Baha'is Call Attention to Egyptian Policy of Requiring One of Three Official Religions to be Listed on I.D. Cards

August 23, 2006

Source: Baha'i World News Service

On August 23, 2006 the Baha'i World News Service reported, "The Egyptian government's controversial policy that requires citizens to list their religion on national identification cards, while also limiting the choice to one of just three official religions, was the focus of a major symposium here in August. The event drew considerable attention to the plight of the Baha'is in Egypt, who endure discrimination under the policy. It forces them to either lie about their religion and illegally falsify their religious affiliation -- or go without ID cards, which are necessary to access virtually all rights of citizenship here. Held on 8 August 2006 by National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), a state-funded, advisory body to the government on human rights issues, the symposium heard testimony from a wide variety of civil society groups, official governmental agencies and ministries, as well as the Baha'i community of Egypt. 'Baha'is face a daily struggle now,' said Dr. Basma Moussa, the Baha'i representative, explaining that without valid ID cards Baha'is cannot register for school, attend university, address questions on military service, apply for jobs, process banking transactions, or properly receive salaries... At present, government policy allows only the listing of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, the three officially recognized religions, on ID cards and other documents."