Aug 31st, 2007
Man’s identity or rather his individuality is never lost. His reality as a person remains intact throughout the various states of his development. Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í writings
A couple of days ago I posted a document in Persian. Today it is Arabic. This one explains what is happening to the Baha’is in Egypt. It is another sad tale of persecution for the religious beliefs of a people who want nothing more than to serve humanity,
Or you can read this blog, in English: http://bahai-egypt.blogspot.com/
Here is the situation. Egyptians have to have ID cards and you have to state your religion on the card. Are you with me so far? One might already ask questions of why the card at all and why does one’s religion need to be on it?
The old cards used to be paper and one could simply write in one’s affiliation. No more. Egypt has now come into the 21st century. Its ID cards are computerized. Now one’s religious affiliation is printed on the card.
But here’s the catch! There are only three religions to choose from: Islam, Christianity or Judaism. If a person belongs to any other religion than these three, then he or she has to choose one of these named religions – that is, lie – or go without the card. Interestingly, the application form also clearly states that entering a false statement will lead to imprisonment and a heavy fine.
So what is a Baha’i – or a Hindu, Zoroastrian, Jain or Buddhist, for that matter – to do? Lie and you go to jail; tell the truth and you don’t get an ID card. Without an ID card, a person does not legally exist. Without an ID card, a person has no rights at all in his or her own country. Without an ID card a person cannot access any essential service. Without an ID card a person cannot get a birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate or divorce certificate. Without an ID card a person cannot get a passport. Without these documents, a person cannot be employed, cannot be educated, cannot get health care, cannot get treated in a hospital, cannot buy food from a state market. And I don’t suppose it will surprise you to learn that a person without an ID card cannot vote.
At the beginning of the 20th century, in 1924, Egypt became the first Muslim state legally to recognize the Bahá’í Faith as a religion separate from Islam. Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights says: `Egypt has joined the global march of the international movement of human rights towards its transformation into international legitimacy, and in the drafting of the principles of fundamental human rights and freedoms, set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, into binding international legal rules.’
Really. Must be near the end of the parade then.