Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Egyptian Baha'is Defend Themselves In The Press

In response to a recently published book distributed to bookstores and newspaper stands across Egypt calling for killing the Baha'is, four Egyptian Baha'is were interviewed by "Sowt el-Omma" (Voice of the Nation) newspaper. The Baha'is were successful in showing the readers how the book had flagrantly violated all forms of human decency, civility and international law. One of the subtitles stated: "If every nation had killed those who had different beliefs and opinions--humanity would have disappeared from existence."

The book was authored by Dr. Khaled Abdel-Halim el-Sayouty, under the authority and direction of the Ministry of Islamic Endowment, and the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Egypt, and sold for a bargain price of one Egyptian Pound. It was dated June 2006 and consisted of 104 pages. It was titled, "Baha'ism - its Beliefs and Colonial Goals", and included statements made by al-Azhar's Islamic Research Ecclesiastical College clearly calling for the killing of Baha'is.

The Baha'is interviewed were Ms. Wafa Hendi Halim, her brother Dr. Raouf Hendi Halim, Dr. Basma Gamal Mousa, and Mr. Hussein Sabry. The article was published on 24 July 2006, and entitled "Outrage Among Baha'is Caused By A Book Published By The Ministry Of Religious Endowment Justifying Their Elimination."

The article presented the views of the Baha'is very clearly and honestly. It emphasized that based on legal precedents in Egypt, the Constitution and Islamic Sahriah, the Baha'i Faith has been officially recognized in Egypt. Also, the recent court decision of 4 April 2006 re-confirmed the rights of Baha'is to be recognized and treated equally.

It affirmed the need for Egypt to follow the rest of the world in recognizing the Baha'i Faith as an independent religion, and that the International Baha'i Community, a permanent member of the United Nation's Socioeconomic Council, had written a letter to al-Azhar offering its willingness to collaborate on its study of the Baha'i Faith.

The article was successful in defending all the accusations brought about in that book, eloquently dissected the current Baha'i situation, and presented a strong case for the necessity of official recognition of the Baha'i faith in Egypt.

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