Sunday, June 04, 2006

Commentary: Radio Cairo interview re-Baha'i Faith

Radio listeners in a Cairo Cafe

Today on Radio Cairo at 7:42 PM Cairo-time, a radio interview hosted by Dr. Haggar Saad-el-Deen discussed the Baha'i Faith with her guest Dr. Abd-ellah el-Sammack (SP!), professor of religious studies at al-Azhar University. The professor provided some accurate information regarding the founder of the Baha'i Faith Mirza Hussein Ali Nuri, titled Baha'u'llah. He also described the main principles of the Baha'i Faith such as the unity of God, the unity of religions, the equality of men and women, the elimination of all forms of prejudice and the promotion of universal peace.

He, however, intermingled his description of the Baha'i Faith with some of the usual misrepresentations and untrue statements that have been circulating in the Egyptian media recently. He stated that "the Baha'i Faith originated in Russia and was promoted through communism." Clearly this depiction is entirely false and has no basis historically and factually. Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith was a Persian nobleman from Tehran who, in the mid-nineteenth century, left a life of princely comfort and security and, in the face of intense persecution and deprivation, brought to humanity a stirring new message of peace and unity. Baha'u'llah claimed to be nothing less than a new and independent Messenger from God. His life, work, and influence parallel that of Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad.

In the interview, the professor also indicated that "Baha'is are considered by the Israeli government as its citizens and that they are under its protection worldwide." This is also a blatant falsehood. Baha'i laws are very clear about obedience and loyalty to one's own just government. Baha'is are not permitted to participate in partisan politics or to get involved in any political movement or ideology. The fact that the headquarters and the Holy Sites of the Baha'i Faith are in Israel has nothing to do with the State of Israel. The Holy family was exiled to Palestine years before the concept of the Israeli State was ever contemplated. Just like the fact that Islam and Christianity happen to have their most important Holy Sites in Israel does not make their worldwide followers subjects of the Israeli State.

He also stated that "the Baha'i Faith would totally abrogate Islam and all its teachings and laws." Again, here is another misrepresentation of reality. As described earlier and in other posts on this blog, the Baha'is believe in "Progressive Revelation," meaning that as humankind matures, it receives further guidance and revelation from God in order to fulfill the needs of the time. For anyone to become a Baha'i, he or she must first accept all previous divinely ordained revelations and messengers of God. For example, when a Jew would want to become a Baha'i, he or she must first accept Jesus and Muhammad.

Here is a website that clearly addresses all the accusations and misrepresentation being propagated in the Egyptian media: in English and Arabic.

Radio Cairo is a respected government-sponsored official radio station that has been in operation since radio technology was introduced in Egypt. It would be fitting if a radio station with such a reputation would provide its listeners with a balanced view when discussing such sensitive subjects. Dr. Haggar Saad el-Deen would greatly enhance her program by investigating the truth for herself, and inviting representatives of the Baha'i Faith as well as representatives of al-Azhar next time she airs her program. Instead, she simply agreed with her guest and encouraged him on. If the listeners are allowed to judge for themselves and not only be exposed to one side of the story--this would provide them with true journalism!


  1. Thanks, Bilo, for this post describing the Radio Cairo interview and for clarifying the misrepresentation that we re presented in it!

  2. Thank you for providing such detailed description and the websites where I can find more about the Baha'i faith.


  3. I posted about this Radio interview in my blog, and linked here.

  4. vIt is amazing that the press that was controlled by the government has now succombed to a low level of journalism where only selected, narrow minded, bigoted, and uninformed opinions are allowed to be aired. The press has committed brainwashing of the worst kind, leaving helpless minorities to fend for themselves. Instead of the press serving the interests of the country, it is now serving the interests of the bigots. A free country is measured by how it treats its minorities, especially when they are not involved in any form of partisan politics. Friends of Egypt are now considered foes. Those who would bring Egypt back in the dark or gahilia days are now the only voice that can be heard. Egypt can do better.
    Neil from Florida

  5. im a bahai from malaysia..where is a islamic nation too..
    i heard from some bahais from egypt and bahrain that there was a tv interviews and some dirent debate on tv with bahais and islamic rep..
    i heard that bahais was so calm and talking and puttuing their commnent based on facts and wisdom.and most of their words are comes from the writings.
    although the musleem reps provokes them but bahais remain calm.
    how do get this videos??
    its reli intresteing that it might useful for teachign muslims frends here.
    pls mail me...

  6. You were accurately informed. Thank you for your comment.


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