Sunday, July 09, 2006

Egypt's ID Cards: A French Baha'i Expatriate’s Dilemma

A French newspaper for expatriates, "le Petit Journal", just published an article describing the struggle of a French expatriate who now lives in Egypt. Its headline was "Baha'is: a community in need of recognition", and the article was entitled: "The Baha’is will have to wait again. Two months before they can find out if they will be allowed to write their religion on their official documents. The decision planned for last week has been tabled till next fall."

In this article, dated 26 June 2006, the author Guillaume de Dieuleveult, summarizes the Baha'i I.D. card dilemma. He quotes Herve Milewski a French Egyptian Baha'i stating: "on the space provided for 'religion' the computer gives only 3 choices: Muslim, Christian or Jewish. There is no option for leaving it blank and we cannot recant our religion. We would rather opt for having no official documents in spite of all the problems created [by not having one]. For example the birth of my daughter, which took place in Egypt, is not recorded in the Egyptian registry office." The favorable decree of 4 April 2006, even if its implementation was later suspended, has unleashed an outcry throughout Egypt. "For 2 months we have been the victims of a vicious campaign from the media," laments Herve Milewski, "we are being accused of all ills when our religion is a peaceful one, which asks from its believers obedience to the laws of the country they live in."

De Dieuleveult goes on to mention the difference in opinion towards the Baha'i Faith between the officials of al-Azhar who call it a "sacrilegious dogma" and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights who had rejoiced at the April decree that was "conforming to the Egyptian Constitution."

For the full article in French, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your opinion is valuable. Please share your thoughts.