Friday, November 30, 2012

Egypt's Minister of Education will forbid schooling of Baha'i children

According to a recent article in Egypt's Al-Sabah (Morning) newspaper, the current Education Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Ghoniem, who is also a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, stated that he would not allow admission of Baha'i children into public schools.

The interview was about his vision for the future of education in Egypt, and his intentions regarding the operations of his Ministry and the administrative structure of the educational system and his relations to the various authorities and systems relating to his administration.

When he was asked "what is the position of the Ministry regarding the 'sons' of Baha'is' right to admission to the Ministry's schools?" He responded, "The law of the nation, based on the civil status laws, is that it does not recognize more than three religions, Baha'i is not one of them, therefore their sons have no right to admission to the Ministry's schools."

When reading this, one is left in a state of shock, and clearly there is so much to say and do to prevent such hideous acts from ever coming to fruition, but one's first response is to try to point out the injustice and some of the obvious and flagrant facts:

1) depriving innocent children their right to education merely because of their belief, or their parents' belief in this day in a so-called "modern country" cannot happen without major consequences.
2) only using the word "sons" and completely ignoring the "daughters!" Don't they exist? Is this the new language to be expected of this esteemed educator who is charged with the education of Egypt's next generation? Where is gender equality? Or should we assume that "daughters" are exempt from this exceptional and enlightened vision of the Minister, and they will be permitted admission to his prestigious schools?