Friday, September 29, 2006

Egyptian Baha'is Demand Their Rights Again

Another article was published in the daily independent newspaper "Nahdat Misr" (Rise & Renaissance of Egypt) on 21 September 2006, entitled "We want nothing more than the religious section [on ID cards]." The subtitle was "They said that it is incomprehensible that a five-year-old child remains without a birth certificate just because he is a Baha'i."

The article states: "the last few months were not the beginning of Egypt's era for the Baha'i [Faith], the repeated flow of information confirms that the age of the Baha'i [Faith] in Egypt exceeds the period of a century...." It goes on to say, "we have not heard a single voice from the Baha'is in Egypt since the dissolution of the Baha'i Assemblies by the late president Gamal Abd el-Nasser in the fifties [1960]...."

Later on after reporting on the usual false accusations that the "Baha'is are linked to the United States and Israel," he reported statements made by Dr. Basma Moussa, an Egyptian Baha'i and a surgeon at Cairo University, that "the recent movement by the Baha'is should be looked at in the context of implementing their citizenship rights after being cornered [left with no options], and all their livelihood affairs came to a halt as a result of the government's actions preventing them from obtaining official ID documents...."

He then reported her statement that "it is not comprehensible that a five-year-old child remains without a birth certificate just because he is a Baha'i." and that "the recent movement has nothing to do with foreign influences, proven by the fact that the Egyptian Baha'is did not resort to taking their case to the world community, but rather pursued the legal avenues within Egypt's court system in order to obtain their rights...." She later clearly objected to the baseless and false accusations that have been circulating in the Egyptian media and the misinformation campaign propagated against the Baha'is in Egypt.


  1. How can a 5-year old be a Baha'i, a Muslim, a Christian or anything else???

  2. Dear MC,

    A very good question. The problem is that, as you know, birth certificates in Egypt must have the parents' religion/s indicated on them and not the child. Since they will not allow the Baha'i parents to indicate their true religion, then the authorities refuse to issue birth certificates unless the parents lie about their religion and enter one of the "three." Lying on an official document is a felony--therefore it becomes "Catch 22!"

    According to the laws of the Baha'i Faith, a child born in a Baha'i family has until the age of 15 years to decide on which religion, if any, he or she would adopt after studying and investigating. No child born to a Baha'i family is ever forced to become a Baha'i. I suspect that many people would appreciate the wisdom of such law....

  3. Thanks for this very helpful update and for all of your work following the situation in Egypt so closely. ~ shahla

  4. Dear Shahla,

    Thank you for your kindness. I love your new blog.

  5. Thanks bilo for the explanation regarding the age requirement and free will concerning being officially considered a Bahá’í.

    I just would like to add that Bahá’í children are taught the essence and truth of all religions and the principle of oneness of religion from very early age. They are raised respecting all religions and their followers, and taught to love and worship God and serve their fellow humans. This makes their choice religion at the age of 15 an informed decision.

    Note: Shahla, I love your blog

  6. Thank you Nesreen for elaborating on this important subject of educating the children.


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