Turning our eyes back to the situation of the Baha’is of Egypt: Ground-breaking Baha’i blog Baha’i Faith in Egypt is carrying a story from the Toronto Star which profiles an Egyptian Bahá’í blogger living in Canada, Samandary Hindawi. Hindawi maintains a mainly arabic-language blog (including some English posts) examining Egyptian media reports about the Baha’is and offering point-by-point refutations of the many accusations made towards Egyptian Baha’is. From the article:
When filling out a form for government identification, Egyptians are required to specify their religion. Hindawi said the Baha’is of Egypt have no problem with this, except that they are not allowed to state on the forms that they are Baha’i. Only Islam, Christianity and Judaism are recognized.
Baha’is in Iran also face discrimination, where denial of government identification cards has kept people from opening bank accounts, going to school or even accessing health care. Hindawi says similar problems are developing in Egypt as old identity cards expire and Baha’is are not able to replace them.
As well, he says, media outlets in the country have been unsympathetic, and even hostile, to the plight of the Baha’is, so Hindawi has begun to use his computer skills to do what he can from Toronto.
He has set up a blog to counter the accusations made against Baha’i in the country, regularly picking apart stories that appear in newspapers, magazines and television, where Baha’is are regularly accused of everything from immorality to spying.
“If you really want to hurt somebody in the Middle East, this is what you do—you smear them with treason and immorality,” he says as he attaches an Arabic language keyboard to his laptop computer.
As a Baha’i, he says, he can’t engage is a similar mud-slinging campaign against his faith’s critics, so instead offers counterpoints to the often skewed reporting in his native country. He keeps tabs on the reporting through a Baha’i friend in the U.S., who posts copies of stories own his own blog.
“I go specifically through the charges, one after another,” Hindawi says, describing how he counters the allegations made against Baha’i followers in the Egyptian press. “I correct the facts, historically, factually, systematically.”
Update: The Canadian Baha’i News Service mentions the Toronto Star article and many more in an overview of media impressions about the Egyptian crisis.