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Baha'is seek marriage contract recognition

By-The Egyptian Gazette | 4 October 2009

AFTER winning their fight for recognising their religion in official documents and on identification cards (IDs), Baha'is, a minority in Egypt, are now seeking the recognition of theirmarriagecontracts, inordertofill in the social status section of their IDs correctly.

So far, married Baha'is have been facing problems in getting their IDs, although the Government started issuing them last August, because their marriage contracts are legally invalid.As they cannot complete the social status section of their IDs, Baha'is have asked the Ministries of the Interior and of Justice to intervene to solve the problem, according to Baha'i activists."We urge them to take whatever steps needed in order to solve our problems with the IDs," Basma Moussa, a Baha'i activist and a Faculty of Dentistry assistant lecturer, told The Gazettein a phone interview."We are really suffering and don't ask for anything but the basic right of having valid IDs." Basma, a mother of two, has not obtained her ID, although both her daughter and son have already got theirs, because she refused the sole choice she had."They gave us one choice: to write 'unmarried' in the social status section, but that's untrue and won't work," she added.Baha'is refuse this 'easy choice' for many reasons, the most important being that it is illegal and could send them to jail on charges of fraud."Moreover, in the electronic system Egypt uses for citizens'registration, it is unreasonable that parents write 'unmarried' in their IDs, while their sons and daughters are being regis- tered with their names all over their papers," she said."How can I write 'unmarried' and have two children with my name in their papers?" she asked. "Such choice is bizarre and totally unaccept- able." Although married Baha'is are still removed from the officials' com- forting promises, they have denied intentions of going to court to have their demands met. They insist that they will go on with negotiations and direct contact with officials.
 

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