Saturday, September 29, 2007
On Monday, September 24, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appeared as a speaker on University of Columbia campus.
Columbia University President stated " I would also like to invoke a major theme in the development of freedom of speech as a central value in our society. .....To commit oneself to a life—and a civil society—prepared to examine critically all ideas arises from a deep faith in the myriad benefits of a long-term process of meeting bad beliefs with better beliefs and hateful words with wiser words. That faith in freedom has always been and remains today our nation’s most potent weapon against repressive regimes everywhere in the world.."
Below are some of the questions that answered by President Ahmadinejad:
We have many, many questions, starting with this, which directly relates to your speech: How important do you think that the worldwide spread of Islam is to creating the sublime and beautiful world that you envision? And is there room for other religions?
AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We think that all religions and all divine religions have the same message. They all come from the same place. They have several clear messages: to invite man to worship God, which is the root of all goodness; to invite man to justice, which guarantees love, friendship and viable security; to invite man to dignity and to respect of mankind; These messages are bedded in the religion of Christ -- of Moses and Christ, as well as the holy prophet of Islam. These prophets have all given the same messages. They never had differences in that respect. There was never a conflict there. Because their root goes back to the same reality and their message was the same as well.
MODERATOR: Does that mean that there is room for Christianity in...
AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): They all believe in beauty and goodness.
They are all brothers. They all want the same thing: justice and friendship. And this is the common ground for all religions.
MODERATOR: Yes, but do those religions have a place in the world you describe?
AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): True pious people have no difference with other -- they are all human beings and followers of different religions, and all of their views should be respected. We should all build a prosperous community together. And we must all move hand in hand. This is a responsibility for all.
MODERATOR: We have many questions regarding the Baha'i religious minority in Iran. Many of our questioners say that the Baha'i minority has been deprived of their human rights. What would your response be to that?
AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): In our constitution, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism are recognized as the official religions.
AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): When we speak of religion, we refer to divine religions. In our country, we follow that law; a law that is based on the majority vote of the people.
Our unanswered questions are:
1- Where is "Justice" in treating Iranian Baha'is and hold their Human Rights?
2- If according to Islam "Justice and Friendship are common ground for all religion", Why Baha'is having hardships in Iran and Egypt?
3- Does Justice apply only to Muslims and followers of the other three "divine religions"? Where is "to invite man to dignity and to respect of mankind" when persecuting Baha’is?
Baha'is belive that there is only one God, the Creator of the universe. Throughout history, God has revealed Himself to humanity through a series of divine Messengers, each of Whom has founded a great religion. The Messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. This succession of divine Teachers reflects a single historic "plan of God" for educating humanity about the Creator and for cultivating the spiritual, intellectual, and moral capacities of the race. The goal has been to develop the innate noble characteristics of every human being, and to prepare the way for an advancing global civilization. Knowledge of God's will for humanity in the modern age, Bahá'ís believe, was revealed just over one hundred years ago by Bahá'u'lláh, Who is the latest of these divine Messengers.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"A God that is only loving or only just is not a perfect God. The divinity has to possess both of these aspects as every father ought to express both in his attitude towards his children." Shough Effendi
"Children need to experience both these expressions of parental care, for they are both aspects of god's care for humanity. Many parents believe they are being just when they try to give each child an equal share of whatever is going. So they try to give each child the same kind of love, the same amount of money and same amount of chocolate. When one begins to understand how families work, one realizes that all parents treat each of their children differently, particularly when they are trying disparately to treat them equally with mathematical justice. In fact, what is happening is that they do not want to allow each child to be different. and they are often trying to cover up lot of feelings of guilt. True justice implies not imitating other people method (for instance in education), but trying to do the right thing to ones understanding of ones own child in a given situation and at a particular time.
Justice requires that we do not give in, while love is the only means of healing.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
We read our Egyptian Constitution and found the following paragraphs:
Peace to our world Being determined that peace can only be based on justice and that political and social progress of all peoples can only be realized through the freedom and independent will of these peoples, and that any civilization is not worthy of its name unless it is free from exploitation whatever its form.
