segunda-feira, 8 de maio de 2006

To Zeinobia, in Egypt

As we cannot watch Egyptian TV Channels here in Portugal, I haven’t had a chance to watch that show of Wael El-Abrashi on Dream 2 "The truth". But your comments and opinions on the Baha’i Faith prompt me to write some comments to your post.

Bahais don't claim that they are Muslims” -- Right. The Baha’i Faith is an independent religion. That means it has its own sacred books, laws, teachings and administration. It also means it not a sect or a schism in Islam. The relation between Baha’i Faith and Islam is the same that exists between Judaism and Christianity.

Baha Allah the founder of the Religion and their claimed messenger was an Ex-Muslim , also saying that Believing in Allah and all his messengers from Mohamed,Jesus and Moses is confusing people” -- Baha'u'llah thaught that all great world religions came from God. God sends His Messengers with teachings that are according to the needs and maturity of people. God allways sends these Messengers from time to time. His hands are not chained up.

also you can feel that their book "The holiest" and their religious scripts are so influenced from the Quran” -- This is a surprise to me. I thought Muslims believe the Quran to be matchless! Unless, of course, one believes the Quran and the Baha’i Holy Writings have the same source.

in Egypt in the 20 th century they had temples or what it is called in Arabic "Lodge"” -- Baha’is only have seven temples. In most countries they meet in private homes or a local seat. And Baha’is never behave like a “secret society”; when there are fears of persecution, the believers are very careful when (and to whom) mention their religion. That also happened here in Portugal before the 1974 revolution.

in their Holy Book El-Aqads "The Holiest" it is obligatory for the Bahai to send the annual Zaqat to the "Home of Justice"in Aka, Haifa, this Home is the highest authority for the Bahais” – Only Baha’is make contributions to Baha’i Funds; such contributions are secret and voluntary. We can contribute to National funds or International fund. The money to National funds goes to national activities; the money to International fund goes to several activities, such as social-economical development projects, special projects (as building temples) and maintenance of the Baha’i Gardens and buildings in the Holy Land. Do you smell danger here because the money is being sent to a Baha’i Institution located in Israel? The fact that Baha’is send money to Baha’is institution located in Israel is used by anti-baha’i propaganda to call us “Israeli agents” and “Zionist” and other things like that. That reminds me that Baha’is are building a new temple in Chile. Therefore, Baha’is have to send money to Chile. Would that make us “Chilean agents” to?

I never read a statement from the Bahais or their higher authority attacks or condemns the Hebrew state acts against the Palestinians” – Of course you haven’t! Just like you will never read a statement from a baha’i institution condemning the acts of the Sudanese government against the people in Darfur, the invasion of Kuwait, the lack of freedom in North Korea, Cuba and several central Asia countries. Why? Because baha’is don’t get involved in politics! Some Baha’i individual may express personal opinions, but not Baha’i institutions. And there is more: Baha’i teachings foster obedience to national governments and forbid involvement in subversive acts.

Look to their holy places and Look to the Muslim and Christian holy Places , there is a discrimination in treatment !!” – Who do you think paid the construction and pays the maintenance of Baha’i holy sites in the Holy Land? Only Baha’is! The Israeli Government never gave us a cent! All the land there was brought with Baha'i contributions. I take your expression as recognition of the beauty and magnificence of the Baha'i holy places. Did you ever see the Baha’i Temple in India? It was also built only with Baha'i contributions.

If you get your passports and Ids and in it you are mentioned as Bahai , would you visit the Mount Carmel and holy Lands in Haifa!?” – Of course any Baha’i would! What is more important: some act of “political correctness” or a visit to what one considers to be the holiest place on earth? Can you imagine a Muslim never having the Hajj because of some political correctness stuff? Would some one change a unique opportunity of a life time because of ephemeral considerations?

About Baha’is in Egypt

There are things I don’t understand about Egypt. I don’t understand why official ID documents on any country need to have religious identification of a citizen. Religion is a very personal phenomenon. In most European countries that would be unacceptable. this is a typical behaviour of former totalitarian European regimes. I wonder why they don’t also ask citizens to declare their political affiliation, sports affiliations, and others. It would also be unacceptable to have a member of a European parliament saying that members of any religious minority to be killed. That would be a “political suicide”.

