Sunday, August 27, 2006

Egypt: Vicious Mosque Speech Attacking Baha'is

Early June during the Friday prayers sermon in a mosque in the Egyptian village of Damwa (Dakarnas Centre) located in the al-Daqahliyah province of the Delta region, Sheikh Muhammad Hassaan, a member of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood movement, gave a speech (Khutba) viciously attacking the Baha'i Faith. As always in such speeches, it was extremely hateful, inflammatory, and full of flagrant misrepresentations. The speech was preceded with an annoying marketing clip against the Baha'is. The sermon went on for about 55 minutes (audio link below). The Sheikh spoke of the Central Figures and some of the historical events related to the Baha'i Faith, he then manipulated the truth and the well-known facts in order to paint a picture that serves his own purpose and motives. The statements he made were no more than the usual misrepresentations which have been circulating in Egypt for several decades.

These falsehoods have been repeatedly refuted by the Baha'i Institutions, several scholars and publications, one of whom is referred to in this link. Also, this website titled "Islam and the Baha'i Faith" addresses in Arabic all these misrepresentations. Another website specifically addressing all of al-Azhar's statements and accusations could be accessed here.

After inflaming his audience in the mosque, he then declared the Baha'is apostates, and called for their punishment according to his interpretation of Islamic Sahriah. He announced that their punishment must be the death penalty, and went on to justify that penalty in the name of Islam. He then started accusing the Baha'is of conspiring with every single government, agency, movement or religion that he hates, including the Western Civilization, America, Zionism, Communism, Europe, Israel, Masonic Organizations, and even Shi'ite Islam!

The Scream (Edvard Munch)

He called on the Baha'is to repent, become Muslims and follow all the teachings of Islam...God would then forgive them, otherwise they would be considered the same as birds infected with the "Avian Flu" virus and would be subjected to extermination!

He went on to instruct his congregation to only listen to the clergy and Sheikhs, not to science, not to the internet [the Sheikh operates several websites], not to any media source, not to philosophers, not to educational institutions, but to be totally submissive and obedient to their Muslim clergy.

P.S. Obviously, this example does not represent or reflect the opinion of the majority of Muslims, who continue to be appalled by this kind of radical thinking that does not serve the cause or reputation of Islam, a religion which promotes peace and submission to the will of God. The Holy Qur'an states: "la ikrah fel-deen" which means "no compulsion in religion." It also states "you have your religion and I have my religions", meaning that everyone is free to adopt and practice whatever belief system one wants.

8 comments:

  1. Can you comment how these statements of Islamic leaders align with these passages in the Holy Qur'an?

    "But if thy Lord had pleased, verily all who are in the earth would have
    believed together. What! wilt thou compel men to become believers?
    Sura 10

    "Let there be no compulsion in Religion."
    Sura 2

    How did the notion of apostasy develop in Islamic law given the apparent clarity of these Qur'anic passages?

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  2. Thank you for this penetrating and important observation.

    These statements by Islamic leaders do not align at all with the teachings of the Holy Koran, on the contrary, as you pointed out, the Koran is clear about freedom of religion and freedom of belief as in "no compulsion in religion" (la ikrah fel-deen), and in "you have your religion and I have my religion."

    As far as I know, the notion of apostasy and its punishment is not in accordance with the teachings of the Koran, but rather interpretations by some clergy. The word "Murtad" (apostate) itself in Arabic means to "go back", or to "return", so if we even assume that there is any validity to the notion of apostasy as promoted by fundamentalist Islamic clergy, then it should never apply to Baha'is since Baha'is are not "going back", but rather moving forward, i.e. believe in a revelation after Muhammad, not before.

    I would love to hear more comments from you on this.

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  3. Also in early June, according to the "el-Masry el-Youm" newspaper, the topic of the Friday sermons in all Port-Said mosques, was based on a manifesto, produced and distributed to all the Imams by the Ministry of Religious Endowment (Awqaf) "warning" people about the Baha'i Faith.

    Thanks (I guess)for publishing this guy's picture. It does say a thousand words about the hatred he thrives on.

    Ghanim

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Ghanim for reminding us of that one. Here is a link for it:

    http://bahai-egypt.blogspot.com/2006/06/egypt-anti-bahai-campaign-intensifies.html

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  5. The arrogance of these Islamic clergy is extraordinary. This sermon is an outright declaration of obscurantism - ignore science, ignore history, hate people of other faiths - and an attempt to control thought and exert power over the congregation. He is doing exactly what "One Common Faith" condemns.

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  6. Thank you Barney. It is disturbing indeed to witness those who continue to preach such repulsive rhetoric. Their intention is to return civilization to the dark ages. Here is the link to One Common Faith:

    http://bahai-library.com/pdf/2005_11/one_common_faith.pdf

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  7. Dear friend,

    I'd like to thank the other posters for what they have contributed.

    Very few Muslims have heard of the Baha'i Faith, forget understand it's 'aqidah and usul (ideology). With time and increased awareness, the feeling of the Islamic citizen's of the world, as the beautiful religion does enjoin will be rather favourable.

    Please, let not this one scholar (or rather, those of similar ideals) hinder you or any other Baha'i in expressing yourselves in the jovial manner, I have become accustomed too.

    Deeds and intentions bear fruition always. May Allah give us all the patience to do so.

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  8. Thank you Monder for your wisdom. What you had just said is exactly how many other Muslim brothers and sisters feel about the various religions, including the Baha'i Faith. There is a lot of good out there. There is a definite silent majority. Unfortunately the few radical opinions tend to have a louder voice than the many moderate and understanding people such as yourself.

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