Friday, October 20, 2006

President Mubarak On Religious Tolerance

As a follow up on the previous post regarding the highly anticipated speech of Egypt's President Mr. Hosni Mubarak given on 19 October 2006, the following are excerpts from a report on the speech. For the full article on Reuters website, please click here.

To view a complete video recording of the speech, please click here.

Egypt's Mubarak blames Muslims for faith's bad image

By Alaa Shahine

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak questioned on Thursday whether Muslims had done enough to change the West's "wrong perceptions" about Islam, which he said was under "ferocious attack".

He also said Islam needed a fresh religious discourse to promote tolerance and uproot extremist views.

"The Muslim world is facing a ferocious attack, describing Islam wrongly and offending Muslims' sacred (symbols and figures) and beliefs," Mubarak said in a speech marking Lailat al-Qadr, the night Muslims believe God started the revelation of the Koran to Prophet Mohammed more than 1400 years ago.

"Don't we Muslims share part of the responsibility for the wrong perceptions about Islam? Have we done our duty in correcting the image of Islam and Muslims?" he said.

"Isn't it the time for a new religious discourse, that teaches people the correct things in their religion ... and promotes the values of tolerance against those of extremism and radicalism?" he said.

It was the most detailed remark yet by the president on the need to reform Islam's jurisprudence to accommodate more moderate views, although critics say the state's control of religious institutions in Egypt has harmed their credibility.

Egypt has been battling radical Islamists since before Mubarak took office. His predecessor Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamist militants.

Also, this Associated Press (AP) article regarding the speech was reported in the New York Times, and excerpted here: Muslims have strayed from the essence of Islam and need to return to its principles of "forgiveness, righteousness and reform," he said.


  1. Edo River here,
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but did the late Shah of Iran make speaches similar to this in the time right before his fall? I mean was he speaking of adapting a modern attitude, toleration, etc. meanwhile his secret police were torturing people right and left, creating a building vortex that eventually sucked him down into it.

    Well, this speech does sound enlightened. I didn't know what to expect, this is surprising. What is the reality of his deeds?

  2. I do not think it would be fair to either leader to draw such conclusions about them without having firsthand knowledge of what really goes on around each leader. As you well know many actions could be the result of decisions made by the many and diverse government officials in power. My knowledge of President Mubarak is that he is a man of integrity, courage and principle.

  3. Thanks, Bilo, for sharing this. I look forward to hearing more about the developments in Egypt!

  4. Victor,
    I wish we can hear more good news.... History tells us that ultimately all these difficulties will be sorted out and get solved.

  5. Thank you Bilo, for this constant source of clarifying information about the situation of Baha'is in Egypt!


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