Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last Day for Paper ID Cards in Egypt

While many of us enjoy a state of relative ease and security, there is a segment of the Egyptian population that is in state of fear of the unknown as this day ends and the first of October rolls in.

The Egyptian government has decided that today, 30 September 2007, is the last day on which old paper handwritten ID cards can be used in any official transactions in Egypt. Starting tomorrow every Egyptian citizen must be in possession of the new computerized ID card which also contains a national ID number.

Since the ID card contains a section identifying the religion of its holder, Baha'is of Egypt, thus far, have been unable to obtain the new ID card unless they lie about their religion and enter one of the three approved religions in Egypt (Muslim, Christian or Jewish). Meanwhile the application form required for obtaining ID cards clearly states that any false entries will be punishable by imprisonment and heavy fines.

We can assume that the Baha'is of Egypt would expect one of the following developments in their struggle to survive in their own country as they become non-entity starting tomorrow: a) the deadline will be extended and their paper ID cards will continue to be valid until a solution is reached, b) the government will allow them to leave the religion section vacant, enter Baha'i, insert dashes, or enter "other," c) the government eliminates religious classification from ID cards altogether, or d) the Baha'is would end up suffering "Civil Death," meaning that they would have no rights or privileges under Egyptian law, being left jobless, income[less], education[less], etc....

It is now in the hands of President Mubarak to make a decision that will guarantee civil rights and provide protection for his own citizens.


  1. Bilo,

    Of all the possibilities you mentioned there is really no choice for the Baha'is. The only choice is now left in the hands of President Mubarak. I hope that the President will not tolerate for a segment of Egyptian society to be singled out and denied their birth and legal right of citizenship solely because of their beliefs or religion.

  2. If you make rules that are illogical you place yourself in a position you can’t defend.
    Why is there the need to have a religious denomination on an I.D. card? Some say this way we know whom we are dealing with, our children know who to date (or not), we can tell who to trust… etc…
    Well this is only if one assumes that the person so described can be trusted to abide by the rules. But how many Christians never set foot in a church? How many Moslems drink alcohol? How many Jewish people… you fill in the blanks. Of course these are freedoms that should be allowed. The way you worship is entirely between you and your maker. But it illustrates the nonsensical attitude of putting down on paper something totally unproven. Sure the Egyptian government wants only to endorse the writing down of “divine” religions…. But how “divine” are the followers?
    If President Mubarak can vouch for them, then by all means leave the status quo, but if he can’t…. he should inquire a bit more about the Baha’is, he might be surprised to see that their religion does not make them better or worse than the rest of the citizens of Egypt and as such they deserve to have their religion’s name on their I.D. card.

  3. Up and until this point I was under the impression that President Mubarak was a man of integrity and intellect. However at this point I am neutral as to how I should look at the Egyptian President’s actions in regards to matters of a controversial nature. If the President of Egypt chooses to do the "right Thing" he will allow people who are not members of the 3 all-ready recognized religions to either leave the space blank if they choose or to place the name of their religion on the government issued ID card. Thus he will keep his integrity! However, if he succumbs to the political pressure of these religious bigots who believe that they have the right to force their religious beliefs onto persons who disagree with them then the world will know what type of person President Mubarak is.

  4. according to the NEWS a volcano has erupted off the coast of Yemen...

    do you suppose that God is sending Egypt a message???

  5. It is now the first of news yet!

  6. hi
    i am iranian
    this is my blog (bahai sect)(not Baha'i Faith! ! !

  7. Dear Iranian,
    It would be also of great help to you if you look at this site in Persian or this site in English. Thank you for your interest.

  8. This problem did not create itself. Its cause and the absolute command that will see its retraction rests with one person. To ensure the establishment of human rights and freedoms would be a noble and worthwhile legacy to pass on after a rulership that has to date lasted for over twenty six years.

  9. What do you expect? The court ruling is consistent with the Egyptian government's proud record of human rights abuses, prohibition of religious freedom, persecution of citizens of minority religions , and suppression of democracy and political reform. I'm an Egyptian who's been living in the U.S. for the past 10 years, and haven't gone back since for fear of persecution. The reason being my rejection of Islam- the religion I was born and raised to follow. I am now an atheist, which I know makes me an apostate who's not accepted or welcome in the Egyptian Muslim society; but you, the Bahai's, have been there for generations and it's your basic right that you'll unfortunately, in the year 2007 not 1007, have to fight hard for. Although I wouldn't get my hopes too high if i were you, when comes to Mubarak, as all he cares about is staying in power, still- don't give up the fight.

  10. Hattem,
    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts.


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