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Communist Vietnam legalises Bahai faith
Vietnam has legalised the Bahai faith, which authorities say has about 7,000 followers in the communist country, the state-controlled media reported Wednesday.
HANOI (AFP) - Nguyen Huu Oanh, vice chairman of the government's Religious Affairs Committee, "presented a certificate to ratify religious activities of the Vietnam Bahai religious community," said the Vietnam News Agency.
Human rights and religious freedom groups routinely criticise Vietnam for violating religious freedoms, including the harassment of some Buddhist groups and members of mainly Christian Protestant ethnic minorities.
Vietnam pledged greater religious freedom in a government report issued in early February and said that more than 20 million of its 84 million citizens were state-registered followers of major religions in 2005.
The Bahai faith, which stresses the unity of humanity and its religions, was founded in Iran in 1844 and has over five million followers worldwide, according to the official Bahai website in the United States.