For five years, Raouf Hinidi has fought before Egypt’s courts for the right to issue his teenaged twins Nancy and Imad birth certificates.

In a few hours, Egypt’s Supreme Court would issue a final verdict on this ongoing case. Dr. Raouf kindly consented to a brief interview, the translation of which is below:

It would be traumatic for any child to experience such incomprehensible discrimination, so how have your children been coping with the events of the previous years?
No doubt that my twins Imad and Nancy felt a great injustice had been dealt to them and they harboured deep feelings of grief over the events of the past few years. They constantly wondered why it was possible for them to be issued birth certificates in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in their own country, Egypt. They were deeply affected and carried a strong fear of what the future holds for them.

But the family had an effective role in alleviating the situation for them and they now possess a strong will power and determination to prove their right to obtain identification papers, and they appreciate all the efforts that have been made in support of their cause, whether coming from civil society organizations, the independent press, or moderate individuals who understand the nature of our predicament.

Have you ever considered leaving Egypt ?
Before the issue was raised before court, I had often thought of travelling abroad, and indeed I spent several years living in the Gulf. But until the case is resolved before the court of law, I would not consider leaving Egypt. Our case has become one of public opinion, as it touches upon both citizenship rights and freedom of belief. And once the Egyptian judiciary issues a final verdict on the case, the civil rights of Baha’is will be restored.

How do Baha’i parents explain to their children the reason why they cannot enjoy the basic rights that their counterparts enjoy?
Baha’i families in general do not plant the seeds of hatred and pessimism in their children, but instead encourage them to fill their hearts with love and tolerance for all humanity. But at the same time, we all have to strive to secure our rights as citizens in an appropriate manner as Baha’is who love all humanity, and demand that the principle of justice is enacted. And our children’s strength of belief encourages and helps them in accepting these problems, and increases their fortitude in the face of life’s unfortunate events.

What in your opinion is the driving force behind the violent opposition to allowing Baha’is to list a dash in ID cards? After all, the demand is not for recognition of the Faith, but for the respect of civil rights.
Egyptian society is currently experiencing a growing trend of religious extremism, which unfortunately does not exemplify the spirit of religious tolerance, nor does it exemplify the spirit of Egypt that was characterized by love and tolerance for all. But on the other hand, there is an emerging trend that carries love and tolerance in its message, and God willing this group will prevail. It is necessary that awareness of this emerging trend increases amongst society in the upcoming period, so that the plague of intolerance does not spread even more.

No doubt, the past few years have been very stressful for you and your family. What has sustained you and kept you strong?
What has sustained me was my deep faith in my religion, as well as my conviction in the importance of religious tolerance. All humans have a right to worship and adhere to their religion of choice, and only God Almighty has the power to judge humanity. But due to confusion, people began to interfere and meddle with other people’s choices. I view my suffering as a badge of honour, and followers of all religions have had to endure a lot of suffering for their faith.

But we are hopeful that the future will be better, God willing, and please accept my sincere thanks for your attention and devotion to this issue. You and your counterparts are representative of the true spirit of the tolerance of Islam.