Saturday, June 13, 2009

Al-Gohari was refused his request to convert to Christianity on his ID card

الجمعيه الوطنيه القبطيه الامريكيه
national american coptic assembly

This is a major and sad setback.
I haven’t seen the court's ruling but I'm sure the justification, as usual, insults the Christians and Jews (Sons of Apes and Pigs, as called by prophet Mohammad) and their corrupt and inferior religions.

Egypt, as a state and society, is having an identify crisis. Its government claims to be secular and democratic state but behaves totally different. Egypt, starting with its government, must understand that what an individual’s belief is not the business of any other individual or organization. Egypt must deal with the hilarious conflicts and contradictions in its Constitution.

Breaking News
Maher Al-Gohari was refused his request to convert to Christianity on his ID card
United Copts GB

The disappointing verdict by the High Administrative Court in Cairo today has dealt a severe blow to Freedom of Religion to Muslims who would like to come out of Islam and convert to Christianity in a country who persistently and relentlessly claims to be secular and apply “civil Laws”.
The judge Hamdi Yaseen rejected Maher Ahmed Al-Mo’tasem Bellah Al-Gohari application to change his religious affiliation from Muslim to Christian on his ID card; the verdict was based on the Islamic Sharia which prohibits conversion of Muslims to any other religion and “disruption to Public order”.
The Egyptian constitution carries the two paradoxical statements, article 2 stipulates that Islamic Shari’a, which prohibits conversions to any other religion is the as the main source of legislation while article 46 states that the State guarantees the “Freedom of Religion”
In today’s court case, again, the converts to Christianity in Egypt have fallen victims to the Egyptian government appeasement to Islamist radicals to say the least.
The Egyptian government agents, the court in today’s case, are considered in the eyes of the international law as “Agents of Persecution” which can open the door to an era of international condemnation of the Egyptian government position regarding Freedom of Religion.
Al-Gohari and his daughter Dina 12, live in hiding in continuous fear since radical Islamists such as Sheik Youssef El-Badri and Dr Hamid Sardiq incited Radical Muslim mobs to kill Al-Gohari for his apostasy.
Maher El-Gohary provides requested documents, but judge dismisses them.
ISTANBUL, June 16 (Compass Direct News) -
A Cairo judge on Saturday (June 13) rejected an Egyptian’s convert’s attempt to change his identification card’s religious status from Muslim to Christian, the second failed attempt to exercise constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom by a Muslim-born convert to Christianity.For Maher El-Gohary, who has been attacked on the street, subjected to death threats and driven into hiding as a result of opening his case 10 months ago, Saturday’s outcome provided nothing in the way of consolation.
“I am disappointed with what happened and shocked with the decision, because I went to great lengths and through a great deal of hardship,” he said.
El-Gohary follows Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy as only the second Muslim-born convert in Egypt to request such a change. El-Gohary filed suit against the Ministry of the Interior for rejecting his application in August last year.
In contrast to their angry chants and threats in previous hearings, lawyers representing the government sat quietly as Judge Hamdy Yasin read his decision in a session that lasted no more than 10 minutes, according to one of El-Gohary’s lawyers, Nabil Ghobreyal.
The judge rejected El-Gohary’s application even though the convert provided a baptism certificate and a letter of acceptance into the Coptic Orthodox Church that the judge had demanded.
“The judge said he will not accept the [baptism] certificate from Cyprus or the letter from Father Matthias [Nasr Manqarious],” said Ghobreyal. “Even if he gets a letter from the pope, the judge said he would not accept it, because the remit of the church is to deal with Christians, not to deal with Muslims who convert to Christianity; this is outside their remit.”
El-Gohary sounded perplexed and frustrated as he spoke by telephone with Compass about the verdict.
“The judge asked for letters of acceptance and baptism,” he said. “It was really not easy to get them, in fact it was very hard, but if he was not going to use these things, why did he ask for them in the first place? We complied with everything and got it for him, and then it was refused. What was the point of all this?”
A full explanation of Yasin’s decision to deny the request will be published later this week. The judge’s comments on Saturday, however, provided some indication of what the report will contain.
“The judge alluded to the absence of laws pertaining to conversion from Islam to Christianity and suggested an article be drawn up to deal with this gap in legislation,” said Ghobreyal.
High Court Appeal
Such a law would be favorable to converts. Thus far, hopeful signs for converts include a recent decision to grant Baha’is the right to place a dash in the religion section of their ID cards and a High Court ruling on June 9 stating that “reverts” (Christians wishing to revert to Christianity after embracing Islam) are not in breach of law and should be allowed to re-convert.
At the age of 16 all Egyptians are required to obtain an ID that states their religion as Muslim, Christian or Jewish. These cards are necessary for virtually every aspect of life, from banking, to education and medical treatment.
No Egyptian clergyman has issued a baptismal certificate to a convert, but El-Gohary was able to travel to Cyprus to get a baptismal certificate from a well-established church. In April the Coptic, Cairo-based Manqarious recognized this certificate and issued him a letter of acceptance, or “conversion certificate,” welcoming him to the Coptic Orthodox community.
El-Gohary’s baptismal certificate caused a fury among the nation’s Islamic lobby, as it led to the first official church recognition of a convert. A number of fatwas (religious edicts) have since been issued against El-Gohary and Manqarious.
El-Gohary’s case could go before the High Court, his lawyer said.
“This is not the end; this is just the beginning,” said Ghobreyal. “I am going to a higher court, I have ideas and I am going to fight all the way through. It’s a long road.”
Ghobreyal’s tenacious attitude is matched by his client’s.
“I am going to persevere, I will not give up,” said El-Gohary. “Appealing is the next step and I am ready for the steps after that. I am going to bring this to the attention of the whole world.”
The judge had received a report from the State Council, a consultative body of Egypt’s Administrative Court, which expressed outrage at El-Gohary’s “audacity” to request a change in the religious designation on his ID. The report claimed that his case was a threat to societal order and violated sharia (Islamic law).
El-Gohary’s lawyers noted that the report is not based on Egypt’s civil law, nor does it uphold the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights that Egypt has signed. It stated that those who leave Islam, “apostates” such as El-Gohary, should be subject to the death sentence.

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