Posts Tagged ‘blogger’

Egypt: A Baha’i Blogger’s Take on the Election

13-12-2011

monday, December 12, 2011Egypt: A Baha’i Blogger’s Take on the Elections

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Elections 2011.

The Baha’is of Egypt number perhaps only 2,000 people, but over the years the community has faced discrimination and sometimes hostility.

The Baha’i faith was recognised as an independent religion in Egypt in 1925, but in 1960 it was banned by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and all Baha’i properties and assets confiscated, although individuals remained free to practise their religion. Egyptian Baha’is have had to fight for their civil status, such as the right to have ID cards on which they are not forced to choose their religion as either Muslim, Christian or Jewish. They also campaigned unsuccessfully for the recognition of Baha’i marriages.

undefinedBaha’i symbol known as The Greatest Name. (Wikimedia Commons)

Baha’i homes have been set on fire on more than oneoccasion, and in 2001 some Baha’is were arrested for “insulting religion”. Recently a Salafist leader statedthat if Salafists took power they would not allow Egypt’s Baha’is to hold religious festivals or mark their religion on national ID cards.

Baha’i teachings emphasise unity and the healing of divisions, and prohibit Baha’is from engaging in partisan politics. Therefore, Baha’is may not join political parties or campaign for candidates in elections.

Global Voices Online has spoken to Wael, who blogs at Living in Egypt without ID, about the current situation of the Baha’is in Egypt and the changes that the current elections (stage two of which starts on December 14) might bring.

Global Voices (GV): What is the current situation for the Baha’is in Egypt? What are the main problems the community faces?

Wael speaks to Global Voices Online about the current situation of the Baha’is in Egypt and the changes that the current elections might bring.

Global Voices Online has spoken to Wael, who blogs at Living in Egypt without ID, about the current situation of the Baha’is in Egypt and the changes that the current elections (stage two of which starts onDecember 14) might bring.
Global Voices (GV): What is the current situation for the Baha’is in Egypt? What are the main problems the community faces?
Wael: As you know, identification documents, especially identity cards and birth certificates, are mandatory for all Egyptians and necessary to obtain access to education, employment, family life, registration and immunization of children, as well as most basic daily activities such as opening a bank account, obtaining a driver’s license, receiving pension or inheritance, or engaging in business transactions.
Most of the Egyptian Baha’is do not have official IDs to allow them to attain any of the above. In addition, they have been barred from holding government jobs, and that situation has not changed as yet. Baha’i marriages are still not recognized in Egypt, and that results in difficulties in obtaining birth certificates for Baha’i children.

(more…)