EXISTENCE DENIED”, A PHOTO SERIES DOCUMENTING THE SHADOWY EXISTENCE OF BAHAI’S IN EGYPT


نشرت الشبكة الاسلامية للدفاع عن حقوق البهائيين  مايلى

Documentary photographer Quamrul Abedin visited Egypt to photograph the lives of Baha’i youth living in Egypt, where their faith is not recognized by the government. The blurry, out-of-focus photos portray a life of living in the shadows and the confusion that characterizes the lives of religious minorities in the Middle East. The faces of Abedine’s subjects are either over-exposed or hidden in darkness, conveying a loss of selfhood as their right to religion is denied.

One of the photographs depicts an identification card recognizing its Baha’i owner as “Muslim”. The image highlights Egypt’s identification card controversy, a program instituted in the ’90s which required Egyptians to have an ID card to process identification documents like passports and marriage licenses. Because the Egyptian government legally recognized the three major world religions — Islam, Christianity, or Judaism — Baha’i Egyptians were prohibited from listing their own under “Faith”. In 2011, a court decision gave Baha’is the right to proclaim their own religion but implementation of the law has been difficult. Additionally, by proclaiming their faith on the ID card, Baha’is would effectively be putting a target on their back for other Egyptian laws that exclude Baha’is from civic participation. Though their religion prohibits them from doing so, many Baha’is are forced to identify as “Muslim” to protect themselves from persecution. (In fact, the new Minister of Education has suggested that Egypt’s current laws would ban Baha’i children from attending Egyptian schools,)

Check out the entire series here.

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