Originally posted on 7th July 2011
Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd
On Sunday 3rd July Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favour of those seeking to have the religious registration officially changed back to “Christian”. This ruling affects people who were registered as “Christian”, but whose registration changed to “Muslim”. Such changes can be made either by an adult choosing to convert to Islam, or as a consequence of a parent changing their registration, or because of a clerical error.
The court gave three significant judgements. First, that this ruling covered all such cases and that no individual case should be referred to the judiciary. Second, that presentation of a birth certificate stating religious registration as “Christian” with a current confirmation of faith from the church would be sufficient for the change to be made. Finally, the court criticised the Ministry of the Interior for not effectively implementing previous rulings and instructed the Ministry’s officials to implement this ruling without delay.
The ruling reflects a series of legal cases dating back to at least 2004. In 2008 a small number of individuals were granted the right to amend their religious registration from Muslim to Christian. However, the authorities failed to apply this right, initially on the grounds that it was practically not possible to implement. Later, the court affirmed their ruling, but then the State Council of fatwas blocked the application stating that each individual needed to file a separate case. The Supreme Administrative Court has now clarified that this would be an unnecessary procedure and affirmed that all citizens with the appropriate documents have a right to re-convert.
Egyptian Christians request our prayers that:
Open sources used: Watani
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