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Search for tag "Egypt"

from the chronology

date event locations tags see also
1819–1831 `Abdu'lláh Páshá becomes the governor of `Akká in 1819. In 1832 when the Egyptians take `Akká he surrenders and is taken to Egypt. He is freed in 1840 when the area reverts to Turkish rule. [BBD5] `Akká; Israel; Egypt `Abdu'llah Pasha; governor of `Akka
1831 – 40 Egyptian occupation of `Akká. [BBR202; DH128]
  • 'Abdu'lláh Páshá is the governor of 'Akká from 1919 to 1831. In 1832 when the Egyptians took the city he surrenders and is taken to Egypt. He is freed in 1840 when the area reverted to Turkish rule. [BBD5]
Akka; Israel Egyptian; occupation
1840 The British fleet take `Akká from the Egyptians. [BBR202] `Akká; Israel Britain; British take `Akka; Egyptians
1862 - 1863 Hájí Mírzá Haydar-`Alí and six other prominent Bahá'ís are arrested in Cairo for being Bahá'ís at the instigation of the corrupt Persian consul, Mírzá Husayn Khán. They are banished to Khartoum, where Haydar-`Alí will spend the next 9 years in confinement. [BBR257; BKG250; GBP178, Delight of Hearts 32-66] Egypt
1867 Sep - Aug 1868 In this period the extent of the Faith is enlarged, with expansion in the Caucasus, the establishment of the first Egyptian centre and the establishment of the Faith in Syria. [GPB176]

The greeting Alláh-u-Abhá' supersedes the Islamic salutation and is simultaneously adopted in Persia and Adrianople. [BKG250; GPB176]

The phrase ‘the people of the Bayán', which now denotes the followers of Mírzá Yahyá, is discarded and is supplanted by the term ‘the people of Bahá'. [BKG250; GBP176]

