Thursday, August 30, 2007

Help save Onsy Zachary

The story is here in detail. Please read and sign the petition. (link)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Egypt in uproar over Christian convert case

The story (link)

Some notable excerpts, His first lawyer resigned from the case:

His first lawyer – Mamdouh Nakhla, director of the Al Kalema Center for Human Rights – withdrew from the case Tuesday after claiming his decision was base on “national unity” and alleging that Hegazy did not give him the documents that proved Egyptian authorities rejected his application.

“If you add the state of alert in Egyptian society, and to protect the feelings of our Muslim brothers, and to protect our national unity…we decided to abandon this case,” said Nakhla, according to Reuters. However, some reports have claimed that the lawyer was threatened by Egypt’s security police who said he would be killed if he continued the case. During a press conference at Nakhla’s office, one of the staff members at Al Kalema Center reportedly shouted, “He is being threatened, he is doing this under pressure,” according to Compass Direct News.

And the second is now in custody:

Furthermore, the Christian convert’s new lawyer – Dr. Adel Fawzy Faltas, president of the Middle East Christian Association (MECA) in Egypt – is said to be detained by the Egyptian police after holding a high-profile online chat with Hegazy, according to Compass.

Faltas, 61, was arrested from his Cairo home Wednesday afternoon. His home was reportedly raided Thursday by officials who confiscated two laptops and a desktop computer.

"They cut up the mattresses, tore everything up and took all the books as well," said Nader Fawzy, head of the Canada-based MECA, who has close contact with various leaders of MECA’s Egyptian branch, according to Compass.

Fawzy said that Faltas had been blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back when he was arrested.

The rest of the members of the Christian rights group is said to be in hiding. A third lawyer, Ramses Raouf el-Nagar, has now taken up Hegazy’s case.

And the family:

The case has garnered national attention with some Egyptian newspapers giving it front page coverage, according to Reuters.

When asked why he has chosen to fight for legal Christian status, Hegazy explained that his wife was four months pregnant and he wanted his son to be raised openly as a Christian.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Egyptian police arrest two Christian activists

The story (link)

Christian Convert Sues Egypt Over Legal Status

A link

This is a monumental case.

An excerpt:

A former Muslim has sued Egypt for refusing to recognize him legally as a Christian in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in Egypt.

Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy, 25, filed the lawsuit against Egypt’s interior ministry last Thursday for rejecting his application to replace Islam with Christianity on his identification papers, according to Compass Direct News.

Hegazy, a journalist and political activist, had said in his petition that he believes that love and peace are the purposes of religion and that he found that in Christianity, according to Reuters.

Although Hegazy converted at age 16 to Christianity, he never sought to change his status legally because of all the obstacles. Hegazy said he wanted to be officially recognized as a Christian now so that his expectant child can be born and raised openly as a Christian.

“My wife is pregnant. I want my son to be born within my own religion and for the fact that he is Christian to be written on official papers,” said Hegazy, according to Agence France-Presse.

In Egypt and in many Middle Eastern countries, the parents’ legal religious status determines their children’s official religion on their identification papers.

His wife Zeinab is four months pregnant, according to Compass. The couple were forced to have an Islamic wedding because they are both legally Muslims. If they’re religious status is officially changed to Christianity then their child will be able to enroll in Christian religious classes at school, marry in a church, and attend church services openly.

And what has been the response?

His legal action has sparked anger among the country’s Muslims who have retaliated by filing a lawsuit and delivering death threats against his lawyer.

Why is this so important:

“This is the first such case in the history of Egyptian justice,” said Mamduh Nakhla, the director of Al-Kalima Center, a Coptic Christian rights group, according to AFP.

Other Egyptian Muslims are said to have converted to Christianity quietly but there has not been known of a case of someone seeking official recognition, according to Reuters.

I'll write more on this later.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Don't agree with him on everything. But way to go Duncan Hunter

Hunter Sponsored Two Illegal Immigrants

Snippet of article:

According to the paper, Hunter sponsored Fouad Yousef Hakim Mansour and Saheir Gamil Shaker Mansour, Coptic Christians who fled religious persecution in Egypt. They lived illegally in the United States for a decade before applying unsuccessfully for asylum.