The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience



In August of 1998 I took out an account on AOL. It quickly
became apparent that my fellow Bahais were using AOL in
such a way as to further withhold knowledge and information
from AOL's more than 14 million members.

It appeared to me that there were four main issues.

Alt.religion.bahai, which had been created in April of 1997
and which had had more than 20,000 messages posted
to it, was not even offered in the list of AOL newsgroups.
AOL personnel with which I spoke over the phone were
very puzzled why it wasn't and even implied that some
action would have had to have been taken to keep it from
automatically being picked up and added to their newsgroups.
It took more than a month of strenuous effort to get AOL
to add alt.religion.bahai.

On the AOL Bahai Forums it became apparent that Bahais
were manipulating and controlling information by NOT making
it available, by essentially preserving the frozen, non-functioning
state of affairs or the status quo:

1. The Libraries were not accepting new uploads for others
then to download and read.

2. The list of Newsgroups on the Main Menu for Bahai offered
only soc.religion.bahai with no mention of alt.religion.bahai,
or talk.religion.bahai once it was created in January of 1999.
Coupled with soc.religion.bahai's suppression of all mention
of alt.religion.bahai or talk.religion.bahai, this prevents people
from even hearing of their existence.

3. The available links for Web Sites on the Main Menu for Bahai
did not offered my website The Bahai Faith & Religious
Freedom of Conscience, though it has to be one of the most
visited sites on the Bahai Faith with more than 7,000 hits since
May 1998.

As the months went by, my repeated attempts to improve these
deficiencies met with greater and greater opposition from the
Bahai fundamentalists on AOL. Similiarly, my requests, beginning
in August of 1998, that the Forum Leader, Mark Foster, who no
one had seen for months, resign, for derilection of duty, were
increasingly opposed while various excuses were offered for his
absence. Not until talk.religion.bahai was passed five months
later in January 1999 did he suddenly reappear only to begin
immediately reporting absolutely EVERY message I posted to
AOL as a TOS. It quickly became clear to me that he was
back in order to target and build a case against me to have me
suspended from AOL. My account was then temporarily suspended
on three different occasions and finally terminated March 6, 1999.

Of the four issues, only two have partially been remedied.

1. Alt.religion.bahai and now talk.religion.bahai are available
under AOL's Keyword Newsgroups, Expert Add.

2. The Libraries are accepting some uploads, though Foster banned
the 15+ megabytes I uploaded in late February of my entire
archive of discussion for talk.religion.bahai and which is at least
available on my website. It's obvious Foster is finding pretexts
for suppressing further uploads.

While Foster has claimed since mid-January that alt.religion.bahai
and talk.religion.bahai would be added to the Main Menu under
Newsgroups, he continued to make excuses for it not happening.
As of March 9, 1999 they were not yet listed under Newsgroups
along with soc.religion.bahai.

All of these factors, coupled with Mark Foster's abuse of his
position as Forum Leader and his harassing and targetting of
dissenting voices, not only mine, leaves no doubt that he and
other Bahais, including some among the Bahai Administration,
are involved in manipulating and censoring discourse on AOL.

For an instance of "back-channel" email coercion on AOL see

For an instance of Foster's double standard handling
fundamentalist Bahais see Susan Maneck's accusations on
AOL against me of "slander" and references to my views as
"garbage" and "litter":

The immediate pretext for terminating my account, according
to the AOL official with whom I spoke on the phone, was that
I had pointed out in a newly created Folder called Censorship that I
and other AOL members had requested a Folder entitled Bahai
Censorship and thereby undermined the authority of the Forum

In closing let me add that AOL personnel are extremely uninformed
about the Bahai Faith, especially its practice of censorship, and its
ability to exploit the TOS system....

Half a megabyte of messages documenting Bahai censorship
on AOL may be found at