Caucasus; Egypt; Syria; Persia; Adrianople; Mirza Yahya; the people of the Bayan; the people of Baha; Allah-u-Abha
1868. c. 21 Jul Mírzá Abu'l-Qásim-i-Shírází is arrested in Egypt and money extorted from him. [BBR257–8; BKG243; GPB178] Egypt Mirza Abu'l-Qasim-i-Shirazi
1868. 23 Aug The steamer leaves Smyrna at night for Alexandria, which she gains on a morning two days later. [BKG265] Izmir (Smyrna); Turkey; Alexandria; Egypt Bahaullah, Life of; Bahaullah, Banishment of; Ships
1868 26 - 27 Aug The steamer carrying Bahá'u'lláh docks at Alexandria, early in the morning. [BKG265; RB3:6]
  • The exiles change ships, again onto an Austrian-Lloyd ship. [BKG265]
  • Several exiles go ashore to make purchases. One passes by the prison house where Nabíl is detained. Nabíl, watching from the roof of his prison cell, recognizes him. [CH65, BKG265, 267; RB3:6]
  • Nabíl and Fáris Effendi write letters to Bahá'u'lláh which are delivered by a Christian youth. The youth returns with a Tablet from Bahá'u'lláh and gifts from `Abdu'l-Bahá and Mírzá Mihdí. [BKG267–8; RB3:6–7]
  • The ship bearing Bahá'u'lláh and the exiles leaves Alexandria for Port Said. [BKG268]
Alexandria; Egypt Bahaullah, Life of; Bahaullah, Banishment of; Nabil-i-Azam; Faris Effendi
1879 `Abdu'l-Bahá travels to Beirut at the invitation of Midhat Páshá, the Válí of Syria. [BKG378]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá is still officially a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. BKG379]
  • Bahá'u'lláh reveals a Tablet marking the occasion. [BKG378–9; GPB243; TB227–8]
  • Among the important figures `Abdu'l-Bahá meets in Beirut are Midhat Páshá himself and Shaykh Muhammad `Abduh, the future Grand Muftí of Egypt. [BKG379]
Beirut Midhat Pasha; Shaykh Muhammad Abduh; Grand Mufti of Egypt
1882 11 Jul The British navy bombarded Alexandria, beginning or provoking fires that destroyed the city and forced a mass exodus of its population to the interior. In August-September the British invaded the country, restored Khedive Tawfiq to his throne, arrested 'Urabi, the Muslim modernist Muhammad 'Abduh, and other constitutionalists, and imposed a "veiled protectorate" on the country that differed only in name from direct colonial rule. The official British sources attempted to suggest that they had saved Egypt from a military junta allied to Islamic fanaticism, but more impartial observers have characterized the British invasion as the quashing of a grassroots democratic movement by an imperial power in the service of the European bond market. [BFA15, Wilmette Institute faculty notes] Alexandria; Egypt
1890 Ibrahim George Kheiralla (Khayru'lláh) becomes a Bahá'í in Cairo under the tutelage of `Abdu'l-Karím-i-Tihrání. [BFA1:19]
  • It is probable that he is the first Bahá'í from Syrian Christian background. [BFA19]
  • See BFA1:175 for pictures.
Cairo; Egypt Ibrahim George Kheiralla; Abdul-Karim-i-Tihrani.
1901 20 Aug Sultán `Abdu'l-Hamíd re-imposes the restrictions confining `Abdu'l-Bahá and His brothers within the walls of `Akká. [AB94; CB226–7; DH67–8; GBP264]
  • This is the result of mischief stirred up by Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí. [AB92–5; CB227; GBP264]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá is subjected to long interviews and detailed questioning. [AB95; GPB2645]
  • For the continued mischief and false allegations of the Covenant-breakers see CB227–30 and GBP265–7.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá suspends the visits of the pilgrims for a time. [GBP267]
  • He directs that all the Bahá'í writings in the possession of His family and secretaries be transferred to Egypt and has His mail redirected through an agent in Egypt. [GBP267]
  • For the work of `Abdu'l-Bahá whilst in confinement 1901–8 see CB231–44 and GBP267–9.
`Akka; Egypt Sultan `Abdu'l-Hamid; Mirza Muhammad-`Ali; Covenant-breakers
1910 10 Aug `Abdu'l-Bahá departs for Egypt, accompanied by two attendants, Mírzá Munír-i-Zayn and 'Abdu'l-Husayn. [BBRXXX; GPB280, AB134-135, Bahá'í News #12 16Oct1910 pg206]
  • See the Message from the Universal House of Justice dated August 29, 2010.
  • GPB280 says he departed in September. ABF indicates that it was the 29th of April, 1910.
  • After one month in Port Said He embarks for Marseille but turns back to Alexandria owing to His health. In a letter to Munírih Khánum He stated that His intention was to proceed to America or South Africa. [GPB280, ABF5]
  • He stays for a few days in the Victoria Hotel but then moves to a rented house in Ramleh, a suburb of Alexandria, where He stays for about one year. [GPB280, AB136]
  • Early in May of 1911 he moves to Cairo and takes up residence in nearby Zaytún. [AB138]
  • It was during this period that a sudden change occurred. Journalist who had previously been hostile towards Him took a new tone. [AB136]
  • The Russian poet Isabel Grinevsky, the Oriental Secretary of the British Agency, Ronald Storrs, Lord Kitchener, George Zaydán, eminent writer and celebrated editor as well as clerics, aristocrats, administrators, parliamentarians, men of letters, journalists and publicists, Arabs, Turks and Persians all seek out His company and meet Him. This period could be considered the first public proclamation of the Faith. [MRHK348, AB136-139]
  • See AB138-139 for a description of His triumphs during this period.
Ramleh; Egypt Isabel Grinevsky
1911 11 Aug The beginning of `Abdu'l-Bahá's first Western tour. [AB139]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá departs from Egypt with a party of four on the S. S. Corsica for Marseilles, Thonon-les-Bains and London. [AB139; GPB280; SBR22, SoW Vol2 no.10 (8 September, 1911) p7]
  • Subsequent research has shown that the ship was not the S.S. Corsica as stated in GPB280 but rather the L'Orenoque. See 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris page 6 note 47.
  • See BW1:130 for a list of cities He visits between 1911 and 1913.
Alexandria, Egypt; Marseilles; Thonon-les-Bains; London S. S. Corsica; First Western tour by `Abdu'l-Baha'
1911 2 Dec `Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Paris and returns to Egypt where He takes up residence in Rameh again. He passed the winter here and then embarked on His Second Western tour in March of 1912. [AB167; GPB280; SBR25] Egypt; Paris First Western tour by `Abdu'l-Baha'
1912 25 Mar `Abdu'l-Bahá sails from Alexandria on the S.S. Cedric to New York via Naples. [AB171; CWB281]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá prefers the slower S.S. Cedric to the Titanic, about to make her maiden voyage. [AB171]
Alexandria; Egypt S.S. Cedric; Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Ships; Titanic
1913 13 Jun - 2 Dec At some time during His stay in Egypt 'Abdu'l-Bahá meets with Sir Ronald Storrs who presents Him to Lord Kitchener. [BW10p192,194]
  • 'Abdu'l-Bahá presents him with a specimen of writing by Mishkín-Qalam and His own Persian pen box.
Egypt Sir Ronald Storrs; Lord Kitchener; Mishkin-Qalam
1913 1 Aug Shoghi Effendi, the Greatest Holy Leaf and the eldest daughter of `Abdu'l-Bahá arrive in Egypt. [AB401]
  • During this period Tamaddun'ul-Mulk (who had been in London during His first visit) attempts to divide the Bahá'ís of Tehran and Dr Amínu'llah Farid's increasingly erratic behaviour brought Him much suffering and sorrow. [AB402]
Ramlih; Egypt Greatest Holy Leaf; Covenant-breakers
1921 Following `Abdu'l-Bahá's passing Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí publishes far and wide that he is the successor to `Abdu'l-Bahá. [CB277]
  • The Egyptian Bahá'ís respond to this by publishing a refutation of his claims. [CB276; SW12, 19:294-5]
Egypt Mirza Muhammad-`Ali; successorship; `Abdu'l-Baha; Covenant-breakers
1924 Dec The National Spiritual Assembly of Egypt and the Sudan is formed, the first national body in Africa. [BBRSM121; GPB333]

