EGYPT: Struggle for Religious Liberty
A group of Coptic converts to Islam wanting to return to Christianity were denied permission in the courts. However, they successfully appealed and their case will be reheard in Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court on 1 September. Subsequent to the Copts' appeal, a Muslim convert to Christianity named Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy launched legal action against the Interior Ministry as it would not officially recognise his conversion to Christianity.
Compass Direct reports that after Hegazy's case became public, his lawyer resigned due to death threats and public outrage. Then on 8 August Egyptian police arrested and are holding two Coptic human rights advocates who interviewed Hegazy (25) on an Internet forum. Dr Adel Fawzy Faltas (61), Egyptian head of the Canada-based Middle East Christian Association (MECA), and Peter Ezzat, a senior MECA member, stand accused of insulting Islam. Coptic lawyer Peter Ramses Raouf el-Nagar has taken on their case as well as Hegazy's. Persistent death threats have forced Hegazy into hiding. Meanwhile Egyptian clerics are debating the issues and trying to redefine apostasy and religious liberty as issues of national security rather than of Islam.
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