Bahais in Egypt

MSU student shunned in Egypt wins coveted PD Soros Fellowship

Raeuf Roushangar (L), an MSU graduate student studying biochemistry, has won a prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. He is studying in the lab of George Mias, MSU biochemist and molecular biologist. Photo by Katie Stiefel

Raeuf Roushangar, a Michigan State University graduate student studying biochemistry, has won a prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans – an honor that comes with up to $90,000 stipend.

Roushangar was one of 30 winners of the premier graduate school fellowship for immigrants and children of immigrants. The recipients, chosen from a pool of 1,200 applicants, were selected for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or their academic field.

While winning the award is a high achievement, what Roushangar had to overcome is equally praiseworthy. Roushangar was born in Oman, to an Iranian father and Egyptian mother, and grew up and attended high school in Cairo, Egypt.

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As little like IS as possible

Basil El-Dabh

A tiny, misunderstood, and often-persecuted community is facing a serious crisis in Iraq. The Yezidi, who practice an ancient monotheistic religion, face genocide as militants of the “Islamic State” (IS) have overrun Sinjar, the main hub for this minority, and proceeded to slaughter and torment them, sending tens of thousands of them up into the mountains with no food or water.

When Mohamed Morsi was ousted last year, many celebrated it and often cited the Muslim Brotherhood’s conservative religious doctrine and its effects on the state as to why the group had to go. We were lectured about the dangers of radical Islam and how its presence threatens the existence of the country’s non-Sunni minorities. The Brotherhood did not help itself, often resorting to sectarian rhetoric and incitement.

So how are we doing now more than one year after Morsi?

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Eye on the revolution: Natacha Chirazi, a Bahai view

In this ten-part series, Ahram Online asks those who took part in January 25 revolution what they make of Egypt's current political situation two years after Mubarak's ouster

Natacha Chirazi

Natacha Chirazi, a young Bahai woman raised in Australia, came to Egypt in her early twenties to learn about the country her parents had emigrated from.

Despite the challenge of unmasked anti-Bahai sentiment, she became attached to the country immediately, and she has stayed in Egypt with her husband and her son Leo, who is a seventh generation Bahai.

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Would Egypt's New President Enforce Equal Rights and Full Integration for All Minorities?

{josquote}One of Egypt's small religious minorities, the Baha'is, remain without their citizenship rights.{/josquote}

Based on several recent media reports, Egypt's newly elected president Mohamed Morsi has vowed to be a "leader for all Egyptians" and vowed "to protect citizens' rights"

According to the Guardian's 25 June 2012 report from the Associated Press, the following was stated:

The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi proclaimed himself a leader "for all Egyptians", after being declared the winner of Egypt's first free presidential election on Sunday.

Speaking on Egyptian television late on Sunday evening, Morsi vowed to "protect the rights of women and children", as well as Christians and Muslims alike.

"I tell everybody in this memorable day that because of your choice, your will and after God's favour, I am a president for all Egyptians," the 60-year-old engineer and professor said in his speech.

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Egypt: A Baha’i Blogger's Take on the Elections

ID card issued to Baha’i Emad Raouf Hindi with a dash in the field for religious affiliation. (Baha’i World News Service)

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Elections 2011.

The Baha’is of Egypt number perhaps only 2,000 people, but over the years the community has faced discrimination and sometimes hostility.

The Baha’i faith was recognised as an independent religion in Egypt in 1925, but in 1960 it was banned by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and all Baha'i properties and assets confiscated, although individuals remained free to practise their religion. Egyptian Baha’is have had to fight for their civil status, such as the right to have ID cards on which they are not forced to choose their religion as either Muslim, Christian or Jewish. They also campaigned unsuccessfully for the recognition of Baha’i marriages.

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