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Issue 1 - Palestinian Leader denies Baha'i links

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  • andymcruk
    Baha i Monitor Issue 1 Palestinian Leader Denies Baha i links Abu Mazen, the leader of the PLO and front runner to succeed Yassir Arafat as President of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 30, 2004
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      Baha'i Monitor Issue 1

      Palestinian Leader Denies Baha'i links

      Abu Mazen, the leader of the PLO and front runner to succeed Yassir
      Arafat as President of the Palestinian Authority in elections
      9/1/05, has responded to allegations accusing him of being a Baha'i.
      In a speech on Saturday 25/12/04 he made numerous citations of the
      Koran, and this was interpreted as an effort to counteract rumours
      being spread that he is a Bahai.


      Abu Mazen has been accused of Baha'i links before. In May 2003,
      leaflets were distributed in East Jerusalem said he was "a member of
      the Bahai sect that was established in Iran with the encouragement
      of British colonialism to besmear the image of Islam"


      The former Israeli secret service chief Shabtai Shavit had also
      previously claimed these links in an interview with the Israeli
      newspaper Yedioth Ahranoth in December 2001. He said that Abu Mazen
      would be "unable to fill Arafat's shoes because of his Baha'i
      background", which would be like "naming a Samaritan as president of
      Israel". The basis for the claim was given as his surname, Abbas,
      being the same as the Abbas Effendi, or Adbu'l Baha. The newspaper
      later published a correction at Abu Mazen's request


      In May 2003 the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz published an interview
      with Abu Mazen. He denied that he was a Baha'i and said he was angry
      that "false rumours" had been published by the Jerusalem Post. "This
      is not the first time that people spread that malicious rumour. I
      sued a Jordanian newspaper for publishing it. Regrettably the person
      I sued passed away before the court ruled unequivocally that the
      report was false. I am a believing Muslim, son of a family of
      believers and committed to the religions commandments"


      The Baha'i World Centre in Israel has denied that Abu Mazen is a
      Baha'i. Shmuel Elgrabli, the Centre's Israeli adviser is quoted as
      saying "Mr. Abu Mazen is not known to the center and does not appear
      on its rolls"

      This is also rejected by Prof Moshe Sharon, the chair of Baha'i
      Studies at the Hebrew University in Israel. He was quoted in Haaretz
      giving three reasons why Abu Mazen could not be a Baha'i:

      "It is impossible for Abu Mazen to be Bahai. First of all, if the
      Bahai say someone isn't Bahai, then there's no chance they are. They
      know all their members and have complete rosters of their members.
      Secondly according to the Bahai religion it is absolutely forbidden
      for a believer to live permanently in the land of Israel, between the
      Jordan river and the Mediterranean. If you decide to be a Bahai you
      have to immediately leave the country. Third, according to the
      Faith's founder, Baha'u'llah, Bahai are prohibited from any
      nationalistic political activity. A Bahai cannot be Arafat's deputy."


      The source of the allegation is believed to be in his surname, Abbas,
      which Abu Mazen shares with 'Abdu'l-Baha. However, Prof Sharon
      dismisses this, saying that Abdul-Baha had only daughters and that
      Abbas is a common name amongst Persians. He further emphasises that
      one of the Bahai teachings is that a person is not born Bahai and
      every believer must "seek the truth" personally.

      A biographical article in Haaretz about Abu Mazen revealed that he
      grew up in the Arab Quarter of Haifa, where Adbul-Baha lived. His
      family were forced to flee from the area when he was 13.

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