Freedom For The Humanity Of The Egyptian Man Having realized that man’s humanity and dignity are the torches that guide and direct the course of the enormous development of mankind towards its supreme ideals. The dignity of every individual is natural reflection of the dignity of his nation, for each individual is a cornerstone in the edifice of the homeland . This homeland derives its strength and prestige from the value of each individual, his activity and dignity .
Wow, what a strong and profound language; that peace can only be based on justice, social progress of all peoples can only be realized through the freedom and independent will of these peoples, man's humanity and dignity are the torches that guide and direct the course of the enormous development of mankind towards its supreme ideals, any civilization is not worthy of its name unless it is free from exploitation whatever its form,
According to the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights; 19 September 1981
Rights of Minorities: a) The Qur'anic principle "There is no compulsion in religion" shall govern the religious rights of non-Muslim minorities.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
for harmony between sience and religion, faith and reason
for the advancemnt of women,
for freedom from prejudice of every kind,
for mutual respect between diverse peoples and nations,
indeed, for the unity of the entire human race." UHJ Sep 9, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
خَلَقْتُكَ عَالِياً، جَعَلْتَ نَفْسَكَ دانِيَةً؛ فَاصْعَدْ إِلى ما خُلِقْتَ لَهُ.
الكلمات المكنونة العربي
O SON OF SPIRIT!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Shiekh Al-Azhar, Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, agrees that there is separation between citizenship and belief. Religion should be recorded on the ID card, even for Egyptian Baha'is... Freedom of believes is garanteed for everyone but the judgment is up to God.
شيخ الأزهر فى تصريحات خاصة وحوار لـ«الوطنى اليوم
هناك اقتراح من منظمات حقوق الإنسان بإلغاء خانة الديانة من الأوراق الرسمية لأنها تميز بين المواطنين، فما رأيكم؟ ماذا يعنى هؤلاء بإلغاء خانة الديانة ولماذا يطالبون بذلك وبأى حق يقترحون إلغاء ؟
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The status of respect for religious freedom by the Government declined during the period covered by this report. The Constitution provides for freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites, although the Government places restrictions on these rights in practice. Religious practices that conflict with the Government's interpretation of Islamic law are prohibited. Members of the non-Muslim religious minorities officially recognized by the Government generally worship without harassment; however, tradition and some aspects of the law discriminate against religious minorities, including Christians and particularly Baha'is. The Constitution provides for equal public rights and duties without discrimination based on religion or creed, and in general the Government upholds these constitutional protections. On April 24, 2007, the Court of Administrative Justice ruled that the Interior Ministry was not obligated to recognize reconversion by Christian-born converts to Islam. While this ruling was inconsistent with verdicts issued over the previous three years by another judge in the same court on behalf of 32 such converts, it reinstated a long-standing government policy not to provide a legal means for converts from Islam to Christianity to amend their civil records to reflect their new religious status. Despite presidential decrees in 1999 and 2005 to facilitate approvals for church repair and rebuilding, many churches continued to encounter the same difficulties as in previous years in obtaining permits. .......Sources close to Bahaa al-Accad, a convert from Islam to Christianity who was detained for 25 months without charge, reported that his personal security was threatened by officials of the SSIS following his April 28, 2007 release. On February 22, 2007, Abdel Karim Nabil Suleiman, whose blog entries had contained strongly-worded critiques of the practice of Islam and Al-Azhar's Sunni Muslim orthodoxy, was sentenced to three years in prison for "denigrating Islam." Agents of the SSIS reportedly detained a Jehovah's Witness and, while making demeaning comments about the Jehovah's Witnesses, struck the detainee repeatedly and threatened him and his family with ongoing harassment unless he agreed to become an informant on the Jehovah's Witness community. The Government again opposed advances in the respect for religious freedom affecting Baha'is. The Government’s appeal of an April 2006 decision by the Administrative Court supporting the right of Baha'i citizens to receive ID cards and birth certificates with religion noted on the documents, resulted in a December 16, 2006, decision to overturn this ruling and maintained the government prohibition on Baha'i citizens obtaining identity cards. The Government also continued to deny birth certificates and marriage licenses to members of the Baha'i community.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity)
How should we prepare ourselve for the life beyond?
"Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, and the most distinguished of God's chosen Ones, hath likened the Dispensation of the Qur'án unto heaven, by reason of its loftiness, its paramount influence, its majesty, and the fact that it comprehendeth all religions. And as the sun and moon constitute the brightest and most prominent luminaries in the heavens, similarly in the heaven of the religion of God two shining orbs have been ordained -- fasting and prayer. 'Islam is heaven; fasting is its sun, prayer, its moon." (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 39)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
وقال المجلس في بيان أصدره أمس، عقب ورشة عمل «قضية الأحكام الإدارية والأوراق الثبوتية»، التي نظمها أمس الأول، إن كثيرا من المشاركين أكدوا أن أفضل الحلول لهذه المشكلة هو إلغاء خانة الديانة من الجزء الظاهر في البطاقة، وإبقاؤها في
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Gamal Elbana explains below what is the real problem... it is mainly prejudice, ignorance and not accepting other beliefs. He blame it on ordinary Muslims and Christian.......
ليست المشكلة هي خانة الديانة.. المشكلة هي الجهالة والتعصب بقلم جمال البنا ٥/٩/٢٠٠٧
يعتزم المجلس القومي لحقوق الإنسان عقد ورشة عمل عن «خانة الديانة ببطاقة الرقم القومي» تقام ١٠ سبتمبر سنة ٢٠٠٧، وكان المجلس قد عقد جلسات سابقة لهذه القضية تفاوتت فيها الآراء.
ونحن نقول إن المشكلة ليست في خانة الديانة، لأنه إذا كان الاطلاع عليها ومعرفة أن حاملها قبطي وليس مسلماً فإنه يؤدي لتحامل أو تحيز،فمن الواضح لذوي الألباب أن المشكلة الحقيقية هي في وجود تحامل يقوم علي الدين، وهي صفة إذا دلت علي شيء فهو التعصب والجهالة. عدونا هو التعصب والجهالة ولا يجوز أن نتجاهله أو نتجاوزه، لأن المناسبات التي ستؤدي لمعرفة أن فرداً ما مسلم أو مسيحي عديدة جداً في مجتمعنا، ولأننا لا نريد حماية بالتجاهل أو فراراً من المشكلة، ولكن مجابهتها.
المشكلة هي أنه إذا تنصر شاب مسلم، لأنه يريد الذهاب لكندا أو لضمان عمل، وإذا أسلمت فتاة مسيحية لأنها تحب شاباً مسلماً، عندئذ تقوم القيامة كأن الإسلام قد اعتدي عليه أو أن المسيحية انتهكت، ويعتصم أهله بالكنيسة إذا كان مسيحياً، ويستنجدون بالأزهر إذا كان مسلماً.
هل هناك جهالة وتخلف أكثر من هذا؟ماذا يفعل لهم الأزهر؟ماذا تفعل لهم الكنيسة؟ماذا تفعل أي قوة خارجية لهذا؟المثل يقول «إنك تستطيع أن تجر الحصان إلي النهر، ولكنك لا تستطيع أن تجعل الحصان يشرب من النهر».
الشاب المسلم الذي أراد باختياره، ولمأرب دنيوي، أن يتنصر، والفتاة المسيحية التي أرادت باختيارها أن تسلم لسبب عاطفي، لم يمسا المسيحية أو الإسلام وإنما تصرفا تصرفاً لا يمس إلا نفسيهما، وهما أدري به، وأدري بمصلحتهما.المسيحية لن تخسر بنقص واحدة، والإسلام لن يزيد بذلك، والعكس صحيح لأن المسلمين والمسيحيين بالمليارات. والأديان في حقيقتها قيم، والقيم لا تتأثر بتغيير بعض الناس أديانهم، فتظل مبادئ الحب والخير والمساواة والعدل والحرية علي ما هي عليه، مهما يفعل المسلمون والمسيحيون.
وسواء كان تغيير الدين من مسيحية إلي إسلام أو من إسلام إلي مسيحية، فإنه لا يغير من حقيقة أن هذين التغييرين كانا من الله إلي الله نفسه، لأن من الطبيعي أن الله تعالي لا يخص المسلمين وحدهم ولا المسيحيين وحدهم، ولا مصر أو أوروبا، ولكن الله هو إله الناس جميعاً، والكون بأسره، فلا مفر من الله، إلا إليه.
