Sen's daily

October 12, 2013

Delegation of Egyptian Bahais meets the head of the constitutional committee

Akhbarak, October [10]

Amr Moussa (عمرو موسى), Chairman of the Committee of Fifty which is charged with drafting a new constitution for Egypt, and the writer Mohammad Salmawy (محمد سلماوى), media spokesman for the committee, met a delegation of Egyptian Bahais at the headquarters of the Shura Council to listen to their vision of suggested amendments to the Constitution. The meeting lasted almost an hour and half hour. The Bahai delegation consisted of Dr. Basma Moussa (بسمة موسى), a well-know activist for human rights, Dr. Rauf Hindi (رؤوف هندي), official representative of the Egyptian Bahais, Dr. Labib Hanna (لبيب حنا) and Dr. Sawsan Hosni (سوسن حسنـي). The delegation stressed that the new Constitution should embody the hopes of all Egyptians without distinction of colour, gender or creed, as the Constitution is a social contract and not an ideological programme. The role of the state is not to choose the beliefs of its citizens, in fact the main duty of the state is to preserve the freedom of thought and belief of every Egyptian, who should all be able to see the Constitution as theirs. The Bahais asked that international treaties and conventions regarding individual freedom and human rights should be one of the sources of legislation, and they stressed that the State must be required in writing to provide identification papers for every Egyptian. The asked for a law to forbid discrimination against Egypt’s minorities, and an independent body to monitor compliance. Dr. Rauf Hindi deplored the association of the Bahai name with Satanism and fire worship and equally astonishing things, by certain people. He said that the Bahais were not seeking a change in article III of the Constitution, but rather the inclusion of other clauses which would guarantee freedom of religion and the right to identity papers for all Egyptians. The Baha’i delegation expressed confidence that the Committee of 50 would be able to establish a new constitution that reflects the hopes and aspirations and highest principles of humanity.

[Article 3 of the suspended constitution specified for the first time that matters of personal status (marriage, divorce, inheritance) for Christians and Jews would be governed by legislation based on the Christian and Jewish religious laws. One proposal (which Dr. Hindi does not support) has been to apply this also to “other non-Muslims,” which would mean Bahais could be governed by their own laws of personal status. ~ Sen]

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-1Qa

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1 Comment »

  1. This is encouraging and provides at least a modicum of hope. Thank you, Sen, for posting it.

    Comment by dale ramsdell — October 13, 2013 @ 06:10 | Reply


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