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11/17/2018 Egypt (International Christian Concern) –  An Egyptian Member of Parliament is drafting a bill which would remove religion from the national ID cards, according to al-Bawaba News. While the bill has not been officially introduced, it has already stirred up controversy.

An al-Azhar professor argues that there is no point in removing religion from the ID cards since Islam respects religious freedom and Christians are “safe” in Egypt. However, many Egyptian Christians have directly pointed to al-Azhar as a significant driver for the violent persecution which they face. Al-Azhar has a strong political influence in the country and also controls an educational curriculum used by millions of Muslims in Egypt. The curriculum makes it clear that there is no room for Christians in Egypt, despite al-Azhar’s public statements declaring otherwise.

A similar bill was drafted in 2016 but did not pass into law.

Egypt rates as number 17 on Open Doors Watch List for religion persecution and is ranked as a tier 2 country of concern by the United States International Religious Freedom Commission. Last year was one of the bloodiest years on record for Egyptian Christians. Earlier this month, Christians experienced the worst act of targeted violence against them for 2018.

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