Sunday, July 15, 2007

Boutros Ghali Concerned With Egypt's Image in the World

Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and currently the President of Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) was interviewed recently by Egypt's government-owned weekly magazine Al-Mussawar. The article was published in the Magazine's 6 July 2007 issue.

The interview revealed Ghali's deep concern for the status of the Baha'is in Egypt. He pointed out that Egypt recognizes three religions only: Islam, Christianity and Judaism; that 51% of the world's population does not belong to any of these three religions. This creates a huge problem for Egypt when confronted with matters concerning some citizens of Egypt, such as the Baha'is, other residents of Egypt such as the Chinese, and visitors in Egypt such as Japanese tourists. He stressed that Egypt's current position implies that it does not recognize the religions of 51% of the world's population.

He also indicated that Baha'is in particular face major challenges in Egypt because of their inability to obtain ID cards, and that he has been in close contact with three attorneys from California who are working with him on finding a solution to the Baha'i case. This has led to his negotiations with Egypt's Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly. One solution would be the elimination of religious classification from Egyptian ID cards.

He expressed his concern with Egypt's image in the outside world because of its treatment of Baha'is, whose "large numbers in America cannot be ignored." It appears that he was misquoted when the magazine reported that he said that there are "about 6 million Baha'is in Chicago."

This appears to be a significant development regarding the Baha'i case in Egypt. Ghali's views, however, have been the same since this crisis began approximately a year ago, and that opinion did not seem to influence the government's position thus far. Egypt's National Council for Human Rights is a consultative body appointed by the Egyptian government, but it is not empowered with decision-making authority. It advises the government and the President who subsequently have the final say in whatever recommendations are put forth by the Human Rights Council.

10 comments:

  1. There ARE 6 million Baha'is in Chicago - but 5,999,500 don't know it yet!! Let's pray that they feel the spirit of our prayers for them!

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  2. The Egyptian government should heed the call to uphold the human rights of Egyptian Baha'is and other minorities in Egypt by this outstanding World and Egyptian leader, Mr. Boutros Ghali. What harm is there in omitting the requirement to state one's "religion", or in adding to the three recognized religions a fourth choice "other"?

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  3. I will send a letter to Mubarak saying that he should receive Butros Galli and Bilo. Would you mind?

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  4. It is interesting how this case seems to have captured the attention of so many people who do not necessarily have a personal stake in the Baha'i situation. God is indeed the Subtle, the All-Perceiving.

    Fascinating.

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  5. It will surely get even more interesting!

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  6. The National Council for Human Rights is holding workshops and proposing changes in legislation to deal with the official document problems and other human rights issues. The People Assembly has to enact any changes. I don't believe this will be anytime soon, but it is a step in the right direction.

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  7. Nabil,
    There will be a post about this soon.

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  8. there is an American Proverb that says the following:


    Getting thing things done around here is similar to breeding elephants...

    [1]Everything is done at a high level
    [2]there is A LOT of kicking and screaming
    [3]it takes 2½ years to see any results

    :-)

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  9. I posted about this on my blog!
    :-)

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  10. Thank you Marco for translating it and posting it on your wonderful blog.

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