Letter of Egyptian Bahá’ís to the Minister of Justice
13 May 2006
His Excellency the Minister of Justice Counselor Mahmúd Abú’l-Layl
We salute you with kind greetings, utmost respect and appreciation.
We have read in the newspapers that you have requested the Counsel of Islamic Studies at the revered al-Azhar to provide its opinion on the subject of the legitimacy of the Bahá’í religion in the aftermath of the ruling of the High Administrative Court, case number 24044 of judicial year 58.
We would first like to express to you our thanks and appreciation for your effort and concern to obtain answers for the questions presented to you as the Minister of Justice as a result of the court ruling.
It is with hope and anticipation that we aspire to see the well reputed Counsel of Islamic Studies at al-Azhar study the Bahá’í religion. What we hope for is that the Counsel’s study of the Bahá’í religion would be based on facts and not on widely-spread fiction and erroneous notions about the religion. Should the Counsel of Islamic Studies desire assistance, the Bahá’í International Community is happy to provide a summarized introduction on the Bahá’ís religion to facilitate its study.
We have enclosed a copy of the letter written by the International Bahá’í Community to the revered al-Azhar for your information, although we have not yet heard whether al-Azhar will accept our offer.
We realize that the Administrative Court’s decision is based on adherence to, respect of and consideration for the rule of law as stated in our country’s constitution and the Universal Declaration for Civil and Political Rights and has no connection with ruling on the matter of the legitimacy of religion. Furthermore, the decision is contingent upon the letter of the law, which stipulates the inclusion of the religion of the owner of the identification documents required by the government even if the religion is not recognized.
As you know, many Muslims live in countries where the majority of their residents do not recognize the divine origin of Islam. Those Muslims aspire to obtain their rights under the laws of those countries and international covenants related to human rights. All what the Bahá’ís of Egypt are asking for is to be given citizenship rights and not to be noted falsely and fraudulently in our identification documents. Our ardent hope is that you as the Minister of Justice will be trusted to execute the court’s ruling in letter and spirit.
Your Excellency, please accept our good wishes and respect,
• Prof. Amín Abú’l-Futúh Battáh – Former general manager, Ministry of Social Affairs
• Prof. Dr. Labíb Iskandar Hanná – Prof., Engineering College, University of Cairo
• Dr. Samírah Hasan ‘Alí – Pharmacist
• Associate Prof. Dr. Basmah Gamál Muhammad – Associate Prof., College of Dentistry, University of Cairo
• Engineer Hishám Sa‘d El-Sayyid Mustafá– General Manager for Bridges, Egyptian Contracting Company
• Engineer Wafá’ Hindí – Executive Manager, Private Sector
Copy of a letter from the Bahá’í International Community addressed to the Reverent Imam Dr. Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, President of the Counsel for Islamic Studies and Sheikh of revered al-Azhar, dated 28/04/2006 (original in English with Arabic translation).
• His Excellency President Husni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
• Prof. Dr. Ahmad Nadhif, Prime Minister
• General Habib al-Adili, Minster of Interior
• Mr. Mahmood Abo El-Gheit, Minister of Foreign affairs
• Prof. Dr. Ahmad Fathi Soroor, President (Speaker) of Parliament
• (Mrs.) Dr. Zeinab Redwan, Deputy Speaker of Parliament
• Rev. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, President of Counsel of Islamic Studies and Sheikh Al-Azhar
• Rev. Sheikh Ibráhím ‘Atá Al-Fayyúmí, Secretary General, Counsel of Islamic Studies
• Prof. Dr. Butrus Ghali, President of the National Counsel for Human Rights
• Prof. Dr. Ahmad Kamal Abul-Magd, Deputy (President), National Counsel for Human Rights