Friday, March 21, 2008

Egypt's Ministry of Education Allows Baha'i Student into Exams

As the Baha'is of the world celebrate today the end of their yearly "fast" and the advent of their new year, the case of Kholoud, the young Egyptian student who was--because of belonging to the Baha'i religion--prevented from registering for her exams by the head of "Examination Control" in Cairo, captured the outrage of the Ministry of Education as well as the public opinion in Egypt.

As a result, Egypt's Ministry of Education overruled the administrator's decision and allowed Kholoud admission to the examination process for graduation from high school. Dr. Rida Abou Sareeyh, First Deputy Minister of Education, confirmed the right of Kholoud to admission to the examination. And that the initial decision to deprive Kholoud of her right to the exam had neither legal nor procedural basis.

Kholoud during a TV interview (Cairo)

Kholoud's colleagues in her school were also outraged by the decision of the "head of control" describing his behavior as "prejudiced." The entire student body was taken back by the way Kholoud was treated and they stated that she was wronged by that decision. They indicated that "no one has the right to interfere with another's religion." One of the students stated that they all knew that Kholoud is a Baha'i and that they all admire her, love her and respect her. They were indeed shocked by the way she was treated by this administrator.

The school's headmaster and teachers were also highly supportive of Kholoud's case and promised her father that they will ensure the prompt procession of her application and acceptance into the examination process.

This case garnered extensive media coverage, including a major television interview and newspaper coverage in Cairo's Al-Badeel and Egypt's semi-official Al-Ahram newspapers.

Officials in the Ministry of Education described the behavior of the administrator as "his own doing and not--in any way--in accordance with the policies of the Ministry." Based on the recent (29 January 2008) administrative court decision allowing the Baha'is of Egypt the right to obtain official documents, the Ministry of Education resolved the matter by asking Kholoud to fill-out another application form with dashes "--" entered in the religion field of the application.

On another front, since Cairo's Court of Administrative Justice decision to allow the Baha'is of Egypt to leave the religion field on official documents vacant, or to enter dashes "--" or "other" instead of identifying their religion, several Egyptian Baha'is attempted to obtain ID cards. In all cases, they were asked to return in ten days. When they returned as requested, they were told again to return in ten days! Thus far no Baha'is in Egypt have been issued ID cards since the court's verdict.

To this date, the Ministry of Interior has not shown any intention of appealing the administrative court's verdict to the Supreme Administrative Court of Egypt.

It is indeed refreshing to note that, unlike Iran's treatment of its Baha'i religious minority, Egypt is quite different--and one can be sure that it will remain so--not because of its sense of responsibility towards its citizens and towards the rest of the free world, but because of its basic nature as a civilized society that cannot overstep certain boundaries in human relations and decency.


  1. thank God for small miracles...It appears that the head of Egyptian Education showed A LOT OF Curage and INTELLIGENCE!!

    Now lets get Iran onto the program...

  2. Justice tends to always show its bright face...sooner or later! It is only a matter of time.

  3. Justice was a gift that His holiness Mohammad thought to His followers. Today with the exception of a few most of Egyptian Muslims are most probably fair minded people.It is only these few ignorants that are putting the rest of the Muslims to shame.Behrooz

  4. Extremism exists everywhere and among the followers of many religions, not only Islam. Also, goodness exists everywhere and among all religions. Salvation will materialize when good prevails over evil. Humanity is in dire need for new direction that would tip the balance.

  5. Praying for peace and harmony for everyone involved...
    Lisa in Hawaii
    (I'm a Baha'i too)

  6. I am so delighted that the Minister of Education in Egypt took the time and made all efforts to look into Kholoud's case and resolved the matter justly.
    Lovely to hear of the support Kholoud received from her fellow students and staff at school, this shows how much she's respected and admired by all.
    Let us hope that Iran will follow suit and treat the Baha'is with dignity and respect.
    Thanks Bilo for the update!


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