November 17, 2010
Law 263 of 1960, still in force, bans Baha'i institutions and community activities and strips Baha'is of legal recognition. During the Nasser era, the government confiscated all Baha'i community properties, including Baha'i centers, libraries, land for the House of Worship, cemeteries, and more.
The government requires all citizens to be categorized as Muslims, Christians, or Jews on national identity cards. Baha'is have been compelled either to misrepresent themselves or to live without valid identity documents.
In 2008 the Cairo Administrative Court ruled in three cases brought by Baha'is that the government must issue official identification documents containing a dash or other mark in the religion field.
The ruling stated that anyone who adopts the Baha'i Faith is an apostate and that the religion cannot be recorded in any civil status or other official document, because that would conflict with public order.
According to Baha'i community members, throughout the first half of 2010 the government implemented the order and reportedly issued more than 180 birth certificates and 50 to 60 national identification cards to Baha'is, all with dashes in the religious identification field. The government, because it does not recognize Baha'i marriage, and there is no civil mechanism for marriage, refused to issue identification documents to married Baha'is, unless they would agree to specify their marital status as "unmarried." According to the government, it was attempting to find a mechanism to issue identification documents to married Baha'is that would correctly identify marital status.
While the government complied with court rulings by issuing identity documents with a “dash” for religion to unmarried Baha’i, it continued to refuse to issue marriage certificates. This made it impossible for married members of the Baha'i community to obtain identity documents recognizing their marital status. The government cited its nonrecognition of the Baha'i Faith and the country's lack of a civil marriage mechanism as reasons for the denial.
During the reporting period, the government did not investigate or prosecute the perpetrators of a March 2009 attack on the homes of seven Baha'i families in the village of al-Shuraniya in Sohag Governorate. Muslim villagers, some of them related to the Baha'i villagers, attacked Baha'i houses with bricks and rocks until police dispersed them. On March 31, the attacks escalated when attackers returned and set fire to the homes, forcing the Baha'is to flee.