House of Lords Hansard Re. Freedom of Religion
and UCGB response
Egypt: Religious Freedom
Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will make representations to the Government of Egypt concerning the right to freedoms of expression, thought, conscience and religion for Mr Mohammed Hegazy, who was told on 29 January by a court that it was only lawful to convert to Islam, and not to another religion, in his case Christianity. [HL2135]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Officials raised their concerns about the case of Mr Hegazy with the Egyptian embassy on 27 February 2008. It explained that Mr Hegazy's conversion application was not successful as he did not follow the correct legal processes. However, we welcome the positive ruling by the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court on 10 February 2008 allowing 12 Christian converts to Islam to reconvert back to Christianity.
We regularly raise human rights issues with the Egyptian Government, including religious freedoms, and will continue to do so. My honourable friend the Minister for the Middle East, Kim Howells, raised religious freedom issues directly with the visiting Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament on 21 January 2008. We also look forward to these issues being discussed at the forthcoming EU-Egypt political sub-committee established under the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.Link
United Copts of Great Britain response which has been communicated to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the concerned minister
United Copts of Great Britain would like to clarify that concerning the right to freedoms of expression, thought, conscience and religion for Mr Mohammed Hegazy, Judge Muhammad Husseini who presided over his case said in a verdict on Tuesday (January 29) that it was against Islamic law for a Muslim to leave Islam, a legal representative for convert Muhammad Hegazy said. “He can believe whatever he wants in his heart, but on paper he can’t convert,” Husseini told the administrative court, according to the member of Hegazy’s legal team. Link
It is not true that Mohammed Hegazy “conversion application was not successful as he did not follow the correct legal processes” as the Egyptian ambassador said. The fact is there is no legal procedure for conversion from Islam to any other religion as conversion from Islam is not permitted under the Egyptian law and United Copts of Great Britain challenges the Egyptian government officials to produce a single document to proof an official conversion of one person from Islam to any other religion.
Further more, what is being said about “the positive ruling by the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court on 10 February 2008 allowing 12 Christian converts to Islam to reconvert back to Christianity” is not true as the judge Mohammed El-Husseini referred the Article 47 Civil and Personal Status law, under which they were allowed back to Christianity, to the Egyptian High Constitutional Court to validate it’s constitutionality as it contradict article II of the Egyptian Constitution which states that egypt is a Muslim country and Islamic Jurisprudance is the main source of legislation.
The 12 whom religion on their ID card still, and for many years to come, identify them as Muslims. The length of period they have to suffer is difficult to determine and could last many years.
The United Copts of Great Britain condemns the biased court ruling and ask the Egyptian government and its agencies including the Egyptian judiciary to show justice and respect for Human Rights of the Christian population of Egypt and to do it’s best to fight infiltration of the government agencies by Radical Islamists and to bear in mind its duty and responsibility to treat all its citizens equally.