CAIRO: A case brought by a man who converted from Islam to Christianity and is seeking to have his personal identification documents amended was adjourned Tuesday by the Administrative Court.
Mohamed Ahmed Hegazy converted to Christianity in the 1990s. He raised a legal case in 2007 against the Egyptian government after the civil status authority refused to change the entry on the religious identification field of his official documents.
Hegazy’s wife also converted to Christianity and the couple have a daughter, Mariam. Hegazy is quoted by the media as saying that he wants to obtain documents stating that he is a Christian so that his daughter is registered as a Christian and will therefore be able to marry a Christian.
Adel Ramadan from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told Daily News Egypt that a verdict in Hegazy’s case has been delayed because of a dispute between the Supreme Constitutional Court and the lower Administrative Court over article 47 of civil rights law, which deals with freedom of opinion.
“There’s a dispute between the Administrative court and the Supreme Administrative Court interpreting article 47 of the civil rights law and Sharia law about conversion from one religion to another,” Ramadan said.
“The Supreme Administrative Court allows the conversion from Christianity to Islam without any approval from the courts or government, but the Administrative Court says this article should be applied according to Sharia law — meaning that it would only allow conversion from any religion to Islam not vice versa.
“The case was referred to the Constitutional Court to resolve the dispute and issue a verdict in the case. The Constitutional Court’s verdict is final and should be accepted by both courts. The Consultation Committee is looking through the case now to issue a report and an advisory opinion to the Constitutional Court”.
Ramadan said that a date has not yet been set for resumption of court proceedings in the case. –Additional reporting by Heba Fahmy.