Monday, May 15, 2006

The Bahaai circus

So former goal-keeper Ahmed Shobeir is a religions expert now?

MP Ahmed Shobeir used more or less the same argument to push for immediate action to overturn the administrative court ruling which he said made him feel that "danger is waiting round the corner".

"I was personally shocked to find satellite channels having a field day covering the rise of a new religion in Egypt and interviewing its followers without anyone intervening," the despondent MP told parliament. Shobeir called upon parliamentary members to stand up to the spread of "superstitious dogmas".

I'm honestly ignorant of Bahaaism and this is the first article I read about the faith. But from the sound bites I heard here and there the issue seemed to be greatly exaggerated. According to this article there is only an estimated number of 2,000 followers of Bahaaism in Egypt...what kind of threat to national security is this? Just the mere fact that they were outlawed as a faith only by the demagoguegic Nasser in 1960, and not in an era prior to that makes me suspicious of these accusatory claims. I wouldn't be surprised if he blamed his wars on them as well.

And according to this article the alleged ring-leader of the gang of spies was the late beloved artist Hussein Bikar, lol:

In 1975, the Supreme Constitutional court banned Bahai activities on the grounds that the constitution defines Egypt as a Muslim country and that Islam recognises only Christianity and Judaism as divine religions. In 1985, the state clamped down on a 48-member Bahai group led by artist Hussein Bikar who admitted that he was tasked by the Israeli House of Justice to take charge of all Bahai places of worship.

I believe that if Bikar was a spy then he would have been categorized by the Egyptian government as such. He wasn't; he was a popular and state-celebrated artist. And if the Egyptian intelligence thought there was any truth to these espionage charges, then this court would have never ruled in favour of this couple being officially recognized as Bahaais.

Then of course there is the claim of lack of religious faith:

Sheikh Abdel-Moeti Bayoumi, a prominent IRA member, explained how Bahaism contradicts the basic tenets of Islam. Bahaism reduces the five daily prayers to three, does not agree with such basic principles in Islam like hajj and jihad, changes basic personal status laws, claims that Prophet Mohamed was not the last of the messengers and that Hussein Ali, named Bahaaullah, received divine revelation to ease Islamic jurisdiction. Bahais have their own holy book called Al-Aqdas. They consider Bahaaullah a holy figure and carry out their pilgrimage to Akka where Bahaaullah lies buried.

"This is all superstitious political dogma that attempts to shake social stability," Bayoumi said. "It is all the philosophical brainchild of an ordinary person, and his followers have been notoriously used by occupation powers."

What?! They pray only 3 times a day??! Burn the infidel bastards!!!

Arrrrrrrgh!!:-D

At least there are those who are defending their rights to religious freedom:

A Bahai couple, however, insisted in an interview with the independent weekly Sawt Al-Umma that Bahais are not Israeli spies and that the state security would not have left them in peace had they been involved in such activity. The couple shrugged Al-Azhar's ruling as irrelevant and insisted they are not atheists but rather the believers of nine religions which aim at uniting the entire world.

"Whether we agree with their beliefs or not, Bahais have the right to official recognition as enshrined in global human rights laws," contended Hafez Abu Seada, secretary-general of the Egyptian Organisation of Human Rights (EOHR). The EOHR has long called for legislation allowing Bahais formal recognition. Abu Seada argues that Islam is tolerant of all creeds and that Bahais should not be denied their right to be officially recognised just because they are a minority or because Islam does not recognise except divine dogmas. "Everyone is free to believe in whatever he or she wants," Abu Seada said.

And I second Abu Saeda's argument...

Abu Seada says the best way to fight Islamophobia and win the rights of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries is to "reveal the true face of Islam, that it is tolerant to all creeds and respects the freedom of thinking." Otherwise, Abu Seada said, Muslims would face similar discrimination in Buddhist countries where they would be considered a mere minority.

Read the whole article for yourself.

Again I am ignorant of the Bahaai faith, but in this controversy it appears to be only our ignorance and prejudice talking so far.

11 comments:

Marco said...

Seneferu,
I a Portuguese Baha'i and the first thing I must say is that I appreciate your sense of humour!
:-)
If you want to investigate the Baha'i Faith you can always check the Offcial Baha'i Website here. This is not an invitation to conversion, but to an independet investigation of truth.
:-)
Recently I answer an Egyptian blogger about this issue. You may see my post here.

BTW: Is Egypt going to Germany 2006?

george wesley said...