Baha’is have always been persecuted under totalitarian governments; such governments fear religious diversity (or religion!). It happened here in Portugal, before the 1974 revolution, it happened in the former Soviet Union, in Nazi Germany and elsewhere.

Pakistan and Bangla Desh may be the few Muslim countries where Baha’is enjoy more freedom of belief. In all other Muslim countries Baha’is face harassment and persecutions, based on religious prejudice and anti-israeli propaganda. Unfortunately, few Muslims have ever investigated what is the Baha’i Faith.

UPDATE:

"Bill to incriminate the embrace of the Bahai faith in Egypt" (Mideastwire.com) (reprinted here)
EGYPT: Interior ministry resists recognition of Bahai faith (Reuters)

12 comentários:

João Moutinho disse...

I became surprised when I saw that in Pakistan Bahá'ís enjoy more freedom of belief.
I thought the tension between Muslims and Hindus could have a nefast atittude of Muslims through the Bahá'is.

As a matter of fact we can see how the presecutions in East cause de emancipation of the communities in the West.

george wesley disse...

Thank you, Marco, for bringing Zeinobia's post to our attention. You continue to provide wonderful inspiration to Baha'i bloggers the world over with posts such as this one.

Itai Nir disse...

Hello Marco and Shalom from Israel,

I lived in a kibbutz near the Bahai Center just north of Acre/Acco for a few years and have been to the Center in Haifa many times. I've also spent a couple of months in Egypt, so I was very interested in this story. The Egyptians have a dismal record with their largest minority, the Coptic Christians. My surprise isn't that the Bahai community there is facing persecution - but rather, that there is a Bahai community in Egypt at all! But then, I seem to meet Bahais wherever I go!

All the best,
Itai Nir
Tel Aviv

Phillipe Copeland disse...
Este comentário foi removido por um administrador do blogue.
Phillipe Copeland disse...

'Allah'u'Abha Marco
I believe that your responses to Zeinobia were very fair and not harsh at all. As always, criticisms like these only serve as a proclamation of the Faith and a chance to distinguish its unifying, life-giving teachings from the narrow-mindedness and worldly agendas of it's critics. As if a person's political position on the Arab/Israeli was more important than commitment to unity, peace, and justice for all humanity, which is the real mission of the Baha'i Faith. Looking forward to weighing in on this issue on my own blog. To the critics, I say, keep it up. Keep it up!

ruha disse...

thanks for sharing that post from egypt ... just shows how misinformed people are. Thank you for taking the time to clarify the Baha'i perspectives!

Zeinobia disse...

Dear Marco,
you are replying on my post , it is always good to hear from the other side
First concerning the Quran, there is big difference between the influence and Match , already there is style in Arabic language in writing that influenced by the Quran and this is famous , and that's what I meant , already in the "truth" program your follow Bahais were saying prayers in Arabic where you can feel the influence
concerning the match and the source well i respect your belief but mine is quite different than yours

Number two about the politics and your involvement in it , now from what you say and correct me if i am not wrong, your religion is ordering you to be obediant even for dictators ,even if you have different opinion !!
strange rule ,yet you are not alone as I know some sofism sects that believe act according to the same rule and strange thing that some of them got persian roots !!
About us,you and Israel ,well I may not explained myself clearly , you are already a western , away from the conflict of the 20th century and its implications , you see the issue from a different angle than we do
you are asking me if there was some political problems, won't I visit Macca , surely I would want and I will try to , but already you forgot that the third holiest place for Muslims is under the Israeli rule and despite I should go and pilgrimage to it as I must go to Macca and already Egypt and Israel got a peace agreement I can't go as long as it is under Israeli flag , as I said you are a western ,it is very hard to understand
this is my point Marco , I don't care about the fancy talk of unity and justice to all humanity as I care about my own country and my own people in the first place just like any country in the world , call me retarded , call me closed mind yet I am Egyptian at the End
Muslim Egyptian and both of these two character don't opposite each other
It is the first time I see a religion that favors loyalty to broad yet beautiful meanings over the loyalty of the country and that's why I can consider you as danger on National security , you don't participate in political life except may be your struggle to be accepted and also to use outside help from the U.S and other international forces to threat us by cutting off aid imposing economic sieges
don't you feel that this doesn't help Peace !? how can humanity be peaceful if people don't fight to get their rights !?
by the way I completed my second half of my post, also tomorrow insh Allah I will start something may be interesting concerning Bahais ' history in Egypt

Marco disse...

