Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Egyptian Baha’is denied right to carry valid ID cards

In an ominous sign for religious freedom in the Arab world, an Egyptian court ruled on December 16th that Baha’is would not be allowed to list their religious affiliation on official identifying documentation. The verdict, reported by AFP on the same day, puts additional limitations on the rights of this persecuted ethno-religious minority.

Judge Sayed Nofal sought to validate the supreme administrative court decision. “The constitution promotes freedom of belief for the three recognized heavenly religions and they are Islam, Christianity and Judaism,” Nofal said. He went on say, “As for the Baha’is, Islamic jurists have all agreed that the Baha’i faith is not one of the three recognized religions.” Nofal also called Baha’is “apostates of Islam.”

The verdict casts serious doubts on the ability of Bahai’s to access basic services. Egyptian law requires citizens to carry valid ID cards at all times and the documents are needed to do virtually anything, from applying for employment to enrolling children in school.

The ruling was widely denounced in the international human rights community. According to Bani Dugal, a Baha’i representative with the United Nations, the verdict “threatens to make non-citizens of an entire religious community.”

For the full article, click here.


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