The following article is a translation of a report published by Copts United

In an unprecedented move that represents a positive development in the dealing of the Ministry of Religious Endowments with Egypt’s Baha’i community, Sheikh Salim Abdul Jaleel – the under-secretary for religious advocacy, gave the following response to a query on the Ministry’s accusations that Egyptian Baha’is support the Zionist movement:

There is no proof available that incriminates the Baha’is of Egypt with supporting Zionism. But I generally say that the existence of any sect that follows a faith that isn’t divinely inspired serves our enemies. But to state the the Baha’i Faith serves Zionism or that it’s related to it or that its movements are dictated by Zionism or that it is linked to it – these are all accusations that lack evidence, and it’s being repeated by the Intelligence agencies, and not Islamic scholars.

Not only do we accept calls for dialogue, but in fact we call others with whom we disagree to dialogue in order to reach a common ground.

It should be noted that Egyptian media outlets- both independent and state-run – had quoted calls from the Ministry of Religious Endowments to incite against Baha’is and paint them as traitors. For instance, on June 9, 2006, the independent ‘Al Masry Al Youm’ published an article titled “The Baha’i Faith is the subject of today’s Friday sermon”. The article read:

The Baha’i Faith will be the subject of today’s Friday sermon at all mosques in the city of Port Said, in accordance with circular number 56 for the year 2006 by the Ministry of Endowments, with the aim of raising the public’s awareness on the truth about this deviant sect.

The circular, which was distributed to all mosques and the directors at the Endowments of Port Said, affirmed that the principle of the Baha’i Faith contradicts Islam and distorts its teaching and is a Zionist plot to destroy religious beliefs.

Similarly, an article published by Rose Al Yousef on the 10th of July, 2008 entitled “The Ministry of Endowments starts campaign to warn mosque-goers about the dangers of the Baha’i Faith” stated:

The Ministry of Religious Endowments has distributed a book titled “The Baha’i Faith and the Stance of Islam” to all mosques with the intention of introducing Muslims to this group that has received a lot of attention in recent times. The book described Baha’is as a misguided group that tries to destabilize Muslims and has close ties with the enemies of Islam, particularly Zionism.

In the October issue of the El-Tareeq newspaper, Dr. Basma Moussa, a Baha’i activist, had the following to state:

Those who accuse the Baha’is of Egypt of being traitors and supporting the Zionist entity should present evidence to that. Can you give me a case in which a Baha’i was sentenced by court? The Baha’i Faith does not conform with the Zionist movement anyway, as the Zionist movement is based on racism, and the Baha’i Faith renounces all forms of prejudices as its teachings do not differentiate between men and women, white and black, and it has no political aspirations or motives. The Faith does not give birth to nations, but lives in the heart. There has never been a case where an Egyptian Baha’i was tried for treason, and what people are not aware of is that the first Egyptian martyr in the war of 1948 was a Baha’i. The man lost his life while defending the Palestinian cause. My father worked with the military (and his ID card states that he is a Baha’i) and was injured in the war of 1973. Similary, my brothers served with the Egyptian army.

It should be noted that the discrimination that Egypt’s Baha’is are subjected to is in violation of all international conventions on human rights and citizenship.