Sunday, June 07, 2009

Egypt bans marriage to Israelis

President Obama said in his speech in Egypt that "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance."

Was he aware of this when he spoke those words?
After the verdict was read in the Cairo courtroom, Nabih al-Wahsh, an Egyptian attorney, jumped for joy and received an avalanche of telephone calls from friends congratulating him on his latest legal victory.

Al-Wahsh has managed to extract a ruling from Egypt’s Administrative Court — which rules in disputes between citizens and the state — that would force the Egyptian government to strip Egyptians married to Israelis of their Egyptian citizenship. The May 19 ruling was met with the cheers of millions in this populous Arab country.

“This is an historic ruling,” al-Wahsh said to reporters after the ruling. “Egyptians married to Israelis are dangerous to Egypt’s national security, acting in ways that contradict the constitution of their country and Islamic laws,” he said.

Calls flooded into TV talk shows discussing the verdict and readers posted comments on Web sites of newspapers that wrote about it.

Everyone appeared united in elation at the ruling, as well as in hatred of the Jewish state and everything that related to it, even if it was originally Egyptian.

“Israel clamors to become an integral part of the Arab world and to do so it lures Egyptians to get married to its women,” one reader wrote to a local newspaper, commenting on the ruling.

A second writer warned against Israeli plans to use Egyptians married to Israelis as spies, while a third said the sons and the daughters of these people would one day claim property in Egypt, something that would “ease Israel’s hegemony over Egypt yet again.”
It turns out that this verdict from late May affects mostly Egyptian men who marry Israeli Arab women.
Shukri Shazly, who has lived in Israel for the last 15 years, says he won't be stripped of his Egyptian citizenship without a fight.

Shazly, who is married to an Israeli Arab and has four daughters here, was "embarrassed" but not surprised by the Cairo Administrative Court decision last week that called for the implementation of an old law that would strip citizenship from Egyptians married to Israelis, as well as from their children.

"This judge didn't study the issue correctly. And that is the reason for my embarrassment and regret. This is all ignorance and backwardness… Egypt is like that," he told The Jerusalem Post Thursday from the home of an Egyptian friend.

"The superficiality is clear from the decision... They always forget human rights. They always forget about freedom… They always do everything according to their mood and their feelings. But laws should be the determining factor, not our moods, nor our opinions."

Only the eldest of Shazly's four daughters has Egyptian citizenship, while the others are Israeli citizens. While he prefers that his daughters only have Israeli citizenship, he believes no one has the right to strip him or anyone else of their Egyptian citizenship.

"I don't care about the certificate [passport] but we are Egyptian," he said. "Being Egyptian is something inside of us."

Shazly, who is the president of the Association of Egyptians in Israel, estimates that he is one of between 6,000 to 7,000 Egyptian citizens married to Israeli women and living in the country legally.

He believes that another 4,000 to 5,000 Egyptians, either married or single, are living in the country illegally.
So there are about 10,000 Egyptians living in Israel.

There are about 100 remaining Jews living in Egypt.

What a great example of Islamic tolerance!

(Arab comments from Al Arabiya on this story are classic.)
(h/t Andre)