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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

‘We Refuse to Be Muslims By Force’ Say Egyptian Christian Twin-Boys After Losing Court Case

Two Egyptian twin boys have said, "We refuse to be Muslims by force," after losing a court case.

Middle East journalist, Mary Abdelmassih, writing for the Assyrian International News Agency explained the background to this controversial case.

"On March 30 [2010] an administrative judicial court in Egypt dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Camilia Lutfi, mother of the Coptic Christian twins boys Mario and Andrew, against the Interior Minister, and the director of the Civil Status Department for refusing to re-instate the Christian religion on their birth certificates, and invalidate those which were forcefully changed to 'Islam' in 2005 by their father Medhat Ramsis Labib, who had converted to Islam."

Abdelmassih said that after his conversion, Andrew and Mario became Muslims in what is called "Islamisation by dependence", by which children follow the religion of a converted parent (to Islam only) until they reach the age of puberty (fifteen), because Islam is "the best among all religions", according to Egyptian Court rulings.

"The purpose of Lutfi's litigation was to restore back to her twins their identity as Christians, before reaching the age of 16 in June, when they will have their national ID cards issued," she wrote. "Camilia said that because of the developments in their case, her worst nightmares would materialise, in which they would have Islam as religious affiliation on their ID cards."

Mrs Lutfi told the Free Copts advocacy, "If they change to Christianity after that, they will be considered apostates."

Abdelmassih reported that she expressed her surprise at the intransigence of the judiciary in dealing with the issue of her sons, especially after they have already reached the legal age of 15-years, when they can choose their own religion.
"The boys have lived this tragedy for the last ten years, through no fault of their own," she said.

ElYoum 7 Newspaper reported that 15-years-old Mario and Andrew were extremely disappointed with the court verdict, saying "faith is not by force, we want to remain Christians and we do not wish to become Muslims".

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