لو كان لدينا ذرة من الإيمان بالحرية، لآمنا بأن تصرف الإنسان البالغ في هذا الأمر إنما هو ممارسة لحقه في حرية الاعتقاد، وهو من أول حقوق الإنسان، وقد كفله القرآن والرسول قبل إعلان حقوق الإنسان بأكثر من ألف عام، حتي إن ذهب فقهاء السلطان إلي غير ذلك.. ونحن بعد هذا سبعون مليوناً، ولا تؤثر علينا حالات فردية حتي لو كانت حمقاء، أو طائشة، ففي هذا العدد الكبير لابد أن يوجد مثل هذه الآحاد، ولا يؤثر هذا علي السلام الاجتماعي في شيء. ***
الحقيقة التي لابد أن نعترف بها أن لدي عامة المسيحيين والمسلمين في مصر قدراً كبيراً من الجهالة والتعصب، وأنهم جميعاً لا يؤمنون بحرية الفكر ولا بحرية الاعتقاد، وعلينا أن نفهمهم أن هذا عار وتعصب وتخلف عما يؤمن به العالم كله.......
Baha'u'llah explains the purpose of God sending prophets to the people of the earth: "Every Prophet Whom the Almighty and Peerless Creator hath purposed to send to the peoples of the earth hath been entrusted with a Message, and charged to act in a manner that would best meet the requirements of the age in which He appeared. God's purpose in sending His Prophets unto men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and tranquillity of mankind, and provide all the means by which they can be established. ( Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah)
Sunday, September 9, 2007
"The Prophets of God should be regarded as physicians whose task is to foster the well-being of the world and its peoples, that, through the spirit of oneness, they may heal the sickness of a divided humanity...No man, however acute his perception, can ever hope to reach the heights which the wisdom and understanding of the Divine Physician have attained." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah)
BAHA'U'LLAH is the divine physician who diagnoses the world's malady; for the whole planet is ill and needs the power of a great specialist. (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy)
Saturday, September 8, 2007
If each child is "a mine rich in gems of inestimable value" then parents and school teachers should be able to discover those gems in their students and actively help polish them. Ruhi3
Is this a new concept to you? comments?
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.
(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
"In 1960 when President Gamal Abdul Nasser signed a short, six paragraph Decree stating that “all Bahá’í Assemblies and Centres” are “hereby dissolved, and their activities suspended. Individuals, bodies and institutions are warned to refrain from any activity.” All Bahá’í properties — including the national headquarters building, the libraries and cemeteries — as well as all Bahá’í funds and assets were confiscated. The assets have not been returned to this day. In keeping with the Bahá’í principle of obedience to government, the Bahá’ís of Egypt duly disbanded their institutions immediately. The Faith’s members shifted to a footing that emphasized quiet worship by individuals and families, with limited social and educational activities focused on internal development. Unfortunately, they have nevertheless faced episodes of harsh persecution, along with continuous restrictions on their personal, religious and social activities.
• In May 1965, 39 Bahá'ís were arrested and accused of having re-established the Bahá'í administration, and of having held meetings in their homes to which Muslims were invited for the purpose of teaching them the Faith. The court trial continued until 10 November 1977, when the case was thrown out of court.
• In June 1967, immediately after the armed conflict between Egypt and Israel, a number of Bahá'ís were held in detention camps for about six months. They were detained without charges or explanation. During their incarceration, they were physically abused, inadequately fed, and prevented from sleeping. My dad was among the 27 Bahá'ís
. In April 1972, 92 Baha'is from all over Egypt were arrested and imprisoned for one and half month in Tanta prison under very harsh conditions and outrageous threats. Both parents were there while we were taken care of by our aunts. There pictures were published in local news paper under title "The Infidels".
• In February 1985, 41 Bahá'ís were arrested on the charge of running a group aimed at resisting the basic principles of the State. A subsequent trial generated an intense and widespread campaign in the Egyptian press, featuring more than 200 newspaper articles, that denounced the Bahá'í Faith as an apostasy whose members deserved the death penalty.
• In May 1987, the courts sentenced the Bahá'ís to three years imprisonment with labor. The verdict aroused protest in Western circles, and the decision was overturned on appeal, with all 41 Bahá'ís being ultimately acquitted.
