An Egyptian court has sentenced a Christian family 15 years in prison for converting from Islam. The woman and her seven children we given the sentence in Beni Suef, Egypt last week.
Nadia Mohamed Ali, the mother, was born into a Christian family but converted to Islam when she and her husband were married. Following the death of her husband, Ali and her children all converted to Christianity. Ali was entitled to an inheritance from her family, which she was unable to collect unless she converted.
Ali and her family’s conversion from Islam to Christianity was recorded in the registration office between the years of 2004 and 2006. According to Fox News, when authorities became aware of the registration change, everyone involved was charged criminally. They were all sentenced to prison, including Ali and her children who were sentenced to 15 years.
Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, who was elected to the office in June, 2012, created the new law. Under the new constitution, Christianity is limited as “religious freedom has to be understood within the boundaries of Sharia.”
Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, Jordan Sekulow, discusses the implications of the Sharia law and Egypt’s constitution:
“Now that Sharia law has become an integral part of Egypt’s new constitution, Christians in that country are at greater risk than ever. This is another tragic case that underscores the growing problem of religious intolerance in the Muslim world. To impose a prison sentence for a family because of their Christian faith sadly reveals the true agenda of this new government: Egypt has no respect for international law or religious liberty.”
Sekulow suggests that interference by the US State Department might be beneficial. He has encouraged the State Department to take a more active role in speaking out against Christian persecution in Egypt.
As reported by Coptic Solidarity, the Egyptian court was alerted to the family’s conversion when her son changed his name on his birth certificate from a Muslim to a Christian name. His arrest, and eventual confession led to his entire family being sentenced to 15 years for converting to Christianity from Islam.