The Baha’i believe in the unity of all religions: there is one God, and the various world religions have all arisen as different ways of communicating His message in different places and at different times.
All religions are gradually and inevitably moving towards bringing about world peace, and the Baha’i see their own faith as the final fulfillment of this religious trajectory.
It’s an evolution Baha’i explain through the metaphor of a school. Other religions are equivalent to the early grades, while the Baha’i are in the final class.
“But of course you still obey and respect the other religions,” Keo Davuth, a 26-year-old Baha’i based in Phnom Penh, hastens to add.
“Just like you still love and respect your grade 1 and grade 2 teachers.” The Baha’i have their own distinct set of practices, which include particular ceremonies for weddings and funerals, and a 19-day month – one of which is spent fasting.
...the faith has come under fire for apparently draconian enforcement of certain principles.
In some parts of the world, the faith has come under fire for apparently draconian enforcement of certain principles.
Marriage has been a particular pressure point: members who marry outside of the faith or in same-sex ceremonies report having their “membership” revoked.
But in Cambodia, these concerns remain distant. Hou Sopheap laughs when asked about what a Baha’i funeral entails.
...for important life events, people often opt to revert to Buddhist traditions.
“We haven’t done one yet, so we don’t quite know,” he says, explaining that for important life events, people often opt to revert to Buddhist traditions.