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Search for tag "Persecution, Egypt"

from the chronology

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1862 - 1863 Hájí Mírzá Haydar-`Alí and six other prominent Bahá'ís were arrested in Cairo for being Bahá'ís at the instigation of the corrupt Persian consul, Mírzá Husayn Khán. They were banished to Khartoum, where Haydar-`Alí spent the next 9 years in confinement. [BBR257; BKG250; GBP178, Delight of Hearts 32-66] Egypt Haji Mirza Haydar-Ali; Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
1925 10 May 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]

    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]

  • See message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of Egypt dated 21 December 2006.
Kawmus-Saayidih; Beba; Beni Suef; Egypt Recognition; Islam; Interfaith dialogue; Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Arrests; 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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Bans; Persecution; Petitions
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Bans; Persecution; Court cases
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Bans; Persecution; Human rights
1975 Feb The Arab Boycott Office, at its meeting in Cairo, announced that the Bahá’í Faith had been placed on its blacklist. [BW16:136; BW17:78] Cairo; Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; 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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Bans; 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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Bans; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases
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 and "Far Stretching River".
Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Bahai International Community; Criticism and apologetics
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
2003 in the year A fatwa was issued against the Bahá'í Faith by Al-Azhar, the prominent religious institution supporting the continued ban as apostates. Cairo; Egypt Fatwa; Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Bans; Persecution
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’ís were not able to secure official status. [Minority Right website] Egypt Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Human rights; BWNS
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution
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 Persecution, Egypt; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; History (general)
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 Opposition; Persecution, Egypt; Persecution; Human rights; History (general); Constitutions

from the main catalogue

  1. Cold Winter in North Africa, A: The Case of the Bahá'ís in Egypt, by Naseem Kourosh, in International Law News, 41:3 (2012). Contemporary history of the Egyptian government's refusal to issue identification cards to Baha'is. [about]
  2. Commentary on the Azhar's Statement regarding Bahá'ís and Bahá'ísm, by Mohsen Enayat, in Bahá'í Studies Review, 2:1 (1992). Response to an official 1986 pronouncement on the Faith by this prominent Egyptian university. [about]
  3. Egypt, Bahá'í Community of, and Religious Identity, by Universal House of Justice (2006). Message to the Bahá'ís of Egypt in the wake of a Supreme Administrative Court decision in Cairo that upheld a discriminatory government policy regarding Bahá'ís and their identification cards. In both English and Arabic. [about]
 
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