Introduction

Once among the most vibrant and active minority religious communities in the Middle East, the Bahá’ís of Egypt are now facing an upsurge of religious persecution and hatred that aims to eradicate the community as a coherent entity.

Of immediate concern is a Government decision, now being implemented, to computerize the national identity card system in a way that will exclude Bahá’ís, making them virtual non-citizens, without access to employment, education, and government services, including hospital care.

More broadly, the Bahá’í community of Egypt has been deprived of all rights as an organized religious community since 1960, when a sweeping Presidential Decree dismantled their religious institutions, banned Bahá’í activities, and enjoined the confiscation of all Bahá’í properties. No explanation for this official act was given. Since that time, the Bahá’í community of Egypt has been battered by periodic arrests, detentions, and imprisonments.

This summary provides an overview of the current situation facing the Bahá’í community of Egypt. It describes the Egyptian Government’s effort to marginalize the Bahá’í community by using modern technology as a tool of religious repression. It examines the roots of the current persecution, detailing the little-known but dynamic history of the Bahá’í community of Egypt. And it outlines the Government’s 45-year campaign to oppress the Bahá’í community. Supporting evidence, in the form of various documents, reports by human rights agencies and newspaper articles are also cited.

The hope is that by exposing this situation, international attention and diplomatic efforts can be mobilized to convince the Egyptian Government to act in a way that is in keeping with the various documents of international human rights law to which it is a party — and thereby to end the long night of unjust repression inflicted upon the Bahá’í community of Egypt.

The Current Situation >