Martha Root gives the first African radio broadcast about the Bahá'í Faith, in Cape Town.

Egypt; Cape Town. National Spiritual Assembly; Martha Root
1925 10 May Background Information

    "It was in the village of Kawmu's-Sa`áyidih, in the district of Beba, of the province of Beni Suef in Upper Egypt, that, as a result of the religious fanaticism which the formation of a Bahá'í assembly had kindled in the breast of the headman of that village, and of the grave accusations made by him to both the District Police Officer and the Governor of the province--accusations which aroused the Muhammadans to such a pitch of excitement as to cause them to perpetrate shameful acts against their victims--that action was initiated by the notary of the village, in his capacity as a religious plaintiff authorized by the Ministry of Justice, against three Bahá'í residents of that village, demanding that their Muslim wives be divorced from them on the grounds that their husbands had abandoned Islám after their legal marriage as Muslims." [GPB364-365]

A Muslim Court in Egypt pronounces the Faith to be an independent religion. [BBRSM173; BW2:31;BW3:49]
  • For text of the judgement see BW3:48–50.
  • This was ‘the first charter of liberty emancipating the Bahá’í Faith from the fetters of orthodox Islam’. [BA100-1, 120-123; BW3:110–11; GPBXII, 302, 365; CB306; PP319–20; UD65 WOB99, LoF57, SETPE1p102-104]
    1. "an attack which, viewed in the perspective of history, will be acclaimed by future generations as a landmark not only in the Formative Period of the Faith but in the history of the first Bahá'í century. Indeed, the sequel to this assault may be said to have opened a new chapter in the evolution of the Faith itself, an evolution which, carrying it through the successive stages of repression, of emancipation, of recognition as an independent Revelation, and as a state religion, must lead to the establishment of the Bahá'í state and culminate in the emergence of the Bahá'í World Commonwealth. [GPB364]
  • Subsequent to the court's decision...

      "the presentation of a petition addressed by the national elected representatives of that community to the Egyptian Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Justice (supported by a similar communication addressed by the American National Spiritual Assembly to the Egyptian Government, see BW4p166), enclosing a copy of the judgment of the Court, and of their national Bahá'í constitution and by-laws, requesting them to recognize their Assembly as a body qualified to exercise the functions of an independent court and empowered to apply, in all matters affecting their personal status, the laws and ordinances revealed by the Author of their Faith--these stand out as the initial consequences of a historic pronouncement that must eventually lead to the establishment of that Faith on a basis of absolute equality with its sister religions in that land." [GPB367]

      " it became a lever which the Egyptian Bahá'í community, followed later by its sister-communities, readily utilized for the purpose of asserting the independence of its Faith and of seeking for it the recognition of its government. Translated into several languages, circulated among Bahá'í communities in East and West, it gradually paved the way for the initiation of negotiations between the elected representatives of these communities and the civil authorities in Egypt, in the Holy Land, in Persia and even in the United States of America, for the purpose of securing the official recognition by these authorities of the Faith as an independent religion. " [GPB366]

  • See message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of Egypt dated 21 December 2006.
Kawmu's-Sa`áyidih; Beba; Beni Suef; Egypt Landmark
1934 The Declaration of Trust was legalized in Egypt as a result of the work of Montfort Mills and 'Abdu'l-Jalíl Bey Sa'ad. This greatly facilitated future transactions with the Government. [BW9p598] Egypt Montfort Mills; Abdul-Jalil Bey Saad
1934 In Egypt, a certain learned Shaykh el Kharashi attacked the Faith in a series of articles under the heading, "The Bahá'í Faith Is a Pleasing Illusion". 'Abdu'l-Jalíl Bey Sa'ad refuted his arguments with a series of fourteen articles under the heading "The Bahá'í Faith Is an Everlasting Truth". Having failed to counter 'Abdu'l-Jalíl's arguments the Shaykh and his associates appealed to the authorities to stop his articles on the grounds that they were anti-Muhammadan. The matter was raised to the Minister and then to Parliament where both parties were asked to stop publication. 'Abdu'l-Jalíl was transferred to a remote part of the country where, it was hoped that he would not be able to resume his activities. [BW9p598] Egypt Criticism and apologetics; Abdul-Jalil Bey Saad
1934 Dec The National Spiritual Assembly of Egypt and the Sudan incorporate. [GPB336]
  • This is the first national assembly in an Islamic country to secure civil recognition and the status of an independent religion. [BW6:24]
Egypt; Sudan; NSA
1939 21 Feb Background Information

