Baha’is’ very existence may soon be illegal in Egypt, under Islamic law. By contrast, the country that has allowed Baha’is to worship freely and maintain their headquarters in peace and security is none other than Israel. If the jihadists ever get their way regarding Israel, that will not continue. “Egypt’s Baha”is face more attacks from Salafists,” by Joseph Mayton for Bikya Masr, February 19:
CAIRO: Egypt’s small Baha”i Faith community has faced attack upon attack in its less than 200 year existence in the country. The latest has come from prominent ultra-conservative Salafist leader Abdel Moneim al-Shahat, who called on the government to “protect itself” from the faith by denouncing the faith and calling its followers “blasphemous.”
“We will prosecute the Bahai’s on charge of treason,” said Shahat via telephone on Dream 2″²s al-Haqiqa TV program.
“We as Salafists refuse to deal with Baha”is, because they do not exist by virtue of their faith.”
According to Shahat, Bahai’s are not entitled to rights under Islam because they are not recognized by the religion, and any new constitution should not include an amendment protecting their rights.
He cited previous Al-Azhar — the Sunni Islamic world’s most prestigious institution — rulings that said Baha”is are blasphemous.
The world’s newest monotheistic faith, and one that has been oppressed vehemently in Islamic countries, including Egypt, where in the early years of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Baha”i temples and places of worship were closed, and the Baha”i cemetery in the country largely destroyed, continues to face such attacks by the likes of Shahat and others in the country.
In 2009, the Egyptian Baha”i community hoped they had ushered in a new era for identification cards in the country after the first batch of the religious minority was granted new ID”s without a religion written on them. The move came after years of struggling against the state in order not to choose one of the “big three” religions Judaism, Christianity or Islam.
The new ID”s came months after an Egyptian court granted the Baha”i community the right not to list a false religion on the paperwork, something the small minority community had been pushing for in recent years after discrimination has been reported.
The lawsuit against the government was filed by a married couple, Hussam Izzat Musa and Ranya Enayat Rushdy, who wanted to add their daughters to their passports, which had listed the Baha”i Faith as their religion.
The couple won the initial case against the government, which granted them the ability to register their children in schools, receive marriage licenses, birth certificates and proclaim their faith on state identification cards.
“We were ecstatic about the case that allowed our community to be fully accepted Egyptians,” one married Baha”i man, after the initial court victory, told Bikyamasr.com.
His optimism was short-lived, however, as the government appealed and won, leaving the community struggling to find a place in Egyptian society….