• In January 2001, 16 Bahá'ís in Shawraniya near Sohag were arrested in January 2001, on the accusation of "immorality," according to the semi-official newspaper Al-Ahram. The 16 were held for nearly nine months at a Cairo prison but all were ultimately released without charge or explanation.
Both the arbitrary restrictions and the incidents of arbitrary arrest and imprisonment have created a climate of fear that effectively suppresses the Bahá'í community. Moreover, Egyptian legal decisions upheld against the Bahá'ís over the years have reduced them to second-class citizens in matters of family, education, and employment.
Bahá'í marriages are not legally recognized in Egypt, a fact that affects a whole range of family issues. Individuals have no recourse on inheritance, pension, alimony, child maintenance, and divorce. Unrecognized marriage is regarded as cohabitation, equivalent with adultery in Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, and children are stigmatized as illegitimate.
Bahá'ís have also faced discrimination in education and employment. In 1983, for example, a young Bahá'í was expelled from the University of Alexandria because he insisted on listing his religious affiliation as Bahá'í.
"Reference site: http://www.bahai.org/persecution/egypt"
Monday, September 3, 2007
It was till 1925 when an Islamic court stated the following:
"…God sent His Messenger and Prophet, Muhammad, as a blessing to the world. This blessing He put in the form of the religion of Islam, the last of the heavenly religions........At the same time, however, the Court also undertook a careful study of the Bahá’í Faith and concluded that: The Bahá’í Faith is a new religion, entirely independent, with beliefs, principles and laws of its own, which differ from, and are utterly in conflict with, the beliefs, principles and laws of Islam. No Bahá’í, therefore, can be regarded a Muslim or vice-verse, even as no Buddhist, Brahmin, or Christian can be regarded a Muslim or vice-versa."
"This opinion, that the Bahá’í Faith is indeed independent from Islam, ultimately contributed to the wider recognition of the Faith by government authorities. At one point in the 1930s, a member of the Egyptian Parliament made a public tribute to the Faith. And in 1934, the National Spiritual Assembly achieved legal incorporation. As well, authorities allocated four plots to serve as Bahá’í cemeteries in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, and Isma’iliyyih, having decided it would not be lawful for Bahá’ís to be buried in Muslim cemeteries.In May 1944, the community celebrated the Centenary of the Faith’s founding in an impressive and newly completed national headquarters building in Cairo. More than 500 Bahá’ís from around the country attended, along with some 50 guests who were Christians, Muslims, and Jews."
For more info go to http://www.bahai.org/persecution/egypt/
Sunday, September 2, 2007
By 1900, a number of Arabic language Bahá’í books were being published in Cairo, and Egypt had become a transit point for Western Bahá’ís coming to and from Acre (Akka) in what was then Palestine, where the son of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, was imprisoned.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, himself, visited Egypt in September 1910, shortly after his release from prison, and there made the acquaintance of a number of intellectuals and other influential figures. He had already won the sympathy and interest of the most prominent of these liberal Islamic thinkers, Muhammad Abduh, who had spent time with him in Beirut during the 1880s. The two had subsequently maintained a correspondence on the subject of Islamic reform. On his return to Egypt, Abduh was appointed Grand Mufti and became a leading teacher at Al-Azhar University.He extended a particularly warm welcome to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, despite the opposition of some of the more insular elements in his own intellectual circle.
Significantly, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent a total of almost two years in Egypt, visiting on two other occasions. He became quite well known and influential — as evidenced by extensive press coverage in Egypt of his funeral in 1921. For Bahá’ís around the world, the extended visits of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá give Egypt a special significance.
The Bahá’í community of Egypt grew steadily among the general population during the period from the turn of the century to the mid-1920s, and included individuals from minority groups such as those of Kurdish, Coptic, and Armenian origin. A photograph from the early 1920s, for example, shows some 47 Bahá’ís in Port Said. And Bahá’í communities in Cairo, Port Said, and Alexandria were sufficiently prosperous to be able to send to the United States of America a donation to help fund the construction of a Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, the first Bahá’í House of Worship in the West.
In 1924, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Egypt was formed. This represents the highest administrative body on a national level in the Bahá’í Faith, a sign of a community’s maturity.
this article is Taken from Bahai.org http://www.bahai.org/persecution/egypt/2005bicreport/historyofcomm#2
Saturday, September 1, 2007
The Muslim network for Baha'i Rights