an American sitcom with Whoopi Goldberg.

Known for his ability to make people laugh at themselves without profanity or off-colour jokes, Djalili is, perhaps, the poster boy for the Bahá'í faith, which preaches unity and tolerance. He makes jokes about ethnicity, but in doing so uses his comedy to demonstrate what people have in common, rather than their differences. His humour is accessible, no matter where the audience is from.

And that includes Slovakia. Djalili has a strong relationship with the country, having lived here from 1991 to 1993 and performed in Bratislava and Trnava.


Is school not out for summer?


Bahá'ís around the world host seasonal conferences called Summer School and Winter School. Designed to appeal to all ages, topics usually include social and spiritual issues, art and music workshops, evening entertainment, and visits to local points of interest.

Besides Djalili, Slovakia's 2004 Summer School welcomed Dr Fereidoun Javaheri, a member of the Bahá'í Universal House of Justice, the highest Bahá'í administrative body. The Universal House of Justice is made up of nine democratically elected members who served for five years at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa. Javaheri spoke about the role of the Bahá'í faith in bringing spirituality and peace to society in the 21st century .

Also speaking were Raymond Switzer, a psychologist and member of the European Bahá'í Task Force, and Furugh Switzer a sociologist. The Canadian couple, currently working in Hungary, have previously given well-received presentations at a Slovak Winter School on marriage and family life.

There are about five million Bahá'ís worldwide in more than 230 countries. Because unity is viewed as vital to world peace, Bahá'ís support the work of the United Nations. The Bahá'í International Community works closely with the United Nations on projects that focus on minority rights, the status of women, crime prevention, the control of narcotic drugs, the welfare of children and the family, and the movement toward disarmament.

The Slovak Bahá'í web site is www.bahai.sk, and their main web site is www.bahai.org.

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