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Tunisian Muslim says apologise to Baha'is

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Tunisian Muslim academic has called on Muslims to reconcile with Baha'is and followers of other religions. He has also called on involved Muslims to apologise to the Baha'is that have been humiliated and denigrated in Muslim coutries.

Dr Iqbal Al-Gharbi, a psychology lecturer at the Al-Zaytouna University in Tunis, said that many peoples across the world were asking for forgiveness for past wrongs, such as the Catholic Church, who asked for forgiveness for its treatment of Jewish people, and France which apologised for the complicity of the Vichy regime. She said that, Muslims, by contrast, usually consider themselves to be the victims and usually innocent of any wrongs.

Al-Gharbi said Muslims should reconcile with Christian and Jewish minorities who lived in Muslim countries, and to Africans who suffered in the Arab slave trade. She said they should also reconcile with "small schools of Islamic thought" such as the Ismaili, Baha'i, Alawite and Druze.

Baha'is do not consider themselves to be a school of Islam but instead an independent world religion. They protest persecution in Iran (which has the largest Baha'i population of any Muslim-majority country) including execution, imprisonment, torture, deprivation of property and exclusion from education.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom stated in its 2005 report that Baha'is are repressed in Iran and Egypt, and face execution, imprisonment and discrimination. Forum 18, the Norwegian human rights organisation has also reported discrimination against Baha'is in Muslim-dominated Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The Government of Iran maintains that the Baha'i Faith is not a religion but an "espionage establishment", with links to the Israeli, British and American governments. Other Muslims consider Baha'is to be apostates — Muslims who have abandoned their religion — and this justifies discrimination.


Sources

See also

  • Archive of all stories on Forum 18 regarding the Baha'i Faith and religious discrimination:

http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?query=&religion=22&country=all&results=10