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Egyptian court allows Muslims to convert


(RNS) — Egypt’s Supreme Civil Court has permitted 12 Coptic Christians who had converted to Islam to revert to their original faith.

The ruling, which overturns an April decision by a lower court, allows the 12 Christians to carry government identity papers indicating their religious choice. Egypt’s secular courts often defer to Sharia, or Islamic law, which forbids conversions from Islam, in such circumstances.

At least some of the Coptic Christians were men who converted to Islam in order to obtain a divorce, which is proscribed by the Coptic Orthodox Church, according to international news reports.

The National ID cards are required for education, employment, financial transactions, and other purposes. The Muslim ID subjected the Christians to Muslim family law, and determined their children’s religion and education, according to Human Rights Watch, which says it has documented 211 similar cases in Egypt.