Pope Shenouda Appeals to Mrs. Mubarak to intervene on behalf of ' Reverts to Christianity'

Pope Shenouda Appeals to Mrs. Mubarak to intervene on behalf of ' Reverts to Christianity'

By | 2009-02-22T06:31:00+00:00 February 22nd, 2009|News|0 Comments

Coptic lawyer Ramsis El Naggar, the Coptic Church's lawyer, delivered a letter on 20th February from H.H. Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, to Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, the Egyptian President's wife, and President of the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood. He asked her to intervene with the Civil Records Bureau to try and resolve the crisis in the field of religious affiliation in the state identification documents of over 2000 Christians to reflect their “re-conversion” to Christianity status.

The Pope’s message went on to say that solving this issue would save children, mothers and whole families from complete loss.

Among those ‘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.

Elnaggar added that these 2000 persons face problems because they have no identity cards, and some of them have been dismissed from work. He called for a swift resolution to this crisis.

The Pope’s letter was handed over to the President’s wife by Elnaggar during a celebration at a hotel in new Cairo, after the approval of the contents by Pope Shenouda, and in his capacity as a legal agent to the Pope.

Peter Alnaggar Jr. explained in an interview with Coptic News on 7.2.2009.

that a big number of ‘Christian Reverts’ had filed lawsuits asking for

their identity cards to reflect their "re-conversion" to Christianity status. The High Administrative Court ruled in their favor on 9th February 2008, and the law became ‘final’s. It ruled that Christians who previously converted to Islam have the right to revert back to Christianity and get new state identification documents reflecting their Christian affiliation.

However, the Administrative Judicial Court, headed by Chancellor Mohamed El-Husseini decided on March 4 2008 to halt any cases brought forth by Christian reverts, according to the verdict of February 2008.

The reason was that a certain Muslim Brotherhood person, named Hamed Sadiq, has protested the verdict of February 2008. "This in itself is against the law, as this person has ‘no direct interest’ and should therefore be unable to protest:, said Peter Elnaggar.

The Civil Records Bureau has consequently refused to execute the final verdict of February 2008.

He said:" We have been sent to present our appeal to two courts which ruled that it was not within their jurisdiction and were sent again to the High Administrative Court.

We had a session on 7.2.2009, at 10am. We were shocked to say the least, when we went to Court to find it closed due to none of the 9 judges having turned up. It has never happened before in the history of the High Administrative Court"!!!

"We have a final verdict and cannot apply it to cases we present because a certain person with no interest, protests, we are sent around to different courts. Besides, a court in Alexandria has ruled in December 2008 in favour of a Christian revert to change his ID. We simply have ‘clashing laws’", commented Elnaggar Jr.

Is it worth noting that Lawyer Ramsis Elnaggar has appealed to President Mubarak at the end of January 2009 to intervene in this crisis.

Without the official ID cards, Egyptians can not apply for jobs, buy property, open bank accounts or register their children in schools. They are also subject to arrest for not carrying valid identity papers.

Sources: Coptic News and Amr Bayoumi/ Almasry Alyoum 2-20-2009