Egyptians Celebrate World Religion Day Early

Next Sunday, January 16th 2011, is the 3rd Sunday of January and that means that it will be celebrated worldwide as “World Religion Day” by Baha’i communities around the world.

The observance of WRD began in 1950 when a few weeks earlier in December 1949, the NSA of the Baha’is of the United States issued a simple proclamation:

The National Spritiual Assembly has instituted an annual World Religion Day to be observed publicly by the Baha’i communities whenever possible throughout the United States.

So look for events in your local community.

But the Egyptians honored the spirit of World Religion Day a bit early this year.

The Coptic Orthodox Christian church and believers in Egypt have always had a very uneasy and difficult time in Egypt. They have suffered major discrimination and even violence on a regular basis. Last week on New Year’s Eve, they suffered an especially painful attack when a suicide bomber detonated at Saints Church in Alexandria and killed 21 people.

The Muslim community of Egypt responded to a call by prominent liberal minded Egyptian muslims such as Mohamed El-Sawy to rally in support of the beleaguered minority and hold candle light vigils around Coptic churches this Friday during their mass.

In this way, the Muslims proclaimed their solidarity with their Christian brethren and faced terrorism head on, declaring that the attack was not just against the Copts but on Egypt itself. For more, see this article from ahram online.

Of course, as with all extremists, there is more than enough discrimination and violence to go around. The Baha’i community in Egypt has also been battling a very difficult problem for many years. The Baha’is are not only faced with the same discrimination but an even thornier issue.

This being that the Egyptian government would not issue proper government documents to Baha’is because it did not recognize the Baha’i Faith as a religion. This lead to a host of complications for Egyptian Baha’is. There has been some slight shifts in the policy but it is far from resolved. For more details and to keep up with back story and developments, visit the Baha’i Faith in Egypt blog.

To give you an example of the type of froward attitudes faced by Baha’is in Egypt, here is a sample of several clips from Egyptian TV with English subtitles:

The first few minutes of the video features Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sheik, the former president of Al-Azhar. Yes, that Al-Azhar…

  • Peyamb

    That video was some scary shit. But I wonder, how different are hardcore Middle Eastern Bahais (I’m Persian btw). I’ve known many that have a hard time accepting Native American religions because they weren’t the “official” ones that are mentioned in the Writings. And how welcoming and accepting are Bahais towards Covenant Breakers? or towards a group that maybe believed that Bahaullah’s admonition that the next Messenger would not appear until 1,000 is not literally 1,000 years, but rather today? Bahais would never be as violent as these violent Mullahs, but they would still shun and forget the principles of unity. So we are really back to square one…

  • Concourse on Low

    Same shit, different holy book.

  • Oscar Wilde

    There is not only physical violence, but the more intrusive, subtle and evil psychological and moral one, which uses “shunning” and indifference, provoking the indirect destruction, even death of many people – and most of today’s baha’i mentality applies. Baha’is ARE as violent as anybody else who doesn’t give the other the freedom to be different.

  • Oscar Wilde

    pps: if you create a conglomeate of people believing in unity separated from the others, you are creating a SEPARATED group with ITS identity DIFFERENT from the others – therefore you are ADDING to the disunity and going AGAINST unity. This seems to be the main fatal flaw of the baha’i system – yet I’m not sure if it’s a fault of the baha’i religion, of Baha’u’llah or of the followers. My personal idea is that God can’t really expect most people to believe the truth, therefore he throws some lies in even and especially in “His” religions. Otherwise, it would be impossible to have SOME control of the madness – that is why it is expected from believers to follow like sheeps and don’t ask questions – for that is the happiness of the low man as he doesn’t have further ambitions like the minority of intense “truth seekers”.

    According to this idea of mine, religion has been created by God uniquely for the sheeple, expecting more advanced minds to abandon them, not follow them and maybe even create their own. It’s a sort of win win, with the only problem that the more advanced seekers receive extreme opposition from the sheeps and those who took advantage of them, but that seems to be the only way a man can progress – facing obstacles.

    To me, a wholly enlightened mankind is a utopia, it wouldn’t even be a fun world to live. Which means, that humanity is a fail and the world is an unresolvable problem, aka hell – “fun”, but hell. But that’s just my ideas for today…of course, I do believe thinking and fighting for a better and more just and truthful humanity is still a duty albeit the results can never be perfect and the majority will likely remain ignorant – at least until society changes COMPLETELY from its roots and core ideals. Don’t ask me why God created this mess…again, the world seems to me to be a toyland for the fool and a torture for the alpha minds, condamned to be unsatisfied until they reach a better destination.

    One thing is for sure: a deep THINKER is a superior human being to the NON thinker, and therefore deserves recognition and respect, no matter what the dominating barbaric cultures wants to believe.

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