Zeinobia,

About the Holy Writings -- they reflect the culture of the Manifestation of God. That is why you find similarities between the Quran and Baha'i Writings, whose Founder was born in a Islamic society.

Obedience to Governments -- To obey, doesn't mean to agree. And it also doesn't mean we should not express disagreement. Let me give you an example. Portugal lived under a totalitarian regime for almost 50 years. Of course no one likes dictatorships (except dictators!). Baha'is were persecuted by the police (they use to say we were a communist religion) but never get involved on subversive acts. Some Baha’is we even sent to fight in former African colonies; can you imagine a Baha'i having to fight a unjust war against an African people who only want their independence? Those believers asked not to be involved in combats and manage to serve only on administrative positions. Freedom came after the revolution, in 1974. The new democratic regime gave independence to African colonies and (amongst other things) recognized the Baha’i Faith in 1975.
I am sure that if Baha'is had been involved in political or subversive acts against the former regime that would have destroy our image and reputation as a religious community.

World Citizenship -- I think of my self as a World Citizen more than a Portuguese. That doesn't mean I don't like or care for my country. I do. But I do not think about the benefits or the well being of the Portuguese above all other people of the world. This planet is our common house. What is the difference between a children starving to death in Darfur or in Brazil? What is the difference between Portuguese unemployed or a Egyptian unemployed? Aren't we all human beings? Suffering has no nationality.

Nations at War -- Of course many peoples and countries had wars and conflicts that lasted for centuries. Look at France and German; they fought each other for centuries. Some fifty years ago they tried to live in peace. And today the cooperation is so great amongst these two nations that they are called "the engine of the European Union". A similar thing happened between Portugal and Spain. For many centuries we had wars and attritions. Even today many Portuguese are always suspicious about Spanish. That is the kind of future anyone with a bit of common sense desires for the countries of Middle East.

Politics -- I don't participate in political partisanship. As a Portuguese Citizen I have some political rights that I make use of. For example, I always vote on elections (although I never attend political rallies). I never get very excited about political actions.

To fight for their rights, Baha'is use courts and legal actions. And if that doesn't work there are international courts and international organizations where we can fight and claim for our rights. That is within the law! It is not a political or subversive fight! It is a peaceful way to do it.

Insh Allah -- I live this expression. Do you know we have this same expression in Portuguese? We say "oxalá" (meaning the samething as Insh Allah). A wonderfull Arabic influence in Portuguese language.

ahmad disse...

Dear Ms Zeinobia

Greetins and respect

I have seen your articles regarding bahaism , I am a muslem and I believe Bahai is not religion.

As you have mentioned the Quran says Ahmad is the last prophet and Islam is complete religion.

They propound some doubts about finality of prophethood or (Khatamiat) of prophet Mohammad (PBH) and

finality of Imamat of Imam Mahdi ( PBH) or Mahdaviat.

We have many convicible reasons in Quran and shariat to contradict Bahaism.

I recommend you to ask bahaism how can they prove ,bahai is religion?bahai is not religion

ahmad disse...

Dear Ms Zeinobia

Greetins and respect

I have seen your articles regarding bahaism , I am a muslem and I believe Bahai is not religion.

As you have mentioned the Quran says Ahmad is the last prophet and Islam is complete religion.

They propound some doubts about finality of prophethood or (Khatamiat) of prophet Mohammad (PBH) and

finality of Imamat of Imam Mahdi ( PBH) or Mahdaviat.

We have many convicible reasons in Quran and shariat to contradict Bahaism.

I recommend you to ask bahaism how can they prove ,bahai is religion?bahai is not religion

For more information to contradict bahai please contact to see www.thebahaitruth.com

Also I am ready to answer any questions which bahaism ask from muslems.

Best regards
A.mobarak

Marco disse...

Ahmad Mobarak,
No one is asking you or the Egyptian Government to recognize the Baha'i Faith as a religions.
The only thing baha'is in Egypt want is to have the same rights as any other citizen.
What would you say if mosleems had no civil rights in non-muslim countries, just because of their religion? It would be against human rights, correct?
That is exactly what is going on with Egyptian baha'is.

M. Miller disse...

Is this thread still active? Its been more than a year, but if so, please e-mail me at Compassrose19@aol.com. I'd like to have further discussion.

With respect to all involved,
M. Miller
San Diego, CA