Christian convert family jailed over id card changes in Egypt

January 24, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

The family had been living in the city of Beni SuefEgypt, January 21, 2013:  A Christian mother and her seven children have been jailed for 15 years in Egypt for changing their religious affiliation on their identity cards after they left Islam.

Nadia Ali Mohamed and her family returned to Christianity in 2004 having previously converted to Islam; they subsequently replaced their Muslim names on their identity cards with their Christian names.

Two years later, one of the boys, Bishoy Malak Abdel-Massih, was arrested in an information centre in Beni Suef, where the family live. Police were suspicious of the young man’s documents and interrogated him for hours until he confessed his conversion to Christianity.

Charges were subsequently brought for violating Egyptian laws governing name changes against Nadia, her seven children and the seven clerks from the registration office who had amended the family’s documents.

Last week, the criminal court in Beni Suef sentenced each member of the family to 15 years in prison and the clerks to five years behind bars.

It is not possible for converts from Islam to Christianity to change their religious affiliation on their identity cards in Egypt. There is, however, precedent for Christians who converted to Islam and later returned to Christianity being permitted to change their documents back to their original status. But this is an extremely difficult process.

Converts from Christianity to Islam, however, can change their identity cards without hindrance.


In a separate incident that also demonstrates the vulnerability of Christians in Egypt, a church-owned community building was destroyed by Muslims, who feared it was going to be turned into a place of worship.

The centre in the village of Fanous, Fayoum province, consisted of a reception hall on the first floor and a kindergarten on the second.

On 16 January, hundreds of Muslims came out of the mosques carrying hammers and chanting Islamic slogans, having been rallied to go and help fellow Muslims in Fanous, where Christians were said to be “building a church”.

They demolished the centre, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“god is great”). The security forces failed to intervene, and nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Local Muslims had previously raised objections to the building, despite its having all the necessary government permits. A meeting had taken place between the village mayor and elders from both the Muslim and Christian communities; it was agreed that only the first floor would remain and the second be demolished, but this agreement was not honoured by the Muslim vigilantes.

–  barnabas team

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.