“Rights of Muslim Converts to Christianity in Egypt” is a research long-overdue, because converts are increasing in number and they are stripped off their human rights, persecuted by state and society, and considered as apostates civically dead. There is a sharp discrimination and difference in jurisprudence between Court of Administrative Litigation of State Council and State Security Court, which deal with converts. Converts of Christian background are recuperating their civil liberty rights, whereas rights of converts of Muslim background are still violated. I reached this conclusion by tracking the jurisprudential development of the Court of Administrative Litigation, which moved from a hardliner stance from 1970s to late 1990s vis-à-vis converts of both backgrounds to a human-rights oriented one vis-à-vis converts of Christian background. The Court of Administrative Litigation, that examined the actions filed by converts of Christian background requesting a name and religion change in the identity cards, entitled them to revert to their original names and religion before embracing Islam. Their new status was registered in the identity card, despite the abstention of the Civil Affairs Registry, affiliated to the Ministry of Interior. Will Converts of Muslim background, if they file such actions, be equally treated by the Court of Administrative Litigation, using the same jurisprudence? Or would the Court’s line of reasoning be different? This remains to be seen. Muslim converts of Muslim background are arrested and inhumanely treated by State Security, accused for contempt of religion under the Egyptian Penal Code, Article 98 F, tried before State Security Court whose jurisprudence remained unchanged, and persecuted by society for disturbing public order. Identity cards in Egypt, instating the religious affiliation, plays a role in discriminating between citizens on religious basis and further violation of the human rights of converts of Muslim background, as well as their children’s rights. Converts to Christianity of Muslim background will partially gain from the deletion in terms of non-discrimination in freedom of worship, movement, work, and education. And they will fully benefit, despite the ongoing social persecution, from the change of religion reflected in their identity cards, in terms of marriage, and children’s education, having to totally forsake inheritance rights in any case.
School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
MA in International Human Rights Law
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(2007).Rights of Muslim converts to Christianity in Egypt [Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Ghali, Hebatallah. Rights of Muslim converts to Christianity in Egypt. 2007. American University in Cairo, Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
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