    "riots which broke out with exceptional fury in Ismá'ílíyyih, when angry crowds surrounded the funeral cortege of Muhammad Sulaymán, a prominent Bahá'í resident of that town, creating such an uproar that the police had to intervene, and having rescued the body and brought it back to the home of the deceased, they were forced to carry it without escort, at night, to the edge of the desert and inter it in the wilderness." [GPB367-368]

The National Spiritual Assembly of Egypt had, in respect of the decision of the 10th of May, 1925 declaring the Báhá'í Faith to be non-Muslim, petitioned the government for the right to administer laws of personal status to the Bahá'í community according to its Bahá'í Laws affecting Matters of Personal Status. On the 29th of February, 1939, the Grand Muftí ruled that the Bahá'ís were not to be considered Muslims and had no right to be buried in Muslim cemeteries. Four plots of land were allocated to serve as cemeteries for the Bahá'í community in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and in Ismá'ílíyyih. Immediately following this decision the remains for Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl were transferred followed by the exhumation from a Christian cemetery in Cairo the remains of Lua Getsinger and subsequent re-interment in an adjacent plot. [GPB368-369]

Cairo; Alexandria; Port Said; Ismá'ílíyyih; Egypt Lua Getsinger; Mirza Abu'l-Fadl
1940 (in the decade) The first Egyptian Bahá’í summer school is held in the mid-1940s. Egypt summer school
1940 The Grand Muftí of Egypt states that Bahá’ís cannot be buried in Muslim cemeteries, forcing the authorities to allow the Bahá’ís to have their own.
  • The graves of Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl Gulpáygání and Lua Getsinger are transferred to the cemetery near Cairo.
Egypt Gulpaygani; Lua Getsinger
1941 'Abdu'l-Jalíl Bey Sa'ad translated The Dawn-Breakers into Arabic. His translation was published but because of the war it had to be referred to the Publicity Section of the government for approval. From that department it was passed to the high Muslim authorities who determined that it was against the Muslim faith and so should be condemned. The entire publication run was gathered for destruction and upon hearing this 'Abdu'l-Jalíl interviewed all the officers concerned and not only secured the release of the books but obtained official permissions to distribute them in Egypt and abroad. [BW-598-599] Egypt Dawn-Breakers; Abdul-Jalil Bey Saad
1942 25 Jun The passing of 'Abdu'l-Jalíl Bey Sa'ad who was, for many years, the president of the National Spiritual Assembly and a judge in the Civil Courts in Egypt. Through his sustained effort the Declaration of Trust was recognized as valid and legalized in 1934.
  • He made an important contribution in translating into Arabic. Among his accomplishments were The Dawn-Breakers, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, Laws of Personal Status and Rules of Procedure.
  • In 1941 he employed the Declaration of Trust as an instrument to induce the Ministry of Civil Defence to grant permission to build the Hazíratu'l-Quds in Cairo. While supervising this project in the intense heat he fell ill and died suddenly after an operation.
  • Shoghi Effendi appointed him to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God on the day of his passing. [MoC597-599]
Egypt In Memoriam; Hands of the Cause; Abdul Jalil Bey Saad; Declaration of Trust; Haziratu'l-Quds; Dawn-Breakers
1946 13 Dec The passing of Muhamman Taqí Isfahání. He had been born in Persia and was horrified by the behaviour of Mullá Huhammad Báqir (The Wolf) and Imám-Jum'íh who killed the two brothers Muhammad Hasan and Muhammad Hasan so he left for Egypt and encounter many believers on his way. He passed through Akka and met both Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'-Bahá.
  • His name is closely associated with the early progress of the Faith in Egypt. His house was the centre of activity and was were both Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl and Lua Getsinger spent their last days. He received 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His visit to Egypt. He was the chief member of the Publishing Committee and helped to translate many books into Arabic such as the Iqán and Some Answered Questions.
  • The Guardian announced his elevation to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God two days after his passing and donated a sum of money to be used for his tomb. He is buried in the Bahá'í Cemetery. [MoCxxii, BW11p500-502]
Egypt; In Memoriam; Appointment Hand; Muhamman Taqi Isfahani; Lua Getsinger; Mirza Abu'l-Fadl
1946 13 Dec Muhammad Taqíy-i-Isfahání passes away in Egypt. He was born in Iran. [BW11:500]
  • Shoghi Effendi names him a Hand of the Cause of God posthumously. [BW11:502]
  • For his obituary see BW11:500–2.
Egypt Muhammad Taqiy-i-Isfahani; Hand of the Cause; Hand appointed posthumously by Shoghi Effendi
1948 Ridván The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Egypt and Sudan launch a Five Year Plan (1948-1953). [Ruhi 8.2 p46, BBRSM158] Egypt; Sudan Teaching Plans; Five Year Plan
1951 Bahá’í women in Egypt are extended the right of membership on local spiritual assemblies. [MBW12]
  • Shoghi Effendi calls this ‘a notable step in the progress of Bahá’í women of the Middle East’. [MBW12]
Egypt LSA
1951 Ridván Several National Spiritual Assemblies-Britain, Egypt, India, Iran and the United States, join forces in their first collaborative teaching effort called the Africa Campaign (1951-1953). [Ruhi 8.2 p46, BBRSM158, MBW135-140]
  • See also UD261 for the significance of the Africa Campaign.
Britain; Egypt; India; Iran; USA Teaching Plans; Africa Campaign
1956 Apr Shoghi Effendi announces the extension to Egyptian Bahá’í women of the right to be elected to the national spiritual assembly and to participate in the national convention. [MBW96–7] Egypt NSA
1960 Aug All Bahá’í activity in Egypt is prohibited by Presidential Decree No 263 issued by President Nasser of the United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria). Bahá’ís are interrogated, arrested, fined and imprisoned and their property confiscated. [BBRSM174; MC228]
  • See message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of Egypt dated 21 December 2006.
Egypt religious persecution
1971 Following the prohibition of Bahá’í activity in Egypt in 1960, Egyptian Bahá’ís put forward a petition to the Supreme Constitutional Court seeking to overturn the presidential decree as unconstitutional. Egypt
1971 13 Oct Following the banning of Bahá’í activities in Egypt in 1960, Egyptian Bahá’ís submit a petition to the Supreme Constitutional Court asking for redress and for justice to be upheld. [BW15:173]
  • The opinion of one Mandatory of the government is that the 1960 decree is unconstitutional. [BW15:173]
Egypt religious persecution
1975 The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt decides that the 1960 decree of President Nasser banning all Bahá’í activities is constitutional and the application of the Bahá’ís for annulment of the decree is dismissed. [BW16:137]
  • Though nominally they have been guaranteed equal rights and religious freedoms under the 1971 Constitution, Bahá'ís, in practice, have retained a secondary legal status due to ongoing religious discrimination. Issues pertaining to personal status in Egypt are informed by religious rather than civil law and recognition pertains only to Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Aspects of religious life such as marriage, divorce and family relationships are not recognized by the state.
Egypt religious persecution
1975 Feb The Arab Boycott Office, at its meeting in Cairo, announces that the Bahá’í Faith has been placed on its blacklist. [BW16:136; BW17:78] Cairo; Egypt religious persecution
1985 23 Feb Forty–one Bahá’ís from various parts of Egypt are arrested, charged with offences against laws introduced in 1960 banning activities of Bahá’í institutions. [BW19:41, 283]
  • For an account of the event, its aftermath and the press campaign surrounding it see BW19:283–7.
Egypt religious persecution
1985 7 May The court hearings open on the cases of the Bahá’ís arrested in Egypt in February on charges of disregarding the 1960 ban on Bahá’í activity. [BW,9:285]
  • The cases are adjourned until 7 October to allow time for the defence lawyer to study the files numbering about a thousand pages. [BW19:285]
Egypt religious persecution
1985 7 Oct The court cases against the Bahá’ís arrested in Egypt for contravening the 1960 ban on Bahá’í activities, due to be heard today, are adjourned until 3 February 1986 owing to adverse and unfair reports appearing in today’s newspapers. [BW19:286] Egypt religious persecution
1986 21 Jan The Islamic Research Academy at the Azhar University in Cairo publishes in a number of newspapers a lengthy opinion about the Bahá’í Faith in advance of the court cases of Bahá’ís due to be heard in February. [BW19:286]
  • For a refutation of this statement by the Bahá’í International Community, see BW19:288–96.
Egypt religious persecution; BIC
2001 14 Jan Sixteen Baha'is were arrested in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag. The charges brought against them concerned their membership in the Bahá’í Faith. [Message from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada dated the 19th of January, 2001] Sohag; Egypt religious persecution
2003 in the year A fatwas was issued against the Bahá'í Faith by Al-Azhar, the prominent religious institution supporting the continued ban as apostates. Cairo,Egypt fatwa
2004 in the year The 2004 Circular 49/2004 issued by the Ministry of the Interior specifically instructed officials to refrain from providing cards to anyone other than Muslims, Christians and Jews. In particular, it effectively forced practicing Bahá’í into a limbo when registering for personal documents. As Egyptian citizens are required to include their religious affiliation and the Bahá’í faith is not officially recognized, unlike Islam, Christianity and Judaism, practicing Bahá’í were not able to secure official status. [Minority Right website] Egypt persecution
2004 19 Apr The passing of Mr Aziz Ismayn Yazdi in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 94. Aziz Yazdi lived in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Great Britain, Uganda, Kenya, Israel, and finally Canada. In 1968 he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors in Central and East Africa and was an inaugural member of the International Teaching Centre in Haifa. [BWNS297, BW'03-‘04pg239] Vancouver; Canada; Egypt; Syria; Iran; Iraq; Great Britain; Uganda; Kenya; Israel Aziz Ismayn Yazdi; Counsellors in Africa; International Teaching Centre
2006 4 Apr In late 2004 or early 2005 the government of Egypt introduces a computerized identity card system that locks out all religious classifications except Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Baha'is are unable to get ID cards and other documents essential to day-to-day life. Thus begins an epic struggle for Bahá'í appellants to win the right to have their religious affiliation properly identified on goverment documents.

