Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Washington Post on the Rights of Egyptian Baha'is

A Reuters story by Cynthia Johnston regarding the Baha'is in Egypt was published in the Washington Post on 20 February 2006. The article entitled "Baha'is in Egypt fight for recognition as people" describes the daily personal struggle of the Baha'is living in Egypt precipitated by their inability to obtain ID cards and be treated as equal citizens in their own homeland.

This report is very well researched, balanced and objective. In addition to the Baha'is interviewed, it reported on certain historical facts regarding the continuing challenges facing the Baha'is in Egypt.

The reporter also interviewed others including Diane Ala'i, the Geneva-based Baha'i representative to the United Nations who said "If this policy continues, Baha'is will be in a way fifth-class citizens, or even non-citizens, in their own country;" Hala Mustafa, editor of al-Ahram Quarterly Democracy Review who stated "the new restrictions were imposed as Egypt was becoming more religiously conservative," and said she "saw no signs that the government would change its view of Baha'is soon;" an Interior Ministry spokesman who stated "rulings were issued in this matter that there are to be no identity cards issued for this Baha'i religion. I mean that's forbidden. It's a court ruling, not us. We are just implementing it;" and Hossam Bahgat, the director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and an outspoken humans rights activist who said "it is a step backward for the Baha'i community...."

To read the article, please click here....


  1. It would be appropriate at this time, in light of the findings of numerous legitimate official bodies - and qualified reports by reputable media sources - that have identified human rights violations, to coordinate or direct their findings to a collective advisory that would propose a plan of action whereby to address the situation in Egypt. The violations are clearly defined and form an undeniable body of evidence that would support the initiation of legal proceedings and/or immediate diplomatic engagement.

    As evidenced by the history of indifference and disregard to established international policies, an act that by itself reflects the contempt and obvious insolence of the Egyptian government towards established institutions and (membership) agreements, any delay or light-handed responses will only serve to undermine and make ineffectual the executive forces of their implementation.

    This is not to suggest that these efforts are not being carried through, but rather to further enunciate the merit and effectiveness of international collaboration in addressing global concerns. It is sufficient proof that the case of a relatively small minority in Egypt has gained the attention of so many people. Let it be absolutely demonstrated that the swift arm of justice can reach beyond any border or boundary.

  2. the only way that this is possible would be if the nations of the earth would abandon the obsolete concept of "national sovreignity" to "PLANETARY SOVREIGNITY" and INVOKE A PLANET WIDE CONSTITUTION OF RIGHTS......

    this event could accelerate the process....

    but it may take something worse to wake up all the Earth's inhabitants to the dire consequenses of DISUNITY.....

  3. To Anonymous:

    Absolutely. While there are presently international covenants that define the outlines of “Planetary Sovereignty”, the chief entities of authority and their system of implementation are still elements that require development into a mature and effective body. National sovereignty is not a threat by itself, unless it is practiced as an independent and disconnected component from its larger international assembly.

    Perhaps it is due to the immediate priority of divergent interests that so many horrific acts of inhumanity continue to take place that this sensible and necessary standard is delegated to be of secondary importance, however, the natural sequence of development will ultimately demand some form of international governance. The ability to ignore, or to allocate this principle as another form of “idealism” is rapidly losing ground as its necessity is becoming more and more critical to everyone’s security and quality of life.

  4. to r.a.:

    Now if you want to look at a historical example if the dangers of individual national sovereignty verses international sovereignty we need to look no further than the history of the United States of America and the evolution of it’s Constitution.
    At it’s beginning in the 1700's the early settlers were emerging from the remnants of the EUROPEAN DARK AGES which Plagued Europe for about 1000 years. The religious state RUTHELESSLY CRUSHED the individual light of the human spirit under the weight of religious DOGMA!!!!

    Sure the United States had its “Dark Ages” with Slavery and the displacement of the native inhabitants and lack of Civil Rights for non-European ancestors! BUT the Bottom line is that IT SURVIVED

    Now I see the Possibility of the USA returning to that if certain elements had their way
    For example watch “24” on FOXTV and you'll see my point...but I digress...

    The reason WHY the United States Survives is because of RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!! And the Individual STATES had to ABANDON STATES RIGHTS
    For the COLLECTIVE GOOD of the entire COUNTRY... Similarly if the PLANET EARTH is to Survive and REAP THE BENEFITS THAT Bahá'u'lláh
    Has promised all the countries need to abandon national sovereignty for planet wide sovereignty with a SIMILAR BILL OF RIGHTS for all HUMAN BEINGS... and these bill of rights are spelled out in the Bahá’í writings!!!!

  5. There is an immediate practical and burning issue of human rights violations committed against the Baha'is in Egypt at the hands of its government and courts.

    Peacefully working against injustice is the hallmark of the followers of Baha'u'llah in the glorious land that is Egypt!

    r.a. is rightfully asking that collective action in the face of undeniable evidence of human rights violations in Egypt is something that we not only should hope for but also invite.

    What individual action is called for by Baha'is in other parts of the world to directly lessen this injustice? Perhaps we can help the Baha'is in Egypt in their struggle for citizenship, civil, and human rights if we can have a practical set of suggestions for individual action by Baha'is outside of Egypt.

  6. You are all so correct! All the support and outrage should be followed by action resulting in some sort of resolution of this crisis. Words should not be an end in themselves, but a beginning to a change in behavior and attitudes. Unfortunately this process takes time and requires persistence and tenacity.

  7. In a "civilized society" when one person is engaged in an activity that is detrimental to the physical or mental/emotional well being of another individual and ALL FORMS of diplomatic avenues have been EXAUSTED to prevent person A from harming person B there is this hope that the local constabulary can be employed to physically remove person A from the general physical region of person B. UNFORTUNATELY it seems that within Egypt that avenue will not be available because the Government CHOOSES DELIBERATELY to ignore the CIVIL RIGHTS of Egyptian citizens!!

    The NEXT LEVEL will require INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE be applied to the Egyptian government to REVERSE its pattern of behavior

    If you remember back in the 1980's when SOUTH AFRICA was still practicing apartheid human right organizations were able to organize some forms of social and economic isolation to get South Africa to abandon apartheid. Sounds to me that this course of action may be necessary to convince Egypt to abandon this RELIGIOUS form of apartheid!!


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