Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Pakistan Registers First Jewish Citizen In Decades

After a three-year long struggle to change his papers to reflect his status as a Jew, Fishel Benkhald is finally receiving a new identity card and passport that recognize his religious affiliation.

“It feels like shackles have been removed from me and I feel a great sense of liberty now,” Benkhald told Fox News. Raised by a Jewish mother and Muslim father, he gravitated toward his mother’s faith as a teen, and sought as an adult to change his official status from Muslim to Jewish. In Pakistan, citizens have their religion noted on state documents.

He received help from Wilson Chowdhry, head of the British Pakistani Christian Association, who pressed United Kingdom officials to pursue the issue with Pakistani counterparts. “Other Jews have simply stated they are Jews on a census,” Chowdhry told Fox News. “None of them have their Jewish faith prescribed on an ID card or passport. This is very unique to Fishel. The obtaining of [registration] as a Jew is groundbreaking.”

Not more than a few dozen Jews are believed to still live in Pakistan, which a century ago had more than 1,000 Jews in the country.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.