Religion considered close to Israel, fights for recognitionin Egyptian society Cairo – Arabstoday Egyptian ducation minister Ibrahim Ghoneim has repeated comments thatstudents belonging to the Baha’i religion cannot enrol in publicschools, saying their inclusion “violates” the new Constitution. The minister told Akbar Al Youm newspaper that “the Constitution onlyrecognises the three Abrahamic religions; religion is a subject taughtin schools, and they do not meet the requirements for enrolment.” Ghoneim had previously made the same statements to Al-Sabah newspaperin November, when he said that “the [Baha’is] children do not have theright to register in government schools.” In recent years the relatively young faith has fought with thegovernment for recognition of citizenship. The Baha’is were denied the right to carry national identificationcards until 2008 when an Egyptian court granted them the right toobtain cards that left out their religion. All Egyptian citizens mustcarry identification cards that detail their religion, and presentthem when applying for birth certificates, driving licences andopening bank accounts. However tensions between Baha’is and the state predate theidentification card issue. In 1960 the government sold off land on the banks of the Nile atpublic auction, which had been intended to build a Baha’i house ofworship. At the time the Baha’is were accused of being loyal toIsrael. One of the religion’s main places of worship is found inHaifa. The Baha’i community says some Egyptian Baha’is were detained for upto six months after the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967. The religion is the youngest in the world. It was founded byBaha’u’llah in Iran in the 19th century. Then mainly a Muslim country, a young Iranian called The Bab said anew prophet would soon arrive from God, following Moses, Jesus Christand Mohammed. Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is the latest manifestation of Godalthough he never apparently referred to himself as a messenger. Thefaith accepts all religions as having true and valid origins and thecentral belief is unity; that people should work together for thecommon benefit of humanity.