Saturday, January 27, 2007

ID Cards in Egypt: Yet Another Unusual Statement

Ministry of Interior Instructs Egyptian Citizens to Lie

Today, the Ministry of Interior blamed the Baha'is for the so-called "crisis of the religion section on ID cards" and denied that there is a problem documenting "official religions."

In Akhbar el-Youm newspaper, the deputy minister of interior Essam el-Deen Bahgat stated that 38 Million ID cards have been issued and 5 Million more are on their way. When he was asked about the matter raised by human rights organizations regarding the inability of some of the citizens to obtain ID cards because of the religion section, he responded by blaming the Baha'is for that crisis.

He affirmed that "there are no problems for anyone to obtain an ID card, and that the group which caused these difficulties are those calling themselves Baha'is. Their request to document their religion violates the Egyptian law which recognizes only three divine religions, namely Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and we stand by this based on clear court decisions."

When asked how this matter should be dealt with, he responded by stating "we will enter the religion of the father whether he was Christian or Muslim in the religion section for the Baha'i applicants. If he [she] refuses, then we will not issue an ID card, and he will have to deal with the consequences."

This appears to be the latest stand of the Ministry of Interior on the matter of the ID cards for the Egyptian Baha'i citizens. It clearly states that a Baha'i must either accept the denial of his or her religion and convert to one of the three recognized religions in Egypt, or live without an ID card and suffer the consequences.

Since the ministry stated that they will assign religions to people according to their fathers' religion, one would wonder how could this be applied to the majority of the Baha'is in Egypt who are a fourth or fifth generation Baha'is! How many generations are they intending to go back to?

Is this a responsible answer from a respected deputy minister of interior, to simply state convert or else?

Furthermore, how could they blame the Baha'is for creating this problem? The Baha'is have always been peaceful and law-abiding citizens who, all of a sudden, became confronted with laws depriving them of their citizenship rights. The Baha'is were not the ones who limited ID cards to only three religions with no other options. They did not create these new rules, nor did they request the recognition of their religion.

The Bahá’ís simply want to co-exist with their fellow citizens and continue to contribute to the advancement of the Egyptian society as they have always done.

The travesty of this new development is that Egypt's Ministry of Interior is instructing Egyptian citizens to lie on official documents on which, the application form clearly states that any false statements are punishable by imprisonment and large fines!


  1. How does this response align itself with the vision of the president to amend certain articles of the constitution.Is the president of Egypt aware of the plight of Bahais? Is there a channel for Bahais to complain directly to him? According to his last speech,it is evident that the interior ministry contracdicts the president. I guess only a decree from the president will resolve this issue.

  2. Anonymous,
    Very good question and suggestion....

  3. To make matters worse, the Minister of Interior went on television the same day proclaiming the exact same rehtoric!

  4. The Bahá’ís simply want to co-exist with their fellow citizens and continue to contribute to the advancement of the Egyptian society as they have always done.

    Hmmm. I don't have the quotes from the Writings handy to back me up, but my Bahai gut tells me that the stakes are at least for the Egyptian Bahais going to be a little higher than simply to coexist invisibly and peacefully with their fellow citizens. Maybe this is what we signed up for, being in God's army.

    Edo River rising

  5. how typical of these ministers who on the outside give us the face of mild mannered
    government official yet on the inside to the objective observer after
    stripping away the veil of deceit expose the exact demonic nature of this government
    official... I wonder if given the opportunity he would be more than happy to kill
    one of us....

    just a thought..

  6. Blaming the Victim!!

    An appalling injustice is to commit it first and them blame those who are its victims for their sad lot! That is what this Deputy Minister whose responsibility is to protect all citizens, including minorities, from tyranny and inaccurate press, has committed! He has decreed that one's religion is his or her father's religion!

    If this applied during the age of Ignorance (Pre-Islam), this Deputy Minister would not be able to truthfully write down that he is Muslim.

    He is also assuming that all Baha'is are recent converts! There have been Baha'is in Egypt for several generations! How many generations requires another tyrannical judgment by an esteemed court to go back 5 or 6 generations! And if this makes sense to the Honorable Deputy Minister, perhaps they can extend this to 50 or 60 generations - going back to the Age of Ignorance!


  7. Bilo,

    How can we get the attention of President Mubarak and Prime Minister Nazif to deal justly with this important issue?


  8. Dear Bilo,

    Thanks for the post. I made a link from my Arabic comment about the article to the copy of the original newspaper article posted on your blog. I have problems manipulating the images on my blog to get them appear aligned when posting multiple images! Any suggestions?

