Religious identification of two boys in Egypt restored to Christianity

December 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Egypt, newsletter-asia, Persecution, World

Mario Adn Andrew

Mario and Andrew (Photo: Compass Direct News)

Egypt, December 1, 2011: A positive development has ended a long running case concerning twin boys in Egypt. Mario and Andrew’s religious registration was changed to “Muslim” by their father when he converted to Islam and divorced their mother, Kamilia. Although Kamilia won a custody battle in 2009, a court ruled in 2010 that the twins’ religious registration should remain “Muslim.” Kamilia later submitted an appeal.

A lawsuit filed by the mother of 15-year-old Coptic twins, Mario and Andrew, was rejected by an administrative judicial court on March 30 in Egypt. Camilia Lutfi filed the lawsuit against the Interior Minister and the director of the Civil Status Department for refusing to re-instate the Christian religion on the boys’ birth certificates. Mario and Andrew’s certificates were changed to reflect Islam as their religion when their father converted in 2005. Camilia desires to restore her sons’ identity as Christians on their birth certificates before they turn 16 in June, the age at which national ID cards are issued in Egypt. She fears that if their ID cards are issued with Islam as their religious affiliation, they will be considered apostates if they try to change their cards to reflect their Christian faith. Mario and Andrew were reportedly extremely disappointed with the verdict, saying “faith is not by force, we want to remain Christians and we do not wish to become Muslims.” (Source: Assyrian International News Agency)

The twins have now been issued with new identity cards that state their religious registration as “Christian.” This was made possible because of a Supreme Administrative Court ruling in July that explicitly overrode all previous rulings. The court ruling applies to any who were originally registered as “Christian,” but whose registration was subsequently changed to “Muslim,” whether voluntarily or involuntarily.

One implication of having these amended identity cards is that the twins should now be ‘treated as Christians within the education system. In 2008 they were held back for a school year after refusing to take an end-of-year examination for an Islamic class. They should now be exempt from those classes.

Thank the Lord for this positive development! Pray that the twins’ education will be uninterrupted. Pray that the numerous other Christians in similar positions will quickly and efficiently receive identity cards stating their religious registration as “Christian.” Pray for religious freedom in Egypt.

– middle east concern

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