The American Public Radio International (PRI) recently reported about the Baha’i community in Egypt, following the implementation of the court ruling that allowed Baha’is to leave the religious affiliation field in their IDs blank.
PRI interviewed several members of the community, including Dr. Raouf Hindi, the Baha’i whose battle in court to allow his daughters to have ID cards resulted in the landmark ruling in January of 2008. He described the situation prior to the court ruling, when Baha’is had to function without official documents or list their religion as one of the three allowed (Islam, Christianity and Judaism), and fear possible jail time for lying in their documents.

The report also includes an interview with Dr. Basma Moussa, a Baha’i who described the many difficulties facing the community in Egypt. Dr. Moussa said that even after the court ruling and subsequent decree from the government, there have been numerous difficulties and delays in getting new IDs and birth certificates. Dr. Moussa reported that even those who have obtained these documents, are unable to be registered as married, since the government still refuses to recognize Baha’i marriages.

Another person interviewed was Amm Ahmed whose house, along with the houses of four other Baha’i families, was burned down in Sharoniyah, Sohag province this March. Amm Ahmed, his wife and six children were forced to flee their hometown and are now living on the outskirts of Cairo. Amm Ahmad, who was born Baha’i, worked as a Qari’ (reciter of the Qur’an) until he declared his Faith publicly. He was then fired from his job, and he and his wife were jailed for nine months based on unknown charges.

As this report shows, despite the relative improvement in the legal status of Baha’is in Egypt, many problems remain. The Baha’i Faith is not recognized by the Mubarak regime as a legitimate religion and its adherents are still harassed and discriminated against.