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Back to Newspaper articles archive: 2001

Police arrest 16 for vice and debauchery

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Police filed vice and debauchery charges Tuesday against 16 people, including a man who married three sisters and another who took his own daughter as his wife.

Police officials said the 16 accused had been detained Monday in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag. They had encouraged others to relinquish their faith, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The 16 were members of the Bahai faith, the officials added, but an Islamic scholar, Hussein Amin, said their alleged behavior did not conform to the tenets of the Bahai faith.

"The Bahai faith is very pleasant and understanding. They (the Bahais) are a very peaceful people. The actions described don't match their rituals at all," Amin said.

The sect, an offshoot of Islam founded in Iran in the 19th century, had a minor following in Egypt before the 1952 revolution that overthrew the monarchy. Amin said followers of the faith, which is considered heresy in most Muslim nations, are vilified in overwhelmingly Muslim Egypt as apostates. Reports of police arresting Bahai followers are not uncommon.

At least 200 Bahai followers have been put to death in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

©Copyright 2001, The Associated Press News Service

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