Egyptian Court Allows Return to Christianity

Cairo’s highest civil court on Saturday ruled that 12 Christians who had converted to Islam could return to their original church, ending a bitter yearlong battle over identity and minority rights.

It was the second time in recent months that a court has upheld the rights of religious minorities, in a country that is 90 percent Muslim and where the distinction between civil law and religious principles is increasingly blurred.

The case involved Coptic Christians who had converted to Islam to obtain a divorce. The Coptic Orthodox Church does not allow dissolving a marriage. Islamic law, however, allows men to end a marriage easily.

For a time, Christians who converted in order to divorce were allowed by the courts to formally return to their original faith. But in recent years, as a more conservative sentiment has spread throughout the country and the government, the courts have not allowed converts to return to Christianity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

3 comments on “Egyptian Court Allows Return to Christianity

  1. MargaretG says:

    My sympathies are actually with the court — these men are using their “conversion” in a most unchrist-like way. I am thinking of things like “let your yes be yes..” and “Love the Lord your God …” Given their behaviour is unchristian why should they be seen as “converts”?

  2. Katherine says:

    Yes, it’s tricky. The Coptic Church allows divorce only for adultery, so this is one case where the existence of separate legal codes by religion has been misused.

    The ruling is quite narrow. It allows people born Christian to convert back. It does not allow anyone born Muslim to convert and get a new legal identification.

  3. Pb says:

    I guess this will become part of the English common law.