Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Apostasy Tests Egyptian Law

Prepare for riots. Free will and Islam are not compatible. The religion of peace has been known to respond violently to any perceived insult, even one as minor as a single Muslim (out of 1.2 Billion worldwide) choosing to leave the cult.

You can't really blame them for wanting to keep as many slaves followers as possible, but you'd think if they were so desperate to maintain their numbers, they wouldn't kill each other as often...

An Egyptian judge is scheduled to rule next week on the case of a Muslim-born convert to Christianity whose court hearing threatened to turn into a brawl earlier this month, the convert’s lawyer said.

Next Tuesday (January 29) Judge Muhammad Husseini is expected to decide whether to allow former Muslim Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy to drop his case to change his religious affiliation in order to correct certain legal mistakes, lawyer Gamal Eid said.

The conservative judge also is expected to rule on a range of religious freedom issues, according to Eid. Among other things, Husseini will decide on a case by Islamists to force the government to implement a legal punishment for “apostasy,” or conversion away from Islam.

Hegazy has aroused widespread criticism in Egypt as the first known Muslim-born convert to Christianity to petition the government to change his religious affiliation.


Led by Wahid el-Wahsh, the Islamists filed a complaint with judge Muhammad el-Shazly against the government and Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam, Egypt’s top religious authority. The lawyers demanded that authorities outlaw “apostasy,” based on Article 2 of Egypt’s constitution, which designates Islamic law as the basis of Egyptian legislation.

In July, top Al-Azhar cleric Ali Gomaa made a controversial statement that “apostasy” only merited punishment in the afterlife. He later clarified that “apostates” could be punished on earth if they were “actively engaged in the subversion of society.”

Many mainstream Egyptian interpretations of Islamic law dictate that “apostasy” warrants death.

Tensions mounted when Christian human rights lawyer Naguib Gabriel requested to join the case to fight against the Islamists’ demands that “apostasy” be outlawed. He told Compass that he was not planning to represent Hegazy, but rather to join the side of the government to fight for freedom of religion.

The hearing was cut short when at least 15 Islamist lawyers tried to attack Hegazy’s attorneys. The convert’s representatives escaped the courtroom unharmed, but the trial was postponed to the following week.


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