With the arrest of Bishoy Armiya, Egypt proves Islam is more important than freedom of religion
Newsmax and Egyptian newspapers have just reported the arrest in Egypt of “the nation’s most well-known convert from Islam to Christianity.” Voice of the Copts brought the convert’s original appeal to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief (in cooperation with the European branch of ACLJ)in January 2010, challenging the Mubarak regime to change “Islam” to “Christian” on his personal state-issued I.D. card and show a name change from “Mohammed Hegazy” to “Bishoy Armiya.”
Most see reasons for Bishoy’s current arrest as excuse to throw convert to Christianity back into prison
Egyptian citizen, Bishoy Armiya (born Mohammed Hegazy), a Muslim convert to Christianity, was arrested in Al Minya on December 3 by Egyptian police for allegedly proselytizing Christianity, which is illegal in Egypt. According to the Egyptian newspaper, Hawaadeth, a few days before his arrest, information reached an assistant of the Internal Minister in Al Minya saying that Bishoy Armiya, who is known to be a correspondent in Egypt for the American Coptic satellite TV channel, Al Tareek (The Way), is the person behind the trouble between Muslims and Copts in the province.
According to the article, Hegazy traveled to Al Minya during this year’s June 30 uprising to work for a local newspaper and make friends with political pro-democratic revolutionary forces located there. He aroused the attention of police who have been preoccupied with Egyptian activism.
Bishoy was singled out for arrest once authorities ascertained that his former name was Hegazy
The Hawaadeth article said further that LtCol Amr Hassan, chief detective of Bandar Al Minya, Al Minya, captured 31-year old Mohammed Hegazy and sequestered his camera and four USB drives. Police then requested him to confirm his conversion to Christianity at age sixteen. Further, police asked him if he
requested a change of religion on his national I.D. card.
After the success of Egypt’s revolutionary struggle of the past few years, real change will come at a glacial pace, if at all
In spite of two major uprisings of the past three years contributing first to Mubarak’s overthrow then to Morsi’s, as well as scattering and jailing Muslim Brotherhood leaders who controlled the command center surrounding Morsi, the aftermath of struggles between Muslim Brotherhood thugs and Egyptian law enforcement demonstrate that police and military ranks contain allegiances to operators of the backlash. As such, law enforcement cannot be trusted in protecting Christian citizens.
In a phone conversation last week with Mr. Ramsis Al Naggar, attorney of record for Mr. Bishoy, Mr. Al Naggar said that he is convinced that the new Egyptian constitution upon approval will allow freedom of religion. It is guaranteed by Chapter 3, Article 47 in the new draft. Upon that premise,
the major problem remaining is one of duty and trust within law enforcement. The culture of Islamic superiority in Egypt cannot be expunged overnight.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014
Dr. Ashraf Ramelah
Founder and president