1. Egyptian Courts Grant Bahais Right to Obtain ID Papers (Jan. 29)
In a landmark case, an Egyptian court has ruled that two members of an un-recognized religion may receive ID cards given the religious affiliation is left blank, according to Reuters. The appeal was brought forward by a Bahai Egyptian citizen who was seeking identity papers for his teenage twins. Identification documents are needed to enroll in school, marry, drive a car and open a bank account. It is yet to be determined if this ruling will apply to all members of un-recognized religions, like the Bahai religion. Unfortunately, the same court ruled in a separate case that a man who had converted from Islam to Christianity would not be allowed to change his name and religion on his identity papers. The ministry of the interior had indicated that it was “not correct” for a Muslim to leave the Islamic faith.
2. Afghan MPs Support Death Penalty for Blasphemy Suspect (Jan. 30)
3. Iran Convicts 54 Bahais of Heresy (Jan. 29)
4. North Korea Frees Canadian Church Leader (Jan. 28)
5. Italy: Senate Bill Seeks Protection of Muslim Headscarf (Jan. 25)
A bill to protect the wearing of the hijab in Italy has been proposed by a senior Italian Senator in an effort to stave off right-wing support for legislation that would ban the Muslim headscarf, according to Islamonline.net. Religious dress, especially the Muslim headscarf, has received a great deal of attention in the wake of the 2004 French law banning “conspicuous” religious attire in schools.
6. Soldiers Deployed to Secure Foreign Christian Missionaries in Philippines (Jan. 23)
Updates: According to The Times, the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken in favor of the repeal of Britain’s blasphemy law, but he has suggested that a replacement bill should protect religious people from “thoughtless or cruel” words.
The International Herald Tribune reports an effort by the governing party in Turkey – the Justi