Friday, February 1, 2008

Major blow for freedom of religion in Egypt

Another story of Islamic supremacy in the Mideast. An Egyptan judge has ruled that a Muslim convert cannot change his religious affiliation. The problem stems from Article II of the Egyptian constitution which makes Islamic law the source of Egyptian law.

Judge: ‘He can believe whatever he wants in his heart, but on paper he can’t convert.’

ISTANBUL, January 31 (Compass Direct News) – In a blow to religious freedom in Egypt, a Cairo court has ruled against a Muslim convert to Christianity who requested that his religious affiliation be changed.

Judge Muhammad Husseini said in a verdict on Tuesday (January 29) that it was against Islamic law for a Muslim to leave Islam, a legal representative for convert Muhammad Hegazy said.

“He can believe whatever he wants in his heart, but on paper he can’t convert,” Husseini told the administrative court, according to the member of Hegazy’s legal team.

Husseini based his decision on Article II of the Egyptian constitution, which makes Islamic law, or sharia, the source of Egyptian law.

The judge said that, according to sharia, Islam is the final and most complete religion and therefore Muslims already practice full freedom of religion and can not return to an older belief (Christianity or Judaism).

“What happened is a violation of my basic rights,” convert Hegazy told the US Copts Association following the hearing. “What does the state have to do with the religion I embrace?”

And it wouldn't be a religious matter in the Mideast without ...

Hegazy’s initial lawyer, Mamdouh Nakhla, had made several procedural mistakes before death threats from Islamists forced him to withdraw last August.

Eid had hoped to reopen the case after applying to Egypt’s Civil Status Department to change religious affiliations on Hegazy’s official identification. He expected the department to reject the unprecedented request, giving him evidence with which to sue the government.

Despite the ruling, an ANHRI representative said that Hegazy still planned to appeal the decision or open a new case if possible. Hegazy’s wife Zeinab, also a convert from Islam, plans to go to court for her right to register as a Christian as well.

Death threats have forced the couple, who gave birth to a daughter this month, into hiding since the trial hit news headlines in early August.

And you know the convert's family has to be understanding of his his decision, right?

Last week, Hegazy’s father told an Egyptian paper that he would kill his son if he did not return to Islam.

“When I see my son, I will give him a chance to return to Islam,” the Muslim told Al-Masry al-Youm last Friday (January 25). If his son refused, he said, “I will kill him with my own hands, I will shed his blood publicly.”

WorldNetDaily has more background on the rise of Islamic supremacy dating back to the Sadat government.

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