Bahais and Egyptian Education

From Egypt Independent:

The education minister has repeated remarks that Bahais cannot enroll in public schools, saying it violates the Constitution.

“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.”

It is noteworthy the minister makes reference to the new constitution to justify his position. But it is also noteworthy this was his position before the constitution was approved. The ministry of education is not one of the institutions which has been headed by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, indicating anti-Baha’i sentiment predates their takeover of government.

But, see this article for more intrigue:

In a statement issued on Sunday, the syndicate added that around 22 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were promoted to senior positions in the minsitry following the election of President Mohamed Morsy in June.

This week, the ministry denied news that it was “Brotherhoodizing” the ministry or curricula and dismissed as false claims that it had removed pictures of protesters killed during the 25 January revolution and those of unveiled feminist leaders in Egypt and inserted verses from the Quran in the national education book to advocate loyalty to the ruler.

In the statement, the syndicate mentioned the names of Brotherhood members who were promoted, saying that under the mandate of Education Minister Ibrahim Ghoneim, the ministry started implementing a plan to “Brotherhoodize” education, the first step of which was to control decision-making centers through the gradual replacement of ministry leaderships with members from the Brotherhood.

Things are very murky in Egypt, and much struggle is going on behind the scenes. These are not the battles that can demand demonstrations, but they may very well signal the direction Egypt is headed, without much media coverage.

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