An interesting development from Lebanon where the Government has ruled that citizens can remove their religion from their identity cards.
One of the arguments against ID cards is the possibility of discrimination. For proof, you need look no further than Lebanon, where ID cards were the equivalent of death warrants. According to the BBC News article:
During the civil war, which lasted through the 1970s and 1980s, different militias aligned with various religious groups would set up checkpoints and ask for the identity cards of those who tried to pass. People would often be shot on the spot if their documents revealed the “wrong” sort of religious affiliation.
“These identity cards killed so many people,” says Samer Juidi, a 21-year-old business marketing student in Beirut.
“I want to be seen as Lebanese. Not Lebanese Christian, not Lebanese Muslim but just Lebanese,” he adds.
Whilst it’s unlikely this kind of discrimination would be seen in Britain, it’s a worrying possibility if people’s religion, health and criminal records are available at the touch of a button.
Lobby group Human Rights Watch say this is merely a token gesture, saying religious affiliation still governs the life of every citizen. But as a first step, this is surely welcome news.