[TRANSCRIPT OF ORIGINAL NEWS ARTICLE IN ENGLISH]
[Newspaper:] Tehran Times
[Issue No:] 289 – volume 6
Bahais deviants from Islam, tools of world Zionism
Cairo (UPI) – The Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar Mosque, Cairo's ancient seat of Islamic learning, declared Thursday that Bahais were deviants from Islam and "tools of the world Zionist Movement" and should be punished accordingly.
Sheikh Gad-ul-Haq Ali Gad-ul-Haq said in a statement: "The tenets of the Bahai faith are in violation of Islam... it is a false faith that is rejected by Islam. Neither is it Jewish nor Christian.
"Bahaism is a political group that is manipulated by Zionism and works to implement its schemes in the Arab and Islamic countries," Sheikh Gad-ul-Haq said. "The proof is that they pray in the direction of Haifa. Accordingly, they are tools of international Zionism."
The Sheikh's statement followed the arrest at the end of February of 36 Bahais who were accused by the prosecutor-general of deriding "revealed religion" and "confusing people's minds." Six others, including a 73-year-old painter who led the group, were freed for humanitarian reasons.
Although the Egyptian constitution provides for the freedom of worship, Bahaism has been banned in Egypt since 1960 because it is regarded as a deviation from Islam.
Under Islamic law, renegades are punishable by death. Although Egypt is an Islamic country, it does not enforce this punishment.
Al Azhar objects to Bahaism because it mixes the teachings of Islam with tenets borrowed from Judaism and Christianity and also because it does not consider the prophet Mohammed (S) as the last of all Prophets.
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