JORDAN REMOVES RELIGION FROM NEW SMART ID CARDS

By: CairoScene

Smart IDs that don’t indicate the holder’s religion are now replacing traditional IDs in Jordan as part of the government’s digitisation program, reports Al Bawaba. Jordanian smart IDs will include data chips containing background information about holder for security purposes.

The move drew criticism from the country’s conservatives who argue that ditching religion from national IDs violates article one of the Jordanian constitution, which declares Islam the state religion – most notably Former MP Zakaria El Sheikh who called the decision an attempt to “strip the country of its Muslim identity.” In response, lawyer Taghrid Doghmy fired back saying the decision was in compliance with the constitution, which stipulates that all citizens are equal under the law, and argues that not specifying a person’s religious views on national ID cards could eliminate religious discrimination.

To address the controversy, Head of Jordan’s Passport Authority Marwan Qutaishat explained that “religion cannot be expressed with a written word or a beard,” adding that religion is among the data stored in the chip integrated in smart IDs, but “isn’t shown on it.”

To show his support for the move and encourage fellow Jordanians to register for smart IDs, King Abdullah the second visited the country’s passport authorities to issue his own.