    What shocked me about the interview is that some in a leadership role can actually suggest something like this. I started listing the problems that the implementation of such a rule could produce, then decided that the problems are too obvious to mention!

    Do they realize that people are smart, and can actually read and understand what they say and write!


  9. Praise God for the internet, and all the other technology that lets us shine a light on the bat's who prefer darkness.
    Just as the technology will appear when it is needed to organize and propogate the Faith, so too when persecution comes. the technology that allows us to see with our own eyes (provided Bilo translates it into English ;-)

    The message to me on this is, "Time is precious for anyone's life, especially in a gifted place like Japan. I should use the opportunities I have here with expediency.

    Edo River rising

  10. now is the time that we have an INTERNATIONAL governing body that is DEMOCRATICLY ELECTED and has TEETH to protect all the innocent from the CLUTCHES of these RABID ANIMALS....SOMETHING STRONGER THAN THE UN !!!! AND NOT POLITICALLY DIVIDED

  11. Thank you all for your comments. It is indeed a travesty!

    It is also important to remember that this matter is not that complicated. It is about the civil rights status of all Egyptian Baha'is, and yes...they simply want to co-exist with their fellow citizens...." We need to remember that this blog is for EVERYONE to discuss their views and not only from the Baha'i point of view, and to remember that there are many human rights promoters out there who have gone out of their way to gracefully support the cause of this struggle.

  12. Nesreen,
    The images of the article have been worked on and made into one piece which will be reposted on the blog when I get back this coming weekend.

  13. Thanks Bilo for continuing to speak truth to power on behalf of the Baha'is of Egypt. You inspire me brother!

    Your blog is one of the best that I have seen focused on a single subject.

  14. There are distinctive facts about Egypt that are perhaps overlooked, or otherwise, indistinguishable by those unexposed to its society. The most significant of these is that its governance is motivated by greed, and not directed by religious conviction, or authority of law as commonly portrayed in its media. While this is not an uncommon characteristic for a number of governments, it is the extent of the corruption, and the degree to which its participants have been able to camouflage tyranny under the legitimacy of democracy and absolute religious authority that make this a particularly complex issue to address. To the largely economically underprivileged masses, the conscious directive by persons of authority is to regulate religious fervor as a shield against all and any agents of justice, and as a smokescreen to conceal the illegitimate and more profitable compensations of absolute control. This largely uniform mass of common ignorance is self-sufficient as a fortress of religious determination because to its community, there is otherwise little other rhyme or reason to daily existence. How does one address a society that has never been exposed to the nature of civilized life?

    The Baha’i Faith, whether or not it is viewed as a legitimate religion, has established and sustained its advanced and world-embracing program in what is unquestionably one of the most testing and oppressive of countries. The current activities regarding civil status do not reflect the ambitions of a few adherents, but are rather providing an assessment and ultimate judgment of those, who will in due course, be clearly acknowledged as the lawbreakers of a world community. Whatever term one chooses to attribute the succession of human development; Divine Will, fate, destiny… there has always been some force or entity that carries an agenda beyond the human capacity to conceive or enact, that brings about the conditions whereby justice and civilization can advance.

    While appeals and calls for justice are an absolute obligation, it is equally essential to perceive the nature and motives of the unlawful before pursuing its critical constituents. At the present, an increased and unified effort is the responsibility of all those who wish to speed what is the inevitable and natural destiny of global justice. For this reason, it takes informed judgment to expose the baseless foundations of the instigator and his largely unwitting loyal army of the ignorant and deprived. In the case of Egypt, not a more cleverly devious adversary can be imagined, but for the Baha'is and those proponents of justice, the more imperative issue is the preparation for carrying forth the program when the point of transition does arrive.

    Statistical references:

    Democracy Audit:
    Corruption Perception Index (CPI):
    Transparency International:
    World Audit:
    Index of Economic Freedom:

  15. RA,
    Welcome to this blog and thank you for your insightful analysis.

  16. Phillipe,
    Welcome back! I also enjoy reading your blog very much...The civil rights subjects you write about are very dear to my heart. If you have not visited the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, you should one is an inspiring and very telling place. God bless you....

  17. may god curse you all , you infidel idiots. i hope that the maba7eth will throe you all in to the dirtiest jail .
    la3nat allah 3alaykom ya koffar ya ga7abee :-)

  18. Thank you for showing "us" your version of love, compassion, tolerance, acceptance and humanity. May God forgive you!


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