Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Persecuted Baha'is Banned From Education in Iran and Egypt

Considered apostates of Islam the Baha'is are severely persecuted and discriminated against in Iran, the country where it originated. Founded in the mid 1800s- with roots in Shia Islam- in Persia (as Iran was called at the time), believers are often jailed, and denied access to higher education. Those who have formed underground universities to educate their young have been arrested and imprisoned. Some even liken the treatment of Baha'is to apartheid in South Africa. Ironic that liberals around the world call Israel an apartheid state, which it is clearly not, but remain literally mum on the horrific treatment of the Baha'is in Iran. Their treatment is so bad, the U.S. House even passed a resolution condemning the persecution, not that the Iranian government cares.

But it's not just Iran that persecutes the Baha'is,  Egypt is ramping up its efforts to discriminate against them, as well.  Education Minister  Ibrahim Ghoneim  has said that Baha'is are not allowed to enroll in public schools in that country:

“The Constitution only recognizes the three Abrahamic religions,” Ibrahim Ghoneim told Akbar Al-Youm newspaper Saturday. “And as religion is a subject taught in schools, they do not meet the requirements for enrollment.”

Ghoneim had told Al-Sabah newspaper the same statement in November, when he was asked, “What is the position of the ministry concerning the children of Bahais? Do they have the right to enroll in a [ministry-affiliated] school?”

The minister responded by saying, “The state only recognizes three religions, and the Bahai faith is not among them. Thus their children do not have the right to register in government schools.”

But education isn't the only battle they are fighting in Egypt. According to Egypt Independent, they were also being denied birth certificates and ID cards, which are necessary for all citizens 16 and older.

These cards indicate religion, and are a must for any other formal transaction, such as applying for a driver’s license or a birth certificate, or opening a bank account.

In 2008, an Egyptian court granted Bahais the right to obtain ID cards without mentioning their religion, thereby ending four years of debate over that issue.

But tensions between Bahais and the state predate the ID card issue.

In 1960, the government confiscated their assets, including land on the banks of the Nile intended for building a house of worship, and sold them in a public auction. At that time, the government accused the Bahais of being loyal to Israel, which hosts the faith’s main place of worship.
An interesting note, the Baha'is are now headquartered in Haifa, Israel.

No comments: