Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Copts win right to appeal religious identities case

An Egyptian court accepted an appeal Monday from 45 Copts trying to reclaim their religious identities after deciding to convert back to Christianity from Islam. A lower administrative court ruled against the Copts on April 29, prohibiting them from restoring their Christian identities on their national identification cards, according to the International Herald Tribune.

The Supreme Administrative Court accepted their appeal and referred the case to a related committee that will make the final ruling, said Mamdouh Nakhlah, a lawyer for 12 of the plaintiffs.

“We are hopeful and 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,” said Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

Government lawyers argue that the original verdict is in line with the principles of Islamic Shari’a law, which considers conversion to any religion apostasy.

In the initial ruling, the lower court accused the plaintiffs of “manipulation” for changing from one religion to another. Copts often convert to Islam to obtain a divorce, which is prohibited by their church, or maintain custody of their children.

For the full article, click here .


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