Friday, August 04, 2006

Egypt: A Baha'i Denied Inheritance Right

Today, in Egypt's al-Akhbar (The News) official newspaper, an article on its front page announced a Cairo family court's judgement that disallowed a deceased Baha'i man's inheritance of his deceased mother's property.

It stated that "the man had embraced the Baha'i Faith in 1955 after his marriage to a Baha'i woman. He had--along with his sister and brother--acquired inheritance from his mother after her death in 1988." A lawsuit filed recently by his Muslim nephews requested the reversal of his inheritance after he had died, so that his descendents would also be deprived of their inheritance and it would all be transferred to his Muslim nephews instead.

The court, headed by Justice Amgad Abu el-Fotouh and Assisted by Prosecutor Ahmad Ayad, had based its decision to reverse his inheritance on the reasons that "he was buried in a Baha'i cemetery, and that a 'Fatwa' by al-Azhar had already declared the Baha'is as heretics and apostates, allowing their shunning--preventing them from inheriting Muslims."

The court had also accused the deceased man of "not praying or fasting [like Muslims] and that he was buried in a wooden box in a Baha'i cemetery. Therefore the court was content and reassured that he had lived as a Baha'i and died in that religion."

It is clear here that the court, without intending to do so, had acknowledged that the Baha'i Faith is a Religion!


  1. the more they show themselves, the more they become entangled in their own thoughts. This kind of system, does not work efficiently and justly in all matters except this case with the Bahais. The corruption we see in the Bahai example is because you are shining a light on this out of your interests. BUT I am sure if we examined with any care, another social problem, the same kinds of twisted logic and self-serving contradictions within the system would reveal itself.
    Probably there are others who are envious of the access to international opinion that the Bahai Community has. And they are wondering about their own unjust experiences with the government and yet no one said enough. Probably those are blaming the Bahais for not speaking up for their cause or not. But the wise way would be to join hands with as many as possible.

  2. Yes, but the Baha'is never had this kind of exposure before. For a long time, they were oppressed in silence and darkness. They had no voice in the media, and were completely ignored by the public. Most people were not aware of their existence. The human rights organizations in Egypt are now addressing these issues collectively, since most share in the same malady.

  3. Oh.
    Now the more I think about Egypt, compared to before (which was not at all until I found your blog) it seems like a really interesting brew.
    My image is of a country filled with universities that crank out thousands of graduates. And yet unemployment is pretty high isn't it? The state must pay out alot of money for unemployment, like France?

  4. Yes, universities crank out thousands of graduates and unemployment is high, but on the other hand people are becoming more resourceful in diversifying their opportunities. There are distinct extremes of wealth and poverty. No social security structure like in France and people fend for themselves. The unemployed is dependent on the extended family and/or charity.

  5. I could believe that the Middle East is at the edge of a round of changes rippling out from Lebanon, and Iraq.
    Though that is far from certain. (this is just like Japanese expressions, say first one thing and then completely contradict it in the next sentence ;-)
    The speculation revolves around access to oil, or continued access to oil, or increasing access to oil. I suppose Egypt has no problems meeting its needs from OPEC. Because its transportation sector (where in the US most of the oil is consumed) seems underdeveloped, and there are lots of engineering graduates. Is there much enterpreneur or alternative energy projects on a small cheap know individual creativity?

  6. Not much of search for alternative energy sources. Not a priority!

    Motor vehicles are abundant and fuel consumption is high--pollution too....

  7. Last night my thoughts during an hour of meditation settled on you and your blog for a space of time. I feel that you understand, my perspective. For some seven months I have been commenting on several Iraqi blogs, and recently adding 2 Lebanese blogs as well. I have learned alot about Middle East society and history in this time.

    However I feel I am in touch with only a thin, very thin layer of Middle East society, the affluent, well-educated, sons and daughters of the middle class. This isn't so surprising except that I think this is the 21st century, and I think more should have been accomplished by now????? I think of the growing economic gap between the classes that is occuring in America and here in Japan, it has replaced the racial gap in people's perceptions in the case of America, probably. Yet, this condition in the US and increasingly so in Japan seems to be nothing compared with the Middle East. The miracle of the Internet is that I am able to interact with this layer of humanity even to such a small extent. And thus it has had an impact on me of how vast the differeences are between my hopes for mankinds progress and the reality. Now, one of the Iraqi bloggers has left Baghdad for Aman Jordan, for the sake of his sanity and safety. There he has met perhaps a dozen other Iraqi bloggers who used to live in Iraq until recently. The streets are peppered with Iraqi exiles. This thin layer of middle class is sliding over national boundaries to another country. There will be effects and reactions. And I haven't even mentioned Lebanon, or the eventual effect of the ripple that will arrive on Egypt's shores.

    Egypt is such a much larger population than any of these other countries, that this fact seems to make it a boundary for the disruption to beat against and be absorbed by, finally. The Internet makes for alot of spectators. Perhaps this will lead to some action that will restrict the tide of suffering that is now occuring in two small patches of the earth.

  8. You have been an inspiration to this blog with your thoughtful comments. You are always welcome....


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