At the center of this case is his son's inability to obtain an Id card as he reached the legal age of 16 at which every citizen in obligated to obtain a government issued ID. His son is a student at the Suez Canal University. Without an ID he would end up being expelled from his school.
The lawsuit is against the Ministry of Interior and the Civil Affairs Agency in charge of issuing identification documents. The litigant is Hosni Bakheet Abd El-Messeih filing on behalf of his son.
He states that his son was born to Baha'i parents, that his real religion is Baha'i and that he does not belong to any other religious affiliation. He is required by the government to obtain an ID card, but is being denied its issue unless he lies about his religion and enters Muslim, Christian or Jew in the computerised religion section of the application. This violates his right to freedom of belief and violates the Egyptian constitutional guarantees as mandated in articles 40, 41, 45 and 46 of the constitution. He states that if he enters one of the three mentioned religions instead of his real religion it would be considered by the authorities as a forgery punishable by law with a monetary fine and imprisonment.
The lawsuit also challenges the government authorities' stand which violates citizens' rights to absolute freedom of belief regardless of the legitimacy of such belief as clearly mandated in the Egyptian constitution.
The newspaper article shows the photograph of Judge El-Say'eid Nofal, who had presided over the Supreme Administrative Court during its 16 December 2006 session which ruled to prevent the Baha'is from obtaining ID cards unless they lie about their religious affiliation. Oddly if Baha'is oblige the court and do lie about their religion, they would be violating the Egyptian law which is supposed to be upheld and protected by this same court which happens to instruct them to lie. What an irony!
The real issues and facts relating to the struggle of the Baha'is of Egypt in their quest to be treated as equal citizens in their homeland is clearly described in this previous post....