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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Egypt says “not anymore” to Bahais

I read about it on Dry Bones today and followed the link to Al Bawaba. The Egyptian courts ruled that Bahais can not legally state their religion on their national identity papers–they are now considered apostates to Islam by the government.

The ruling leaves Egypt’s Bahai community unable to receive national identification cards without writing that they belong to one of three religions recognized by the Interior Ministry: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Without such documentation, they cannot register births or receive essential government services such as health and education. Additionally, they cannot apply for jobs, buy property, open bank accounts, or register their children in school.

I am blessed to know a handful of Bahais and my friendship with Juliet was certainly one of the things that made Judaism possible for me. For years I said, “If I was religious, I would be Bahai” and now I say, “If I wasn’t Jewish, I would be Bahai.” It wasn’t the right fit for me, but it is a beautiful, rational lovely religion.

It greatly saddens me that the “moderate” Arab state in the Middle East has declared a minority religion illegal and a reason to deny citizenship to a group of 2,000 Bahais.

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