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Iraqi official denies Bahaism as religion

An Iraqi official's statement against the Baha'i religion raises concerns of Baha'is and other religious minorities in Iraq.
A woman poses in a group photo with a wooden cut-out depicting the ringstone symbol of the Baha'i faith during a carnival commemorating International Minority Rights Day in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on December 16, 2017. (Photo by HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
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BAGHDAD — Deputy Justice Minister Hussein al-Zuhairi recently said Bahaism is not a religion or faith during a dialogue with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as it considered a report on measures taken to implement the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Zuhairi expressed the Iraqi government’s commitment to legislation prohibiting the Baha’i religion in 1970 and added that there is no religion above Islam since the Iraqi Constitution set the tenets of Islam as a source of law. He said that as Iraqi society is Muslim, it is not possible to ignore the tenets of Islam in legislation.

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