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EGYPT: A breakthrough for Bahais

Baha ullah shrine

This week, human-rights groups hailed a government directive acknowledging the right of the Bahai religious community to receive identification documents -- without having to choose another religion on the application -- as “a positive step that came very late.”

This decision "puts an end to the official policy that forced Egyptian Bahais to claim being either Muslim or Christian,” said a statement issued by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the human-rights group that spearheaded the years-long legal battle between Bahais and the government.

The interior ministry handed down its new directive last month following a court verdict that granted those of the Bahai faith the right to obtain identification cards and birth certificates without having to choose a religion. The court ruled that they could leave the religious-affiliation spot empty. The ruling was not subject to any further appeal.

The new directive became effective this week, according to the human-rights group's statement.

Bahais are expected to rush to government offices to apply for their identification documents under the new regulations.  

However, this breakthrough does not necessarily mean a higher level of tolerance. Recently, the houses of some Bahai families were set on fire  in an Upper Egypt province. Families fleeing the attacks were uprooted from their hometown.

— Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo

Photo: The shrine of Bahaullah, founder of the Bahai faith, in the Israeli city of Haifa. Credit: Nelson Ashberger / Bahai Media Bank

Comments () | Archives (2)

Zal's posting appears unrelated to this article. What does the Egyptian ID card issue have to do with Hezbollah? The ID card case has to do with an antiquated Egyptian government requirement that religion had to be on ID cards, but one could only enter Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. The Baha'i Faith is an independent world religion, the purpose of which is to unite all humanity in one universal cause and one common faith. Baha'is are followers of Baha'u'llah, the most recent of God's Manifestations, who reveal to us the Word and will of God.

This is a direct response to Iranians for their support of Hezbollah. Egypt is no beacon of freedom!


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