February 11, 2008
Muslim converts win case, but there's a catch
Egyptian judge allows converts to Islam to 'reconvert' back to Christianity.
Religious freedom in the Middle East moves three steps forward, two steps back in a judicial ruling in Egypt on Saturday.
Compass Direct News Service reports:
Egypt's top administrative court has ruled in favor of 12 converts to Islam seeking to return to Christianity but has left the group vulnerable to discrimination by mandating their former religion be noted on official documents. In his ruling Saturday (February 9), Judge El-Sayeed Noufal ordered Egypt's Interior Ministry to issue the converts "Christian documents" noting their "ex-Muslim" status. Human rights activists heralded the decision as a breakthrough for religious freedom in Egypt, where conversion away from Islam, though not illegal, has been forbidden in practice. But human rights advocates remained wary, saying that listing the converts' former religion on their documents would make them vulnerable to discrimination. "It's obviously a stigmatization to have ["ex-Muslim"] on your ID card," a representative for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told Compass.
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