According to the court's decision, which was recently supported by the State's Commissioner Council, they were granted the right to obtain identity documents and birth certificates. The ruling fell short of allowing them to enter their true religious identity on these documents, but instead it allowed them to leave it blank or enter [--] dashes. Even with this, not quite favorable compromise, the Baha'is have been content with such middle of the road solution to their dilemma.
To this day, not a single one of them has been able to obtain any documents. Even worse, more recently, their children have been denied admission to elementary schools. Their older children are now being subjected to further obstacles in their attempts to register for the final secondary education examinations required for entry into the university education system.
As recommended in yesterday's accompanying article--written in Al-Ahaly newspaper by Amina Al-Naqash, who explained the struggle of the Baha'is very clearly and objectively--the Baha'is cannot even obtain Egyptian passports (that do not identify the person's religion) because they have no ID cards, a requirement for processing passport applications.
In the meantime--as the status of the Baha'is of Egypt is approaching a crisis level because of their inability to obtain their basic citizenship rights--to make matters worse, the Ministry of Religious Endowment, headed by Mr. Zaqzouq, has just instructed all mosques in Egypt to launch an attack on the Baha'is. The second, attached, Rose Al-Youssef newspaper article, published today, proudly announces this fresh piece of news.
In brief, the article states that the Ministry has distributed to all Mosque leaders (Imams) a book called "Baha'iy'ah and the position of Islam," aimed at telling people to watch-out for those Baha'is who are out to get them and destroy Islam in the process.
The book, and the article, repeat the usual falsehood that has been propagated in Egypt (and Iran) about the Baha'is, that is: the usual unfounded propaganda about connections to Zionism, etc.... It accuses the Baha'is of being apostates, and explains how Sheikh Al-Azhar in 1947 had classified them as such, and had declared their marriages to be null and void. It even incites Egyptians "to warn their youth about the dangers of 'Baha'iy'ah' so that they don't fall for its entrapment."
Fascinating indeed.... One doubts, however, that Egyptians can be that gullible! On the other hand, if the audience at these sermons of Friday mosque gatherings is not well informed to begin with, or if they were easily influenced by this persuasive and superfluous talk because of their lack of education, this can easily lead to a state of public unrest and can disrupt "Public Order."
Why would the Ministry of Religious Endowment begin this hateful campaign at this juncture, exactly to coincide with the Ministry of Interior's--and the court's--attempts to find a just solution to the status of the Baha'is of Egypt? This is indeed very disturbing, and to put it mildly, irresponsible.