It also referred to a 1986 Fatwa by former Sheikh Al-Azhar, the late Gad El-Haq Ali Gad El-Haq, which claimed that "the Baha'i Faith has no relation to divine religions, but that it is a newly invented religion that appeared in the late 19th century under the protection and blessings of English occupation with the aim of disintegrating Muslim unity and denying Islamic principles...."
Beside the total lack of validity to any of the statements made in this article, it goes further in claiming that the Baha'is do not believe that Muhammad (PBUH) was a messenger of God. In reality, however, the Baha'i religion is the only one, other than Islam itself, known to recognize the divinity of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and that He is indeed a messenger of God.
We may never find out what is exactly behind this recent desperate escalation of rhetoric, intended to discredit the Baha'i religion, by top Egyptian Islamic leaders. But in making such false claims and repeating these uncalled-for statements, it appears that His Eminence Sheikh Tantawi was made to stir a process, intended to deceive the masses in believing that the Baha'i Faith is out there to devour Islam--a scheme that has the potential of fomenting, uninformed, Islamic public fury towards the Baha'is.
Conveniently, these statements made no mention of the fact that Egypt's highest ecclesiastical court in Cairo, in the 1920s, was the first to ever recognize the independence of the Baha'i religion. As was previously posted regarding Egypt's role in the emancipation of the Baha'i religion, one can find the court's most emphatic statement that reads: "The Baha'i Faith is a new religion, entirely independent, with beliefs, principles and laws of its own, which differ from, and are utterly in conflict with, the beliefs, principles and laws of Islam. No Baha'i, therefore, can be regarded a Muslim or vice-versa, even as no Buddhist, Brahmin, or Christian can be regarded as Muslim or vice-versa."
This early decision, in Egypt, asserted the independence of the Baha'i Faith in the heart of the Islamic world, and led to its acceptance as an independent religion, and the official recognition of its elected Institutions initially in Egypt, Palestine, Persia, and the United States of America. Currently there are several millions of Baha'is found in at least 218 countries and 116,000 localities worldwide.