Students of Cairo University will no longer be required to reveal their religious affiliation on any paperwork.
The decision to remove religious identity from all university paperwork also applies to faculty and administrative staff of the university, which is one of Egypt’s top institutions of higher education and the country’s premier public university.
The decision was made in an effort to eliminate any potential discrimination based on religion.
“[Some] may feel they will be discriminated against [by disclosing their religion],” Cairo University President Gaber Nassar told Al-Nahar Al-Youm, according to Egyptian Streets.
Nassar explained that there is no law requiring that students or staff disclose their religion. So, the university decided to immediately abolish the practice in all departments. Disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who continues to require a student to reveal religious affiliation.
“Lately I was surprised to see that a department head in one of the faculties was distributing an application that included the religion field,” Nasser said, according to Al Araby.
“At Cairo University, we don’t take random decisions, we take decisions to amend illegal or unconstitutional situations.”
The university’s decision is in line with a draft bill introduced in Egypt’s parliament several months ago. Drawing precedent from Article 53 of Egypt’s constitution, the bill aims to remove religious identity from Egyptian national identity cards.
“Citizens are equal before the law, possess equal rights and public duties, and may not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, belief, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political or geographical affiliation, or for any other reason,” Article 53 says.
According to Al Araby, a student complained that she was denied admission to Cairo University’s Institute of African Research and Studies in September after being asked to disclose her religious affiliation. This apparently pushed the university administration to make the decision.