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Egypt: Presidential Candidate Files Lawsuit to Prove That His Mother Is Not an American Citizen

(Apr. 17, 2012) On April 9, 2012, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail filed a lawsuit before the Egyptian Administrative Court to prove that his mother is not a dual citizen of the United States and Egypt. Abu Ismail is one of the most popular presidential candidates and a key figure in the Islamic Salafi movement, an Islamic interest group that emphasizes taking the earliest Muslims as exemplars for the practice of Islam.

In his petition, Abu Ismail asked the Court to order the Department of Passports and Citizenship at the Ministry of Interior (equivalent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) to provide him with a certificate stating that his mother has never held citizenship in any country other than Egypt. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that Abu Ismail's mother was granted U.S. citizenship in 2006. (Abu Ismail: “The Judge Is Comfortable with the Documents That I Submitted” [in Arabic], AKBAR AL YOUM (Apr, 10, 2012).)

The Court ordered the Ministry of Interior to provide Abu Ismail with a certificate demonstrating the citizenship of his mother and her international travel movements. In response, the Ministry of Interior issued a certificate to Abu Ismail indicating that his mother had used an American passport to enter Egypt in 2008 and 2009. Accordingly, the Electoral Supreme Commission disqualified Abu Ismail from the presidential race on the premise that he is in violation of article 26 of the Constitutional Declaration. Article 26 stipulates that the President of Egypt must never have held foreign citizenship and must be born of two Egyptian parents who have never held citizenship in another country. (Abu Ismail Appeals the Decision of the Electoral Supreme Commission, AL YOUM 7 (Apr. 15, 2012).)