Egyptian Muslims seeking legal conversion
It’s not everyday you hear about positive developments in the Middle East. I received this story from the Missions Catalyst e-newsletter put out by the Caleb Project. Enjoy.
In April 2007 a lower court ruled against 45 Copts who had converted to Islam or been deemed Muslim on account of the conversion of a parent, but who wanted to officially return to Christianity [the traditional religion of Coptic people]. The lower court ruled that Muslims, even if they are converts from Christianity, could not be permitted to apostatize (leave Islam). The Copts decided to appeal.
On July 1, Judge Essam Abdel Aziz of Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favor of the Copts and agreed to consider the merits of their case. A retrial has been slated for September 1, 2007.
“The decision by the Supreme Administrative Court to consider the case of Egyptian converts to Islam wanting to return to their Church is very positive,” said Ramsis al-Naggar, the Coptic lawyer who represented 12 of the plaintiffs. “It proves there is still a window of freedom in Egypt.”
“It is a step in the right direction,” Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said. “We are optimistic that the Supreme Administrative Court will eventually uphold the principles of religious freedom and non-discrimination, both of which are guaranteed under the Constitution and international law.”