Saturday, January 05, 2008

Egypt: 2008 Begins With Media Enlightenment

On the second of January, Al-Ahaly Egyptian newspaper published an extensive coverage of the struggle of the Baha'is of Egypt. The article, written by Omnia Talal, began with the title: "The Baha'is in Egypt...A Minority Without Identity."

The article introduced the subject by stating that "Al-Ahaly opened the Baha'i dossier." It described the teachings and status of the Baha'i Faith as an independent religion, it spoke of its history in the region, it reviewed previously published articles, it published interviews with Egyptian Baha'is, and it described clearly their dilemma by presenting well their case.

Some of the other titles used in the article include: "The charge is...Baha'i! The judgement treatment...and even no pension!" Another title states: "A senior Baha'i, Amin Batah, told Al-Ahaly...we will not seek outside influence...and we want our rights calmly."

Other titles, based on the interview with Amin Batah, which were accompanied with photographs, state: "Why does the State practices persecution and discriminates between its own citizens?"..."Our only National Centre was confiscated by the [ruling] 'National Party' that transformed it into its own base!"..."Our relationship with Baha'is abroad is spiritual, and they do not provide us with any financial subsidy."

In another section, in which the article explains the role and functions of the head of the Baha'i Faith, it states in its title: "The Universal House of Justice is the most eminent international authority that organizes their affairs." In a section regarding the Baha'i World Community, it states in the title: "Five million members in the Baha'i International Community."

On the fifth of January, another "opinion" article was published in Al-Ahram, Egypt's semi-official newspaper, addressing the issue of prejudice. This article was written by Dr. Ali Eldeen Helal. In an enlightened analysis, the author examines the question of diversity, whether it is religious, racial, cultural or linguistic. He presents a clear and logical case for the need to eliminate all forms of prejudice from the Egyptian society, particularly when based on religious differences. He concludes by indicating that, based on the world's historical experience, a society can place itself on the road to progress, prosperity and greatness when it is confident that it can eliminate prejudice and when the spirit of loving acceptance is planted in the hearts and minds of its people.

It is heartwarming indeed to observe that the flame of hope is never extinguished in Egypt. This is only because Egyptians, by nature, are known to be generally moderate in their views. It takes a tremendous degree of courage for people to speak out on behalf of the oppressed, particularly when the voice of the extremist minority tends to be much louder and threatening. As a matter of survival, though, the voice of moderation has no alternative but to counteract with promoting acceptance and righteousness.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing these newspaper articles! Indeed they are heartwarming. The first article is unquestionably fair and the reporter adheres to a high standard of objectivity. Egyptian readers will understand the plight of their brethren in their own homeland! The article does not attempt to disprove the authenticity or divinity of the Baha'i Faith as other reporters and a few judges have done. That is objective reporting that does not attempt to color the issues with theological debates but to report the plight of a minority suffering from civil death in their own country.

    The Ahram article tackles the prejudicial frenzy that has taken over the country that once was a beacon of light not only to its region but to the entire world. Egypt can restore its greatness only when it respects its own citizens and safeguards their rights. As that article indicates, Egypt must embrace and not be afraid of diversity that God has created. Egypt is so much in need of unity in diversity.


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