Even though there have been glimpses of hope for peaceful resolution to the struggle of the Baha'is of Egypt, supported by the judiciary as well as the government, a sickening undercurrent of activity is being propagated and stirred by an Egyptian journalist, named Gamal Abdel Rahim, who writes for Egypt's Al-Gomhoryiah [the Republic] newspaper. His activities can easily be regarded as plots that are leading to sedition, intended to entice public unrest and disrupt "public order."
This journalist has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Baha'is in Egypt. His rhetoric is cloaked with hatred and disgust. He advocates pronouncing all Baha'is as apostates and urges their killing. As a consequence to his urging, during a recent television program (posted below), a mob attacked and assaulted the Baha'is in the village of Showranyiah (island in the center of the Nile) in the southern Egyptian province of Sohag on 31 March 2009 at 8 PM. The mob, reportedly, burned their homes and expelled the Baha'i families from the village.
This story was reported in a comment by the leader of that mob on Gamal Abdel Rahim's blog, which has been dedicated to attacks on Baha'is. This mob leader, who claimed responsibility for the attack, is named Mohammad Youssry Mohammad. He identifies himself as the secretary of the youth committee of the village's National Party (al- Hezb al-Watany) and a teacher in the religious institute of the village. He describes the village to have a population of 16,751 with a surface area of approximately 1,567 feddans [acres]. It has 17 mosques, 3 churches, 16 elementary schools, 2 preparatory schools and 1 secondary "commerce" school. He also reports that the Baha'is, who were expelled from the village following the burning of their homes, consist of 15 individuals from three families, among them children and nursing babies.
A television program, aired on 28 March 2009, provided a forum for discussion between a representative of the Baha'i community of Egypt, Dr. Basma Moussa, the journalist Gamal Abdel Rahim and a Baha'i from the village of Showranyiah, Ahmad El-Sayyid. The host was Wael El-Ebrashy of Dream Channel. This recent attack was triggered by the hateful comments made by the journalist Gamal Abdel Rahim against the Baha'is during the TV program (see videos below).
Although this is regarded as an outrageous and heinous act against an innocent Baha'i population of an Egyptian village, it should be emphasized that this is not a normal occurrence in Egypt and does only represent the reaction of an ill-informed number of individuals who are driven by hatred and ignorance. There are many Egyptians who have been supportive of the Baha'is and of their rights. Among them are leaders of society, such as journalists, academics, politicians, artists, human rights activists and jurists.
The Egyptian authorities must take action against the perpetrators of these acts and must hold responsible those who have caused them. The rule of law has to prevail over such irresponsible terror and has to halt this state of unbridled anarchy. Egypt cannot afford to tolerate such a state of lawlessness.
Update (2 April 2009 Egypt-time):
Human rights activists and Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination are holding a demonstration at the office of Egypt's Attorney-General and are requesting that Gamal Abdel Rahim be charged and prosecuted (see report here).
Below is the TV program that apparently has triggered the current violence. The program was intended to discuss the Nowruz feast celebrated by the Baha'is in a Cairo public park on the 21st of March: