Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Egypt's Baha'is: Rise of Support in Official Press

Just one day after the anxiously anticipated 19 June Egyptian Supreme Court's session regarding the civil rights of the Baha'is in Egypt, a major article appeared in the highly respected weekly newspaper "al-Kahera News" [Cairo News], a publication of the Government's Ministry of Culture.

The article is authored by an independent writer named Muhammad Shebl. He introduces it as "another round on Islam and freedom of belief." Using quotations from the Koran, he warns the public that, "according to Islamic law, they cannot force the Baha'is to convert to Islam." He writes that "God had created man and wanted him to be free, then He gave him a mind to discern for himself, and that God postponed man's accountability until the eternal world. If some people hate their fellow human beings for their beliefs while in this world, it will anger God as if they had committed a great sin and offended Him. If God had wished to force all humans to worship Him in a certain way, He would have done so, but He allowed them the freedom to choose so that He can hold them accountable."

Mr. Shebl also states that "if the Baha'is were apostates [as they have been accused of being by Islamists], then their punishment should remain pending until Judgement Day."

The author, repeatedly, stresses the importance of freedom of choice for every human being, and that it is not up to anyone, except God, to judge the beliefs of others. He also points out that Muslims cannot only limit their recognition to Islam, Christianity and Judaism, but rather they should recognize and tolerate all other religions including Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus, etc....

Mr. Shebl supports his statements and arguments with several quotations from the Koran that are clearly balanced and tolerant. He calls for cessation of the hatred campaign conducted by Islamist fundamentalists, and reminds people of the Islamic teachings propagating unity of humankind just as the Baha'is have been promoting all along.

In spite of the campaign of discredit propagated by Muslim fundamentalists, this, and many other recent articles in the mainstream Egyptian press, clearly illustrate a wave of tolerance and acceptance by those who are capable of shaping public opinion in the country. It is also apparent that this wave represents the voice of Egypt's silent majority who remains the hope for a bright and peaceful future.

N.B. Arabic readers can access the full text by clicking on the two images of the newspaper, which had to be cut for scanning purposes. Also, please click here for the "pdf" link.


  1. Thank you so much for keeping us updated. Thank God for the courage of many members of Egyptian society for making the effort to provide honest information on the bahai faith. I pray that the court will be capable of demonstrating equal courage and honesty and that all sides will adhere to dignity in these historical hearings.

    Warmest greetings. Martijn, the Netherlands

  2. Thank you for the update.
    I will post about this. Do you mind if I use the pictures in this post?
    Baha'i greetings from Portugal

  3. It is a struggle.... Hopefully those with reason and sound judgment could illustrate to the rest the truth about the Baha'i Faith, and help to unveil its real message. People could then see for themselves and without blind prejudice. This will not be easy, but possible in time....

  4. Marco: please go ahead and use what you need.


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