id cards: egypt tightens noose on baha’is

Baha’i blog Baha’i Faith in Egypt reminds us that time is swiftly running out for the Baha’is of Egypt: the new computerized Egyptian identification cards—which allow access to all forms of official government transactions, and which, coincidentally, are impossible for Baha’is to obtain—will soon be mandatory for all Egyptian citizens; inability to produce such an identification card entails a five-year prison sentence. That’s right—soon, every Baha’i in Egypt, whether their families have lived there for five, ten, fifty or a hundred years, will become non-citizens, illegal aliens in their own land. Never mind the property they own, or even the fact that they will still be expected to continue paying taxes to a state that will refuse to grant them the rights of citizenship!

So far, official rationales for this illogical policy have been based not on facts and arguments, but on prejudice, intolerance and slander. An article published in Al-Ahram Weekly, noted that the 16 December 2006 ruling of Egypt’s Supreme Court (blogged here) was “prejudiced by religious scholars and [institutions]”, and that the court “didn’t respond to a single legal argument by the defence”, instead basing its ruling “solely on a public rejection of the Baha’i faith”. The Egyptian government, backed by the Supreme Court ruling, has actively pursued a policy of religious discrimination akin to the campaign of “cultural cleansing” applied against the Baha’is of Iran. Without intervention, Egyptian Baha’is will soon be regarded as non-persons, ineligible for basic rights such as health care, education, financial security (including pensions and bank accounts), and recognition of marriages, births and deaths.

If you’re interested in contacting the Egyptian Embassy in Canada to express yourself about the cultural cleansing of Baha’is in Egypt, here’s some useful contact information:

Egyptian Embassy in Canada
454 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa, Ontario KIN 6R3
Tel: (613) 234-4931 / (613) 234-4935
Embassy email: egyptemb@sympatico.ca
Ambassador’s email: egypt4931@rogers.com

Egyptian Consulate, Montreal
3754 Cote des Neiges
Montreal, Quebec H3H 7V6
Tel: (514) 937-7781 / (514) 937-7782

You can also find international embassy and consulate information online.

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