The tolerance of your comment is refreshing, as is -- Marco is right -- your sense of humor.

Phillipe Copeland said...

I agree with the previous comments. Thank God there are free thinking people in Egypt with good humor and common sense. Investigate for yourselves and see what the Baha'i Faith really teaches.

Seneferu said...

Thank you all, I am honoured:)

Marco, thanks for the links. No I wish we here playing in the world cup, but our good coach took charge only after we were already disqualified.

George and Phillipe, perhaps another sign of a tolerant society that was, is that I didn't even know the artist Bikar was a Baha'i except very recently. Apparently others than myself knew and highly respected his person all the same.

Marco and Phillipe, are you converts to the Bahaai faith?

Marco said...

Seneferu,
Isn't there a Portuguese Coach (named Manuel Jose) working with an Egyptian team (Al-Ahly, I believe)?

I became baha'i in 1984. My family is Christian (Roman Catholics). I wrote about my conversion and my family reaction in this post (it's in english).

Seneferu said...

Yes Marco, you're right about Jose. Is he big in Portugal?

Thanks for the interesting link.

Marco said...

Seneferu,
Somehow Manuel Jose is not a dear coach to our main national teams.
He once coached my favorite team (Sporting Lisbon) and was fired. Since then, whatever team he coaches, he allways defeats Sporting Lisbon.
It's a sort of a revenge... :-O

Seneferu said...

Marco, but according to this you must admire his dedication:-)

About Ahmed Shobeir, he really is no religious hot-head of the sort as far as I know. I actually defended him earlier as a seemingly smart person in an earlier post.

People really are still tolerant in heart over here, the problem is that systemic ignorance has taken its toll on society over the past fifty years. Hence Shobeir's confused referrel to Bahaa'ism as "a new religion". It was probably the first time he heard of it...what would you expect him to think?

Anonymous said...

You guys can find an article that completley addressed every point in the Al-Ahram Weekly. It is great. I really enjoyed reading it. You can find it at:

http://truthexaminer.blogspot.com

I think we should elevate our discussion to this kind of logical and meaningful level.

Mido

Anonymous said...

To whome it may concern:
I am a student of tenth grade pakistan.
it was a very impressive answer Mr richard.

I being a Muslim respect your feelings and understand your love for Bahai faith.But it is duty to convey the truth and lighten your heart with the nur of Islam.
You consider Bahaullah to be a Muslim and Qur'an to be your old testament then it is compulsory for every bahai to follow the teachings of glorious Qur'an just as the christian believe in their old testament.

on the basis of above talk I can give you an evidence for the truth of Islam.

1:why was Qur'an sent:
Allah says in Qur'an that:
All the previous scriptures have been corrupted and the teachings of the previous scriptures have been completed in the Holy Qur'an.

2:the duty of protecting Qur'an have been taken by Allah.So it cant be corrupted.

3:Prophet Muhammed has been called the"Khatim.un.NAbiyyin" the last prophet in Surah al Ahzab.So that means no more Prophets after prophet Muhammed P.B.U.H.

4:Allah says in Qur'an that Allah has completed Islam and His teachings.

So how come Allah Almighty did not keep His promise and sent a new Prophet "baha.ullah".For Allah almighty is the greatest and keeps his promise.

regards,
Ahmed Waqas

Anonymous said...

To whome it may concern:
I am a student of tenth grade pakistan.
it was a very impressive answer Mr richard.

I being a Muslim respect your feelings and understand your love for Bahai faith.But it is duty to convey the truth and lighten your heart with the nur of Islam.
You consider Bahaullah to be a Muslim and Qur'an to be your old testament then it is compulsory for every bahai to follow the teachings of glorious Qur'an just as the christian believe in their old testament.

on the basis of above talk I can give you an evidence for the truth of Islam.

1:why was Qur'an sent:
Allah says in Qur'an that:
All the previous scriptures have been corrupted and the teachings of the previous scriptures have been completed in the Holy Qur'an.

2:the duty of protecting Qur'an have been taken by Allah.So it cant be corrupted.

3:Prophet Muhammed has been called the"Khatim.un.NAbiyyin" the last prophet in Surah al Ahzab.So that means no more Prophets after prophet Muhammed P.B.U.H.

4:Allah says in Qur'an that Allah has completed Islam and His teachings.

So how come Allah Almighty did not keep His promise and sent a new Prophet "baha.ullah".For Allah almighty is the greatest and keeps his promise.

regards,
Ahmed Waqas