Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Egypt: An Open Letter From A Baha'i To His Homeland

An article written by Yousef Shaaban was published in "Watani el-Youm" (My Homeland Today) on 25 July 2006, reported on an open letter from Dr. Labib Iskandar Hanna, a Professor at Cairo's Faculty of Engineering, representing the Baha'is. The title reads: "We are not using foreign influence on Egypt--and our religious classification [on ID Cards] is our right as given to us in court."

The article goes on to state that the Baha'is are sure that they will prevail in the Supreme Administrative Court when the government's appeal will be considered regarding the ID Card matter. This court session is scheduled for 16 September 2006.

He also affirmed that Baha'is are not using any outside pressure on the Egyptian Government to recognize the Baha'i Faith since it had been already determined by the highest Egyptian legal authorities in 1925 that the Baha'i faith is an independent religion, which had also been sanctioned by Sheikh el-Azhar. Additionally, the Supreme administrative Court had already ruled in 1983 that Baha'is were entitled to document their religion on official documents.

Hanna also indicated that the United nations had recognized the Baha'i Faith as a free-standing and independent religion. He clarified that the lawsuit was brought about because the civil registry had only allowed three religions for ID Cards (Islam, Christianity & Judaism), and that--alone--is unacceptable to the Baha'is, "as we are also entitled to register our religion."

In an open letter to "Watani el-Youm", the Engineer Labib Iskandar said: "we are an Egyptian minority, the children of this dear homeland, who are enduring a deplorable attack (as if it was the Day of Judgement) because the administrative court had simply given us our rights and allowed us to document our religion in ID Cards."

He then gave the Egyptian Baha'is' point-of-view as follows:

"This lawsuit has nothing to do with the Egyptian Government recognizing the Divine origin of the Baha'i Faith, but it is clearly about allowing the law-abiding Egyptian Baha'is to obtain ID Cards just like all other Egyptians."


  1. "The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men."

    May the members of the court feel and acknowledge the presence of God during the court's deliberations. By its decisions both now and in the future, enable justice to walk with grace and honor in the streets of Egypt's great and ancient cities. All the great Egyptians of the past, who stood for justice, and the search for truth, are here among us, walking, breathing. If we listen we can hear them, see them, feel them. They are part of us, all of us.

    We are all God's servants, and we are obedient to His will. And from that point of view even the justices of the Egyptian highest court must bow their heads in recognition.

  2. Thank you so much for your wise and inspiring comment.

  3. إن كتبت بالعربية صارت أمامك فرصة أفضل ليتعرف عموم المصريون على أبناء وطنهم المختلفين عنهم في العقيدة و لتتبدد الصورة الخيالية التي ترتسم في عقل معظم الناس و تسبب رفضهم لكل ما لا يعرفونه.

  4. Thank you so much for your recommendation to write the blog in Arabic, so it would improve the chance for Egyptians to get to know their co-citizens who have different beliefs. Your analogy of people having imaginary picture in their minds about Baha’is is very real and to the point.

    Hopefully this site will be ultimately translated into Arabic. I'll need help in doing so. Any volunteers out there?

  5. I have been reading your blog for a while now – I was directed to it by a Baha’i. Although your subject is very limited – the Baha’is in Egypt – it is so well written and informative that I keep coming back to be updated on the developments regarding these courageous persons fighting for their human and civil rights. May God bless and protect them and bless you for what you are doing. I also wanted to bring to your attention another blog that I find very interesting, in case you don’t know about it. You will see that its style differs quite a bit from yours, but the contents are generally excellent:

    In fact, a while ago, it had a post on the Baha’is in Egypt.

    And I agree with Alef (although I cannot read his comment): this blog should also be in Arabic - it is not only Egyptians who have an imaginary idea about the Baha'is, it is all the Arab/Muslim world...

  6. Thank you so much for your comment and for informing me of “or does it explode”-- a very well done blog indeed.

    Alef’s post was pretty much translated in my reply.

    Also, this blog is now on Egypt’s blogging ring under ‘Society’ classification, so hopefully it will be getting more exposure there.

  7. Here is the post on Egypt's Baha'is from "Or Does It Explode":



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