Another example of the deterioration of the Egyptian mentality...a shameful debate is taking place as we speak, on whether to allow a group of people who follow the "Baha'i" faith to be recognised in Egypt.
Frankly, I know very little about the Baha'i faith, and I couldn't care less what these people believe. It's their issue!! But I do care...oh do I care!...that in this day and age, we are even having this discussion.
Now that I vented slightly, here's a background to the bemused amongst you who don't know what I'm talking about.
Reported in EIPR (Egyptian Initiave for Personal Rights) is a court ruling in favor of a Bahai couple who suffered blatant discrimination by our Egyptian government (who enjoy trampling the human rights of their citizens a bit too much).
The ruling was issued in a lawsuit filed by an Egyptian BahaÂi married couple against the Interior Minister in June 2004 after officials of the Interior MinistryÂs Civil Status Department (CSD) had confiscated their identification cards as well as the birth certificates of their three daughters, all stating their religious affiliation as BahaÂi. The CSD refused to issue new identification documents unless the family agreed to identify as Muslim.
Not only that, members of the People's Assembly or "magliss el sha3b" have been outspoken in vilifying Baha'is (link ). The Muslim Brotherhood member Gamal Aql even going as far as saying they should be considered apostates (mortaddeen), and we all know what this means (remember Abdul Rahman the Afghan convert?)
وقال جمال عقل عضو المجلس عن جماعة الاخوان المسلمين ان البهائيين كفرة ويجب قتلهم قائلا انهم بدلوا دينهم
The man doesn't mince words...he came right out and called for their death!
But I don't blame him. They say you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears...Mr Aql's fruit seems to stem from the same tree that sprouted a fatwa decreeing the Baha'is are apostates, which was issued by Al-Azhar: considered a beacon for Islamic teachings in the Arab world (link)
والبابية أو البهائية فكر خليط من فلسفات وأديان متعددة، ليس فيها جديد تحتاجه الأمة الإسلامية لإصلاح شأنها وجمع شملها، بل وضح أنها تعمل لخدمة الصهيونية والاستعمار، فهي سليلة أفكار ونحل ابتليت بها الأمة الإسلامية حربا على الإسلام وباسم الدين.
Baha'i faith is just a mix of ideologies and religions, it contains nothing new that the Islamic Umma needs to improve its position. Furthermore, it is clear that Bahaism would only benefit Zionists and colonialists, as it is a faith born of ideologies that are but a war on Islam
Way to go!! I give them five stars for provocationion.
Then they go on to describe the Baha'i faith and traditions, which as I said before, is no concern of mine (nor should it be of Al-Azhar's beyond a philosophical or ideological difference of opinion or faith)
Then the Azhar's decision:
Islam only recognises religions that are mentioned in the Quran. Therefore,the existence of a religion other than Islam, then Christianity and Judaism should be forbidden, as all others would be a disturbance to the general order
- وأن الأزهر ليهيب بالمسئولين في جمهورية مصر العربية أن يقفوا بحزم ضد هذه الفئة الباغية على دين الله وعلى النظام العام لهذا المجتمع، وأن ينفذوا حكم الله عليها... القانون الذي يستأصلها ويهيل التراب عليها، وعلى أفكارها، حماية للمواطنين جميعا من التردي في هذه الأفكار المنحرفة عن صراط الله المستقيم.
Al-Azhar calls unto officials in our Arab Republic of Egypt, to stand firm against this group of people who oppose God's religion and the general order of the society. They must carry out God's order: to cut these people off and heap the dust on them and their ideas...in tinterestrst of protecting all citizens from apostasy and following these twisted ideas away from God's true straight path.
- إن هؤلاء الذين أجرموا في حق الإسلام والوطن يجب أن يختفوا من الحياة لا أن يجاهروا بالخروج على الإسلام
Those who committed this crime against Islam and our homeland must disappear from existence, and not be allowed to declare their rejection of Islam
What would you do if you were a Baha'i living in Egypt?? How would you feel?
We've asked this question before, only with a different group of people concerned:
How would you feel as a Copt in Egypt?
How would you feel as a woman?
How would you feel as a secular liberal thinker?
The Egyptian society is in danger spiraling into the Whabi brand of radicalism that pervades Saudi Arabia. Not only are politicians and Azhar scholars promoting this hatred, the average person seems to agree.
On the popular program "Al Qahira Alyawm" (Cairo today), this very issue was discussed. A poll indicated that only 25% respondents believed Baha'is are entitled to full rights as Egyptian citizens!!!
I know one shouldn't rely totally on these statistics...after all it's proven fact that 86.47% of statistics are made up on the spot (sorry couldn't resist), but sadly I can believe this one. One caller said "we can't allow this to happen. What's next? Buddhism?"
My dear fellow Egyptians: I implore you, open your minds and hearts before you spiral back to the dark ages. What does it matter if someone wants to worship a different God? Until when will we remain fixated on what should be a personal relationship with God....no matter who that God is!!
To our knowledge, Baha'i's don't engage in sacrificing virgins and eating babies
We never heard them promoting mass suicide or brainwashing young people
We haven't even heard of them blowing up innocent people or declaring war on the world
Why can't we just give them their rights, and leave them alone to worship whomever they like. After all, isn't this the coexistence we hear so much about?