Do they really put your religion on ID cards in Iraq?

I don’t know, this might be more appropriate in GD. If so, then please accept my apologies.

From the news this morning: Iraqi Police Storm Farm, Free 17 Hostages - one of the Shi’ite kidnappees escaped after showing a fake ID card saying he was a Sunni.

My question is this - in a region that has been defined in the past years by religious sectarian violence, why do they put religion on their ID cards? Is anyone familiar with the review process that this went through? Is it mandated in their new constitution, or is it a holdover from the previous government?

Doesn’t common sense dictate that, when you’re trying to build a nation based on common ground, and trying to quell profound socio-political divisions based on religion, that you don’t mandate advertising one’s religion?


No, they don’t put religion on ID cards, but it is easy to determine an Iraqi’s religion by his name. Ali is a Shia name and Omar is a Sunni name for example. It is very easy to get a fake ID in Baghdad. A lot of my staff carry two IDs, one that has a Sunni name and one with a Shia name.

The US State Department says the following in its section on Iraq:

<i>Passports do not indicate an individual’s religion; however, religion is explicitly noted on the “jentsia,” or national identity card. </i>

I’ve just seen madmonk’s post, and obviously I’m more inclined to trust his local knowledge of the situation.

Is the Department of State mistaken in its assertion?

I’m not sure if the State Dept. is correct or not. I know a lot of our staff have two ID cards and when I saw Subway’s OP I asked my staff and they said there is no indication in the card, just that the name is a tell-tale sign. I’ll ask them again tomorrow, I’m at home now.


Is it possible ID holder may use a second legitimite card with (for example) a married family name?

I’ve read about the carrying of different ID cards and the one question that came to me was: When they get stopped by somebody, how do they know which one is the safe one to show? On top of that, it seems almost dangerous to keep both of them together in your wallet…in case they spot the wrong one while you’re trying to dig out the safe one. Maybe it’s best to keep each one in separate back pockets. “Left, Sunni…right, Shia…left, Sunni…right, Shia”, and hope you don’r get them mixed up. :stuck_out_tongue: