CAIRO: Naguib Gobrael, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations, endorsed a draft law on Coptic couples’ adoption of children from Christian orphanages.
The lawyer referred the law to Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi who said he will refer it to the Islamic Research Center to study and discuss the possibility of its application.
“The opinion of Al-Azhar is just a consultation but the main decision relies on the People’s Assembly, Gobrael said.
“There are people who were not blessed with children . why should the government prevent them [from adopting]? he told Daily News Egypt.
He added that these people are desperate and they resort to illegal methods to adopt. If the government allows them to adopt children, he said, this will decrease the risk of child trafficking.
This law would cater to Christian families only as Islam prohibits adoption. Gobrael said that “the law will also punish couples who adopt Muslim children with up to five years in jail and a fine of LE 20,000, to eliminate that possibility, he explained.
“The matter of adoption differs from one religion to another. While Sharia prohibits adoption, it should not apply to Christians, Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour, former deputy of Al-Azhar and currently a member of the Islamic Research Center, told Daily News Egypt.
Gobrael faced sharp criticism from lawyer Nabih Al-Wahsh, who argued that the law would “ignite sectarian strife in Egypt, and cast doubt on the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood for passing “questionable laws.
“Adoption is forbidden in all religions, and therefore would not be approved by Al-Azhar Sheikh, he said on Mehwar satellite channel.
The Egyptian constitution bans the adoption of children as per Islamic Sharia.
“But there are people, including MPs, who support the law and believe that it will limit child trafficking, Gobrael said.