Court Rules in Favor of Bahai Student

November 13, 2008

Author: Abdel-Rahman Hussein

Source: Daily News Egypt

The Administrative Judiciary Court ruled in favor of a Bahai student in his effort to receive a new identification card so he could return to his studies at Alexandria University.

The ruling was given in a session overseen by the head of the administrative judiciary and the deputy head of the State Council Mohamed Ahmed Attiya, who ruled that it was the right of Hady Hassan Ali to receive a new national ID card.

As such, Attiya ordered the Ministry of Interior to grant Ali a new ID card, so he could then carry out the paperwork needed to be readmitted to university.

Egyptian national ID cards must identify the religion of the holder, and Egypt only recognizes Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which has caused a myriad of obstacles for Bahais.

The court said that while the Egyptian constitution secures the rights of belief for its citizens, Bahaism was not recognized as an official religion in the country and therefore could not be recorded on official documents. However, since basic principles of human rights give citizens the right to prove their identity in their country, the court said, Attiya ruled that the slot for religious affiliation be left empty, or denoted with a mark.

The ruling allows Ali to complete the necessary paperwork so he can resume his studies.