A move said to promote freedom of faith Egypt may remove religion from ID cards

In a step expected to cause controversy in Egypt, a ruling party official announced that the government was studying the possibility of removing the religion section from all identification cards following a similar move in Lebanon.

At a seminar called "The future of citizenship in Egypt" a member of the National Democratic Party (NDP) said the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling to mull the case was a positive step for freedom of faith.

"The idea could be faced with opposition," Dr. Alieddin Hilal, the NDP’s Secretary for Mass Media Affairs, told AlArabiya.net. "But we will keep working on applying the concept if citizenship and achieving equality between all Egyptians."

"The application could be a bit slow, but in the next stage and before the coming legislative elections, Egypt will witness significant changes as far as Copts and women are concerned," Hilal added.

Concept of citizenship

Dr. Hani Aziz, secretary of Egypt Lovers and Peace Society (ELPS), which organized the conference, agreed with Hilal and said that move was the first step towards educating Egyptians about the concept of citizenship.

"Citizenship means equality in rights and duties," Aziz told AlArabiya.net. "It is a culture of tolerance and dialogue and it respects multiplicity."

Aziz pointed out that the concept of citizenship is emphasized in article one of the constitution and that the constitution is the main law.

At the conference, Hilal also revealed that another draft law was being mulled to allow more parliamentary representation for women in the upcoming legislative elections.

"According to the new law, two women would run for each governorate,"

Hilal said. "This means there will be a minimum of 50 women in the next parliament."

Hilal said he was disappointed that although the Egyptian parliament was the oldest in the region, it had the least women representation in the Arab world.

Last month Lebanon’s Interior Minister Ziad Baroud issued an edict allowing citizens to remove any reference to their religion from ID cards or Civil Registry Records.

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