We were rather disappointed by the unexpected reactions from both Muslims and Baha’is to the Egyptian tourism ad video which simply aimed to spread awareness. By no means was this video intentionally insulting or offensive. Even if some people may disagree with its strong approach, the cases and the way in which it was presented was completely realistic and valid. Nowhere was it implied that Egypt was unworthy of touring; the ad was simply a creative way of reaching a wider audience to make the public aware of a continuing struggle of the Egyptian Baha’is.

We are glad that this video actually reached its aim in raising discussion concerning the struggles of the Baha’i minority in Egypt. Not many people are actively condemning these human rights abuses and this is exactly what we aim to achieve via this website: we put the issues on the table for them to be discussed and for people, especially non-Baha’is, to be aware of what Baha’is are going through and we cannot see this happening without the use of multiple media platforms: videos, podcasts, blogging which eventually do reach traditional media formats (newspapers, TV, radio, etc.) In other words, it reaches many different people regardless of whether or not they even read this website.

We cannot see this website leading to negative results as some people claim. The approach taken here is by Muslims and not Baha’is; if anyone is risking anything it is ourselves. There are no Baha’is working or writing in this website despite some outrageous conspiracies by Mr. Imran Shaykh. We very happily accept these risks as we are strong believers in the rights of religious minorities. There are many Muslim extremists who continue to threaten us; and that only makes our fight for Baha’is and other minorities stronger. For us to remain strong we need the support and unity from many other Muslims which we are trying to recruit, as well as general acceptance from Baha’i friends.

Concerning the video, Marco, a Portuguese Baha’i, has written a great response to the Baha’is who consider this video to be offensive:

I love the video. I found it has a very powerful message exposing the other side of Egypt’s paradise: the lack of civil right for religious minorities such as the Baha’is. I sent the link to several friends and relatives, and at least one Portuguese Christian blog posted it. But I can not imagine any baha’i producing such a video; that is not the way Bahá’is protest against those who deprive them of civil rights.

To those baha’is who see this video as an insult to Egypt or as a harmful approach that doesn’t help Baha’is, I have to remind you the following: the language, the methods and tools of Civil Rights Groups may not be the same those of the Baha’is; but they may prove to be efficient to protect our brothers of faith in Egypt and in Iran, just like the language, the methods and the tools of the British army proved to be efficient in saving the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in 1918.

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Surely this website and any other media it produces contributes to a “PR crisis” for Iran and Egypt. It does indeed expose the darker sides of both countries. This does not mean that we actually enjoy attacking these countries or that we don’t hold them dear to us. What we do is point out a human rights abuse, condemn it, and eventually find different ways of doing so until our primary mission is achieved.

Amongst other things, we also target certain Muslims whose arguments or hatred against Baha’is are refuted and condemned here. We do not and have never attacked such people but we think it’s important to play a role in refuting their arguments as Baha’is are often ignored and dismissed as “infidels.” We on the other hand have a higher chance of being heard since we actually share a religion with the people in question.

We think this approach is good enough to shake our societies. This website does not refrain from satire but it also does not thrive on it: any satirical material is not truly meant as sheer mockery but rather as an eye-opener to some people who do not see the irony and hypocrisy of being hateful to Baha’is. For example it is very common to find Muslims who complain about being misunderstood, unnecessarily feared and hated throughout the world even though some of them justify discrimination against Baha’is due to them being “infidels” and “devil worshippers.” This shows an extreme lack of understanding of the Baha’i faith which is the source for hatred of Baha’is. We as Muslims have a duty to stand up against this and to inform others on what the Baha’i faith actually teaches.

It is this attitude that really triggered us to start this website. We realized that many Muslims need to be aware of what is going on and we try our best to encourage them to stand up and fight for the rights of others even if it is not their own.

Apologies to those offended and to those who might be offended by our future material, however this is our approach, and frankly we do not see what is wrong with it. This is the way we fight for human rights and it may be different from you, but we have seen it work in the past hence why we are trying similar approaches here in the hopes of achieving social change. When we target the government via letters or press releases they are never harmful, violent, or insulting in nature and are in fact collaborative, encouraging, and highly respectful. This website is for the most part informal: it is not treated as a director communicator to the Iranian or Egyptian governments. This website is meant to first spread awareness and to encourage other Muslims to stand up in defense of the Baha’i cause and we do a lot of background work that involve campaign letters to embassies and governmental offices kindly requesting change. But the informal cyber activities are actually meant for the public to raise awareness and support for a common cause, in this case it’s ensuring human rights of Baha’is across the Arab and Muslim world.