Egypt restricts marriage to Israelis

ByASSOCIATED PRESS
June 6, 2010 08:26

Citizenship to be revoked from those wedding Israeli women.




Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. AP 311. (photo credit:ASSOCIATED PRESS)

CAIRO  — Egypt's  Supreme Administrative Court upheld a ruling on Saturday, that orders the country's Interior Ministry to strip citizenship from Egyptians married to Israeli women.

The court said that the Interior Ministry should present each marriage case to the Cabinet on an individual basis. The Cabinet will then rule on whether to strip the Egyptian of his citizenship, taking into consideration whether a man married an Israeli Arab or a Jew when making its decision to revoke citizenship.

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Saturday's decision, which cannot be appealed, comes more than year after a lower court ruled that the Interior Ministry, which deals with citizenship documents, must implement the 1976 article of the citizenship law. That bill revokes citizenship of Egyptians who married Israelis who have served in the army or embrace Zionism as an ideology. The Interior Ministry appealed that ruling.


The lawyer who brought the original suit to court, Nabih el-Wahsh, celebrated Saturday's ruling, saying it "is aimed at protecting Egyptian youth and Egypt's national security."

The government has not released figures of Egyptians married to Israeli women, but some estimates put the number around 30,000.

Israeli officials said they had no comment on Saturday's ruling.

In 2005, former Grand Mufti Nasr Farid Wasel issued a religious edict, or fatwa, saying Muslim Egyptians may not marry Israeli nationals, "whether Arab, Muslim, or Christian." The possibility of a Jewish spouse was not mentioned.

Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the late Grand Sheik of Cairo's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's premier institution and oldest university, has said that while marriage between an Egyptian man and an Israeli woman is not religiously forbidden, the government has the right to strip the man of his citizenship for marrying a woman from "an enemy state."

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