Egypt Court Bans 'Christian' On Ex-Muslim's ID Card

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Tag Cloud

By Worthy News Middle East Service with Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos

Maher Ahmed Al-Mo’tasem Bellah Al-Gohari request to change his religious affiliation on his ID card has been rejected by a court. Via United Copts of Great Britain

CAIRO, EGYPT (Worthy News) -- For the second time, an Egyptian court has rejected a Christian convert's request to change his religious affiliation on his identity card in a ruling described by critics as "a severe blow" to freedom of religion of ex-Muslims.

Judge Hamdi Yaseen reportedly rejected the application of Maher Ahmed Al-Mo’tasem Bellah Al-Gohari to change his religious affiliation from Muslim to Christian, citing Islamic and public order concerns. Egyptian identity cards must report the faith of the holder.

Al-Gohari, whose last name has also been spelled as El-Gohary, and his daughter Dina 12, live in hiding and "in continuous fear" since "radical Islamists" incited mobs to kill Al-Gohari for his apostasy, Coptic Christians said.

"The disappointing verdict [Saturday, June 13] by the High Administrative Court in Cairo...dealt a severe blow to freedom of religion to Muslims who would like to come out of Islam and convert to Christianity," said United Copts of Great Britain in a statement seen by Worthy News Wednesday June 17.


The group, which has close ties to Egyptian Christians, most of them known as Copts, said the ruling was a setback "in a country that persistently and relentlessly claims to be secular and to apply 'civil Laws'."

“I am disappointed with what happened and shocked with the decision, because I went to great lengths and through a great deal of hardship,” Al-Gohari said in published remarks.

Judge Yaseen's verdict was based on the Islamic law, Shari'a, which prohibits conversion of Muslims to any other religion and “disruption to public order," according to trial observers.

Complicating the legal procedure was that Egypt's constitution has two "paradoxical statements", United Copts of Great Britain said. "Article two stipulates that Islamic Shari’a, which prohibits conversions to any other religion is the main source of legislation..." But Article 46 of the constitution says "the state guarantees 'freedom of religion'," the group explained.


"In today’s court case, again, the converts to Christianity in Egypt have fallen victims to the Egyptian government appeasement to Islamist radicals to say the least," it added.

Al-Gohari's defense team said they would appeal the ruling. His case follows Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy the only other Muslim-born convert in Egypt known to have requested such the religious affiliation change on his identity card.

The Court of Administrative Justice in Cairo rejected Hegazy,'s request last year saying he had not followed "proper legal" procedures and that he could not convert "to an older religion."

Hegazy had said he wanted to raise his future child as a Christian.

Christians comprise at least 10 percent of Egypt's mainly Muslim population of over 83 million, according to United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates, although Coptic groups suggest that number may be higher.

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2 thoughts on “Egypt Court Bans 'Christian' On Ex-Muslim's ID Card”

  1. the muslim convert in egypt should know that serving God those no require id card. so they should forget about it and continue with their new religious which they fine as right way to heaven.
    Jesus said in John 16v33 in these world u will have treblation but be of good cheef i have overcome the world. what joy u have in Jesus

  2. His Name

    "So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel."
    Ezekiel 39:7

    Is Holy

    "And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."
    Isaiah 6:9


    "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call."
    Joel 2:32


    "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."
    Jeremiah 15:16

    And Be Blessed Beloved
    Love, Joe

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