Friday, April 20, 2007

Lawsuit Exposes Irony of Egypt's Supreme Court Ruling

Published today in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Doustour Al-Youmy (The Daily Constitution) is an article reporting on a new lawsuit filed by a Baha'i parent challenging the Supreme Administrative Court ruling that is preventing the Baha'is from obtaining ID cards.

At the center of this case is his son's inability to obtain an Id card as he reached the legal age of 16 at which every citizen in obligated to obtain a government issued ID. His son is a student at the Suez Canal University. Without an ID he would end up being expelled from his school.

The lawsuit is against the Ministry of Interior and the Civil Affairs Agency in charge of issuing identification documents. The litigant is Hosni Bakheet Abd El-Messeih filing on behalf of his son.
He states that his son was born to Baha'i parents, that his real religion is Baha'i and that he does not belong to any other religious affiliation. He is required by the government to obtain an ID card, but is being denied its issue unless he lies about his religion and enters Muslim, Christian or Jew in the computerised religion section of the application. This violates his right to freedom of belief and violates the Egyptian constitutional guarantees as mandated in articles 40, 41, 45 and 46 of the constitution. He states that if he enters one of the three mentioned religions instead of his real religion it would be considered by the authorities as a forgery punishable by law with a monetary fine and imprisonment.

The lawsuit also challenges the government authorities' stand which violates citizens' rights to absolute freedom of belief regardless of the legitimacy of such belief as clearly mandated in the Egyptian constitution.

The newspaper article shows the photograph of Judge El-Say'eid Nofal, who had presided over the Supreme Administrative Court during its 16 December 2006 session which ruled to prevent the Baha'is from obtaining ID cards unless they lie about their religious affiliation. Oddly if Baha'is oblige the court and do lie about their religion, they would be violating the Egyptian law which is supposed to be upheld and protected by this same court which happens to instruct them to lie. What an irony!

The real issues and facts relating to the struggle of the Baha'is of Egypt in their quest to be treated as equal citizens in their homeland is clearly described in this previous post....


  1. Gosh and I thought that life in the United States was complicated!!

    God help us if the US Government gets this "analretentive"

  2. Good to see that the heroic Egyptian Baha'is are continuing to press forward.

  3. They will never give up, and their resolve becomes more intense as their challenges intensify.

  4. Indeed they are heroic! I wish them success and the restoration of their fundamental human rights.

    I am unclear though how a suit by the Administrative Supreme Court can be challenged in court. What happens if the court decides to allow the National Identity card, but the government appeals again?

    It is still good to keep the heat on the courts and government to restore the rightful privileges of all Egyptian citizens regardless of religion, faith, or creed!

  5. Since the government recognizes Islam, Christianity and Judaism as divine religions, what would be their objection if one were to indicate on ID applications the religious affiliation as all three?

    A sidenote: the photo of Judge Siyyid Noufal in the article. This promotes the judge as the "protector of Islam" and incites further enmity towards the Baha'i community. Would it not have been more appropriate to show a photo of the father and son, or, for reasons of personal safety, any other image that would invoke an objective response, or some compassion for the young man who is about to be expelled from university?

    Perhaps there is a need for a posterboy for Egyptian justice. When the time comes for real justice, and it will come, Judge Noufal will be the front man, though judgements were determined by higher authorities, those who would not be exposed by placing their pictures in the media. This will make for a great movie someday.

  6. Happy Ridvan to you Bilo and to all who read this magnificent blog!

  7. Thank you all for your comments and for your wishes. The feelings are reciprocal. Greetings from the Alps!

  8. dear friends
    for bahais allover the glob happy Ridvan & we wish next ridvan that bahais of Egypt took all rights.
    For all friends Have a nice day. this day iam so happy to till you as a bahai in Egypt that there are many changegs happend last few months in egyptian comunity & for some extent now accepting bahai as they are & we must say thanks for all journalist or programmer help us to introduce our self to Egyptian , arabic & muslim comunity. laste wish for me that next case infront the court will give us our rights as Egyptian citizinship , we are loving Egypt so much & we just need chance to give our soul to our lovely countery
    happy holy days for all of you.

  9. Bahais of Egypt, we love you and pray for you. God bless yo.

    I appreciate your patience and peaceful reaction to this injustice.

  10. Thank you Anonymous for your kind comment


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