The issuance of birth certificates is at the heart of the first case, which concerns 14-year-old twins Imad and Nancy Rauf Hindi. Their father, Rauf Hindi, obtained birth certificates that recognized their Baha'i affiliation when they were born but new policies require computer generated certificates and the computer system locks out any religious affiliation but the three officially recognized religions. Without birth certificates, the children are unable to enroll in school in Egypt.

A lower administrative court rules that the couple should be identified as Baha'is on official documents, a decision that, if upheld, will essentially overturn the government's policy of forcing citizen to choose from only the three officially recognized religions -- Islam, Christianity and Judaism -- on state documents. The lower court's ruling provokes an outcry among the fundamentalist elements in Egyptian society, particularly Al Azhar University and the Muslim Brotherhood who object to any kind of recognition of the Baha'i Faith as a religious belief. The case gains international attention in the news media and from human rights groups and sparks a wholesale debate in newspapers and blogs throughout the Arab world over the right to freedom of religion and belief. [BWNS454, Minority Right website]

Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2006 15 May The government appeals the lower court's ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court and the hearing focuses on procedural issues concerning the case. The emotions stirred by the case are evident at the initial hearing. Lawyers and other individuals seated in the courthouse interrupt and heckle defense counsel each time they try to address the court. They yell insults at them, calling them 'infidels' and threatening them with physical violence during the hearing. Because the Court is unable to impose order in the courtroom, the Court briefly adjourns the hearing before resuming the proceedings in camera. When the hearing is adjourned courthouse security officers refuse to protect lawyers who are surrounded by members of the crowd, verbally threatening, pushing, shoving and not allowing them to walk away from the area.

After the government's appeal of the lower court's ruling a court hearing is set for 19 June, however, the Court commissioner's advisory report is not submitted in time for the hearing and the hearing is further postponed until the 16th of September. [BWNS454, BWNS456]

Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2006 16 Sep The Supreme Administrative Court again postpones its hearing on the government appeal of a lower court's ruling upholding the right of a Baha'i couple to have their religion properly identified on government documents. In a brief hearing the Court continues the case until 20 November in order to await the completion of an advisory report from the State Commissioner's Authority on the case. [BWNS480] Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2006 20 Nov Lawyers representing a Baha'i couple seeking to have their religious affiliation properly identified on state documents present arguments at a full hearing before the Supreme Administrative Court. The hearing is short and the court adjourns until 16 December when a judgment in the case is expected. [BWNS492] Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2006 16 Dec Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court rules against the right of Baha'is to be properly identified on government documents. There are now two cases related to this issue; the first involves a lawsuit by the father of twin children, who is seeking to obtain proper birth certificates for them and the second concerns a college student who needs a national identity card to re-enroll in university.

