This new development was published in Copts United website two days ago. The independent site of "the Muslim Network for Baha'i Rights" provided a translated summary of the article in one of its recent posts. The following is some of what the Network has provided in its post.
In an unprecedented move that represents a positive development in the dealing of the Ministry of Religious Endowments with Egypt’s Baha’i community, Sheikh Salim Abdul Jaleel - the under-secretary for religious advocacy, gave the following response to a query on the Ministry’s accusations that Egyptian Baha’is support the Zionist movement:There is no proof available that incriminates the Baha’is of Egypt with supporting Zionism. But I generally say that the existence of any sect that follows a faith that isn’t divinely inspired serves our enemies. But to state that the Baha’i Faith serves Zionism or that it’s related to it or that its movements are dictated by Zionism or that it is linked to it - these are all accusations that lack evidence, and it’s being repeated by the Intelligence agencies, and not Islamic scholars.
Not only do we accept calls for dialogue, but in fact we call others with whom we disagree to dialogue in order to reach a common ground.
Previously, however, the Ministry of Endowment had been quite vocal in its opposition to the Baha'is as was described in a previous post, quoted below:
...the Ministry of Religious Endowment, headed by Mr. Zaqzouq, has just instructed all mosques in Egypt to launch an attack on the Baha'is. The second, attached, Rose Al-Youssef newspaper article, published today, proudly announces this fresh piece of news.
In brief, the article states that the Ministry has distributed to all Mosque leaders (Imams) a book called "Baha'iy'ah and the position of Islam," aimed at telling people to watch-out for those Baha'is who are out to get them and destroy Islam in the process.
The book, and the article, repeat the usual falsehood that has been propagated in Egypt (and Iran) about the Baha'is, that is: the usual unfounded propaganda about connections to Zionism, etc.... It accuses the Baha'is of being apostates, and explains how Sheikh Al-Azhar in 1947 had classified them as such, and had declared their marriages to be null and void. It even incites Egyptians "to warn their youth about the dangers of 'Baha'iy'ah' so that they don't fall for its entrapment."
It must be emphasized that this development should be regarded as a very significant change of course in the position of this Ministry which, among its other responsibilities, is charged with overseeing all mosques and Islamic religious institutions in the country.
This also speaks for an emerging current of understanding and acceptance that appears to reflect a better appreciation of what the Baha'is are all about. The government and its agencies, as well as numerous prominent members and leaders of the society, appear to be learning the truth about the Baha'i Faith and the desire of the Egyptian Baha'is, as obedient citizens and well-wishers of their homeland, to join hands with their fellow Egyptians in promoting their collective welfare.
Although this transition is gradual and guarded, it demonstrates that the Egyptian authorities are finally nearing the conclusion that Baha'is are indeed well-wishers of their beloved country and that their intentions are to serve their fellow citizens and to promote unity and harmony wherever they reside. It is only natural that this gradual change of heart is happening...it is because of the unshaken course pursued by the Baha'is of Egypt in their struggle. They have always responded to aggressors with dignity, respect and resilience, even when they were faced with unprecedented vicious attacks by some. Additionally, while maintaining their composure and dignity, they have never hesitated to refute misrepresentations of their religion by some of the media and by the extremist elements of the society.