Leadership Council for Human Rights

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Re-conversion recognized by Egyptian court

An Egyptian Supreme Administrative court ruled that the state must recognize citizens who reconvert to Christianity reported Reuters on Saturday.

Prior to the ruling, a citizen was forbidden to convert from Islam to any other religion and the religion on their identity papers could not be altered either. However Saturday’s court decision has stated that “12 people who had converted to Islam from Christianity and then back again could have their reversion to their original faith stated on their government identity papers.”

This decision is a huge step for Coptic Christians in Egypt who were unable to identify their religion after conversion, based on the old laws. The new court ruling cannot be appealed and “overturned a lower court decision in April which said the state had no obligation to recognize a convert to Islam's decision to revert back to his original faith because it violated Islam's ban on apostasy.”

New identity papers and birth certificates will be issued to reconverts; however their previous religion of Islam will also be on the papers, something that may be a platform for discrimination. This decision is one of a new wave of improvements helping the minority religions of Egypt. Last week a court ruled that the Egyptian Baha’is were no longer obligated to lie about their religion on identity papers, but can now leave the section blank.

For the full article, click here.


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