United Copts of Great Britain

Press Release

For Immediate Release

7th March 2008


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Egypt High Administrative Court decision is a major set back to Freedom of Religion.

On the 4th of March 2008, Judge Mohammed El-Hossainy contested and referred the Article 47 Civil and Personal Status law to the Egyptian High Constitutional Court to valedate it’s constitutionality following the High Administrative Court judgment by Judge El-Sayed Nofel, using the Article 47 Civil and Personal Status law, "which gives freedom to convert to one of the heavenly religions” declared that the twelve could have their ID changed as Christians on the 9th Feb 2008.

Based on this law article, 12 Christians who were born to Christian fathers who, at a later date, the fathers converted to Islam, who effectivly dragged all his minor childern to become Muslims regardless of theirs or the mothers who remained Christians wish to the contrary.  According to Islamic Sharia Children of fathers converted to Islam much become Muslims.

The judgment was based on the fact that the 12 were born in Christian families, and were brought up as Christians, a judgment which pleased the Christians of Egypt and gave a false feeling that Freedom of religion as a principle was going to be respected in Egypt. The news were reported widely locally and internationally.

The Islamic Sharia stipulates that conversion from Islam is apostasy punishable by death. This is based on all of the 4 Sunni Islamic jurisprudence schools which can be used without having to be written as Law Articles. The apostasy punishment has never been used in Egypt by a court of law; however it is applied through the backdoor by allowing the apostate punishment to take place by “unknown assailant” which is usually members of Radical Islamists, the police conveniently do not pursue the assailant.

Now as the article 47 Civil and Personal Status law is being contested by Judge Mohammed El-Hossainy at the Egyptian High Constitutional Court, the decision to allow the 12 to have their religion on ID changed to Christians will be on hold possibly for considerable numbers of years. It is most likely that Article 47 Civil and Personal Status law will be found unconstitutional as the Second Article of the Egyptian constitution stipulates that “Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation”.

It is note worthy that Christians are persuaded to convert to Islam with out any obstacles and the fees for their registering their new faith as Muslim is waived by government agencies.

The United Copts of Great Britain condemns the biased court ruling and ask the Egyptian government and its agencies including the Egyptian judiciary to show justice and respect for Human Rights of the Christian population of Egypt and to do it’s best to fight infiltration of the government agencies by Radical Islamists and to bear in mind its duty and responsibility to treat all its citizens equally.

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