The decision upholds current government policy, a policy which forces the Baha'is either to lie about their religious beliefs or give up their state identification cards. The policy effectively deprives Egyptian Baha'is and others of access to most rights of citizenship, including education, financial services, and even medical care. [BWNS492]

Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2006 21 Dec A message is sent from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of Egypt regarding the recent Supreme Administrative Court decision with respect to their right to hold identification cards. [BWNS499]
  • For a the full text of the message from the Universal House of Justice 21DEC2006 in English.
Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2007 12 Nov Human Rights Watch and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights release a report that states that Egypt should end discriminatory practices that prevent Baha'is and others from listing their true religion on government documents. The 98-page report, titled Prohibited Identities: State Interference with Religious Freedom, focuses on problems that have emerged from Egypt's practice of requiring citizens to state their religious identity on government documents but then restricting the choice to Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. "These policies and practices violate the right of many Egyptians to religious freedom," states the report. [BWNS587]
  • See HRW.org for the full text of the report.
Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2007 25 Dec The two cases, the first by the father of twin children who is seeking to obtain proper birth certificates for them and the second by a college student who needs a national identity card to re-enroll in university, were set for "final judgment" by the Court of Administrative Justice in Cairo but the hearings were unexpectedly postponed until 22 January 2008. The court indicated it is still deliberating on the cases. On 22 January it was announced that the cases had been continued until 29 January. [BWNS597] Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2008 29 Jan In a victory for religious freedom, a lower administrative court ruled in favour of two lawsuits that sought to resolve the government's contradictory policy on religious affiliation and identification papers. The Court of Administrative Justice in Cairo upheld arguments made in two cases concerning Baha'is who have sought to restore their full citizenship rights by asking that they be allowed to leave the religious affiliation field blank on official documents. a lower court again ruled in their favor. Two Muslim lawyers filed an appeal. [BWNS600] Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2009 16 Mar The Supreme Administrative Court removes any grounds for preventing Baha'is from receiving proper official identity documents by dismissing an appeal by two Muslim lawyers thus clearing the way for an end to years of deprivation for Egyptian Baha'is and opening the door to a new level of respect for religious privacy in Egypt. The appeal sought to prevent the implementation of a lower court ruling last year that said Baha'is can leave blank the religious classification field on official documents, including all-important identity cards and birth certificates. [BWNS703] Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2009 17 Apr With respect to the Supreme Administrative Court decision of 16 March 2009, the decree, dated 19 March, 2009 is signed by General Habib al-Adly, Egypt’s Interior Minister, and published on 14 April in the official gazette. According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), which represented Baha’is in many of the recent court cases concerning religious affiliation on government documents, the decree amends the Implementing Statutes of Egypt’s Civil Status Law of 1994. It specifically instructs officials to place a dash (--) before the line reserved for religion in the official documents of citizens who can show that they, or their ancestors, were followers of a religious belief other than the three recognized by the state. [BWNS707] Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2009 8 Aug Two young Egyptian Bahá'ís, Imad and Nancy Rauf Hindi, received the new identity cards. They had been at the center of a court case over religious identification on government documents. Their new computerized ID cards show a dash instead of their religion. They are the first such cards to be issued following a ruling by the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court of 16 March, 2009 that cleared the way for the government to issue documents without reference to religious identity. For nearly five years, since the government began introducing a computerized identity card system that locked out all religious classifications except Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, Bahá'ís have been unable to get ID cards and other documents essential to day-to-day life in Egypt. [BWNS707, BWNS726, BWNS499, BWNS495, BWNS492, BWNS480]

The Bahá’í secured the right to an identification card, however, legislation still refused to recognize the validity of the Bahá’í faith and maintained their secondary status within Egypt. Marriage and Bahá’í personal law were still not acknowledged by the state: married Bahá’í who refused to be issued documentation that lists them incorrectly as ‘single’ still reportedly faced difficulties in setting up a bank account and other basic freedoms. This official ‘invisibility’ had also had a profound impact on their ability to participate in civil and political life. Bahá’ís were also the target of hostility towards the end of Mubarak’s regime and in the wake of his resignation, including the torching of several Bahá’í homes where the perpetrators remain unpunished. {Minority Rights website]

Cairo; Egypt Egypt-religious affiliation on government documents
2011. 25 Jan January 25th marked the beginning of the revolution in Egypt where millions of protesters from all socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The security of the Bahá'ís during this period of unrest remained an issue. In February 2011, Bahá’í homes in Shouraneya were again set on fire, with some reports alleging the involvement of state security officers in the attack. Salafi leaders (an ultra-conservative reform branch within Sunni Islam) also continued to agitate against Bahá’í as a threat to national stability. Shouraneya, Egypt Salafi
2011 Apr In an open letter to their fellow citizens, the Bahá'ís of Egypt offer some advice regarding the future of their nation. [BWNS817] Egypt open letter
2012 Jun After the January 25th revolution against Mubarak and a period of rule by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt through a series of popular elections with Egyptians electing Islamist Mohamed Morsi to the presidency in June 2012.

On 3 July 2013, Morsi was deposed by a coup d'état led by the minister of defense General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The situation of Egypt’s Bahá’í community remained uncertain. The prescriptions of the 1960 Presidential Decree, despite the revolution, had yet to be annulled. This meant that despite the 2009 lifting of the restrictions on identification documents, the Bahá’í Faith still had not received actual recognition as a religion and Bahá'í were frequently subjected to public vilification. It was a period of extreme unrest. It is estimated that between Sisi's overthrow of Morsi and the 2014 presidential elections, an estimated 20,000 activists and dissidents were arrested by the police under the interim government. El-Sisi went on to become Egypt's president by popular election in 2014.

Egypt Mohamed Morsi; General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
2014. 28 May In the presidential election in Egypt, former Egyptian defence minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected with 97% of the vote according to government sources. The subsequent 2014 Constitution of the Sisi government, while guaranteeing the ‘inviolable’ right of freedom of religion, extended this only to Islam, Christianity and Judaism – meaning that Bahá’i were still prohibited from many basic freedoms, such as practicing their religious laws and constructing places of worship. Though Bahá’í representatives lobbied during the constitutional drafting processes to expand religious freedoms to their community, this did not occur.

In December 2014, a public workshop was held by the Ministry of Religious Endowments to warn of the dangers of the spread of the Bahá’i faith in Egypt.

Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

from the main catalogue

  1. `Abdu'l-Bahá in Egypt: September 1910, by Julio Savi, in Lights of Irfan, 14 (2013). Historical and political background of Abdu'l-Baha's various travels to Egypt, discussion of the people he met, and press coverage. [about]
  2. Abdu'l-Bahá's Year in Egypt: A Compilation of Eyewitnesses, in Witnesses to Babi and Bahá'í History, vol. 10 (2008). Annotated excerpts from Baha'i News. Includes 8-page overview of Abdu'l-Baha's visit to Egypt, his companion and diarist Ahmad Sohrab, and the trip's press coverage. [about]
  3. 'Abdul Baha in Egypt, by Abdu'l-Bahá and Mirza Ahmad Sohrab (1929). A detailed record of three months of Abdu'l-Bahá's time and activities in Egypt, as recorded by his then-companion and secretary. Includes translations of his talks. [about]
  4. Bahá'í country notes: Egypt, by Graham Hassall (1997). History of Baha'is in Egypt from 1860s to 1961 referencing early merchant settlements, Abdu'l-Baha's visits, the Alexandria, Cairo, Port Said and national communities plus persecutions, court decisions, and the Presidential anti-Baha'i decree 263 of 1960. [about]
  5. Bahá'í Communities by Country: Research Notes, by Graham Hassall (2000). Brief notes on the history of Baha'i activities and the dates of NSA formation in Africa, China, Australia, and elsewhere. [about]
  6. Deriding Revealed Religions?: Bahá'ís in Egypt, by Johanna Pink, in ISIM Newsletter (2002). Shift in Egyptian public perception of the Baha'i Faith from an Islamic reform movement to an independent religion. [about]
  7. International Bahá'í Library and the Library of Alexandria, The, by William P. Collins, in Scriptum, 5 (1996). Similarities between the ancient Library of Alexandria and the contemporary Baha'i archive. [about]
  8. Letters and Essays, 1886-1913, by Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani (1985). Treatises of "the greatest and most learned of all Bahá'í scholars" about Alexander Tumansky; on meeting Abdu'l-Baha; and on the meaning of angels, resurrection, civilization, tests, angels, holy spirit, and the saying "Knowledge is twenty-seven letters." [about]
  9. Rashid Rida on the Bahá'í Faith: A Utilitarian Theory of the Spread of Religions, by Juan Cole, in Arab Studies Quarterly, 5:3 (1983). Rida developed a theory of missionary work characterized by both modern pragmatic and traditionalist Islamic aspects: a sociology of the spread of religion in terms of organizational efficiency avoids talk of intrinsic "truth" or supernatural agency. [about]
  10. References to the Bahá'í Faith in the U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, by United States Department of State (1991). Excerpts from the State Department's annual compilation of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on discrimination against the Baha'i Faith and persecution of its adherents in twenty countries. [about]
  11. Situation of the Bahá'ís in Egypt, by Bahá'í International Community (2007). Oral Statement of the Bahá’í International Community to the Human Rights Council (6th Session of the Human Rights Council), Geneva, Switzerland. [about]
  12. Ten Plagues of the Exodus in Light of the Bahá'í Writings, The, by JoAnn M. Borovicka, in Lights of Irfan, 16 (2015). The historical accuracy of Exodus is not essential to an appreciation of it; scholarship regarding the historicity of the Exodus story in general and the ten plagues specifically; contemporary significance of the metaphor of the plagues. [about]
 
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