Thursday, July 10, 2008

Baha'is of Egypt Submerge into More Confusion

As time passes, the Baha'is of Egypt continue to find that they are in a state utter confusion. The recent (29 January) court decision has clearly supported their rights in becoming recognized for the purpose of obtaining their civil status documents.

According to the court's decision, which was recently supported by the State's Commissioner Council, they were granted the right to obtain identity documents and birth certificates. The ruling fell short of allowing them to enter their true religious identity on these documents, but instead it allowed them to leave it blank or enter [--] dashes. Even with this, not quite favorable compromise, the Baha'is have been content with such middle of the road solution to their dilemma.

To this day, not a single one of them has been able to obtain any documents. Even worse, more recently, their children have been denied admission to elementary schools. Their older children are now being subjected to further obstacles in their attempts to register for the final secondary education examinations required for entry into the university education system.

As recommended in yesterday's accompanying article--written in Al-Ahaly newspaper by Amina Al-Naqash, who explained the struggle of the Baha'is very clearly and objectively--the Baha'is cannot even obtain Egyptian passports (that do not identify the person's religion) because they have no ID cards, a requirement for processing passport applications.

In the meantime--as the status of the Baha'is of Egypt is approaching a crisis level because of their inability to obtain their basic citizenship rights--to make matters worse, the Ministry of Religious Endowment, headed by Mr. Zaqzouq, has just instructed all mosques in Egypt to launch an attack on the Baha'is. The second, attached, Rose Al-Youssef newspaper article, published today, proudly announces this fresh piece of news.

In brief, the article states that the Ministry has distributed to all Mosque leaders (Imams) a book called "Baha'iy'ah and the position of Islam," aimed at telling people to watch-out for those Baha'is who are out to get them and destroy Islam in the process.

The book, and the article, repeat the usual falsehood that has been propagated in Egypt (and Iran) about the Baha'is, that is: the usual unfounded propaganda about connections to Zionism, etc.... It accuses the Baha'is of being apostates, and explains how Sheikh Al-Azhar in 1947 had classified them as such, and had declared their marriages to be null and void. It even incites Egyptians "to warn their youth about the dangers of 'Baha'iy'ah' so that they don't fall for its entrapment."

Fascinating indeed.... One doubts, however, that Egyptians can be that gullible! On the other hand, if the audience at these sermons of Friday mosque gatherings is not well informed to begin with, or if they were easily influenced by this persuasive and superfluous talk because of their lack of education, this can easily lead to a state of public unrest and can disrupt "Public Order."

Why would the Ministry of Religious Endowment begin this hateful campaign at this juncture, exactly to coincide with the Ministry of Interior's--and the court's--attempts to find a just solution to the status of the Baha'is of Egypt? This is indeed very disturbing, and to put it mildly, irresponsible.


  1. Sadly, this only confirms Baha'u'llah's statemens about the leaders of religion who prevent the people from investigating the truth of the matter for themselves.

    The only thing that can come from these Friday attacks will be mischief and suffering. The Prophet, peace be upon Him, is ashamed.

  2. Ultimately, in time, those following these misguided leaders discover that they had been duped, which in turn undermines the leaders' credibility, and the truth becomes as clear as midday's sun.

  3. Bilo, can Bahais bury their people? Or do they face trouble in this area as well?

  4. Anonymous,
    A very good question. Baha'is in Egypt can bury their dead, but cannot obtain a death certificate because the deceased has no ID card. There are examples of family members who have been waiting for years without death certificates. This results in their inability to settle their inheritance and to manage their financial affairs.

  5. It is most interesting that the books were distributed by the Ministry to the mosques’ leaders... what a clever move! Indeed, in a religious setting, when the words come from the pulpit, they are ensconced into an aura of truth and "sanctity". The origin of the message that comes from the clergy’s mouth is – often intentionally – hidden, to the effect that a respectful believer (even an educated one) will most likely take the word as “gospel” even when it only reflects the clergy’s opinion… How easy indeed to forget how very few words ever came from God!

  6. You make a very good point. Additionally, they would not be doing this if they did not believe that the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are so attractive to their population and, in particular, to their youth. Why else would they be spreading so many lies and misrepresentations about this Faith?

    In doing so, however, they will, unintentionally, trigger the curiosity of those who know how to investigate independently and would end up with the exact opposite outcome they had wished for....

  7. I see that Machiavellianism is alive and well in Egypt

    The last time that this happened Tomás de Torquemada was interrogating Spanish residents who converted from Christianity to Islam..

    Now we fast forward 620+ years it is now Islamic Priests who are interrogating Muslims who either Accepted the Baha’i Faith or are attracted to the Baha’i Faith because of it positive message.

    Or Muslims who are repulsed by the activities of other Muslims and have decided to speak their minds and tell the world of the DASTARDLY activities of these Mullahs...

    Keep fighting the good fight Bilo!!!

  8. Terry,
    These events are a case study in how--in a relatively uniform and religiously rigid society--a nascant religion can be catapulted from obscurity into mainstream headlines and public discourse. There is a lot to be learned from this!


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