The price of parents changing their religion is paid for by the children, this is the new reality, which is experienced by many affected Egyptian families. They are confused because they embrace a religion while the official papers confirm they belong to another one.
Copt Ms. Sohair Abdo, wife of Copt Asaad Shenouda, mother of two
childred Mr. Emil and Ms.Refka, converted to Islam in 1994, and her personal data were altered by the Civil Registry Office to reflect her new belief. However, she reverted back to Christianity in 2006 and a certificate was issued to her by the competent authority of the the
Coptic Patriarchate confirming its acceptance of her returns to Christianity.
Accordingly Sohair Abdo was able to get her national identification number document showing her Christian affiliation.
However, the big shock came when her children went to get theirs!!!
Despite the fact that Sohair’s eldest daughter Refka had previously had an ID card issued to her in 2001 showing her Christian name and correct religious affiliation, when she went with her brother in 2006 to get copies of their birth certificates, necessary for the issuance of the new national identification number, they found out that they were registered as Muslims under the new names of Rami and Refka Hussein Elsayed, even though they never converted into Islam.
What was strange was the fact that when the mother converted into Islam her documents showed that she was the only one in the family who changed her name, in addition to a letter sent in 2006 from the Cairo State Security to the Director of Administrative Affairs stating that the children did not convert into Islam.
Ms. Sohair’s lawyer Peter Elnaggar said that they made a request to the Civil Registry to correct the error, however, it was rejected on grounds that the ‘mother converted to Islam’!!!
The filed lawsuit requested the Interior Minister in his capacity as being in charge of amending the names data and as head of the Civil Registry to correct the error.
Elnaggar added that article 21, paragraph «1» of the Act 341 stipulates that the records maintained by the Civil Registry include the correct data, which may not be change or manipulated, also article 2 of the Penal Code states that any change in the data or the names or numbers of people is considered as fraud committed by the public employee and punishable according to the specified penalty.
Elnaggar pointed out that there is not an official extract from the Civil Registry to the effect that there was no change in the name of the father Shenouda in the files of Islam Converts, nor were the names of the two children.
All this evidence, shows that the data on the national number registry pertaining to the children’s names and religion is contrary to reality and is considered fraudulent, commented their lawyer.
Voice of the Copts
It is worth noting that errors, or manipulations of data of Copts by personnel in the Civil Registry is widespread, and never easy to rectify.
Coptic lawyer Ramsis Elnaggar Sr. who is representing more than 2000 ‘Christian reverts’ has included these cases of administrative errors among them.
According to Elnaggar ‘Christian Reverts’ are those who converted to Islam and reverted back to Christianity, those whose identity cards states they are Muslims following the conversion to Islam by one of their parents, as well as those who were falsely recorded as Muslims through an administrative error by some civil records’ personnel.
Translated into English by Voice of the Copts