Iraqi Jews organizing to Regain Citizenship

By Saad Salloum for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

A number of Iraqi Jews are organizing to officially demand the restoration of their Iraqi citizenship and the annulment of Article 17/II of Iraqi Nationality Law no. 26 (2006), which expressly excludes Jews from pursuing the option. The law provides that Iraqi nationality be restored to those who lost it as a result of political, racial or sectarian decisions.

Edwin Shukar, vice president of the European Jewish Congress, called for the restoration of Iraqi citizenship for Jews in a speech delivered Aug. 15 at the First International Conference on the Yezidi Genocide in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The first Mizrahi Jew to assume the vice presidency of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Shukar wants to acquire Iraqi citizenship in part because he feels he needs it to better represent the community of Iraqi Jews, in the diaspora and in Iraq, where it lacks formal representation before the government.

Shukar, born in Baghdad in 1955, fled the Baath regime with his family in 1971. His mother tongue is Arabic, but he is equally fluent in Hebrew and English. Shukar told Al-Monitor that his ties to Iraq remain deeply rooted.

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