A criminal court in the central Egyptian city of Beni Suef meted out the shocking sentence last week, according to the Arabic-language Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm. Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam when she married Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab Mustafa, a Muslim, 23 years ago. He later died, and his widow planned to convert her family back to Christianity in order to obtain an inheritance from her family. She sought the help of others in the registration office to process new identity cards between 2004 and 2006. When the conversion came to light under the new regime, Nadia, her children and even the clerks who processed the identity cards were all sentenced to prison.
Samuel Tadros, a research fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, said conversions like Nadia’s have been common in the past, but said Egypt’s new Sharia-based constitution “is a real disaster in terms of religion freedom.”
“Now that Sharia law has become an integral part of Egypt’s new constitution, Christians in that country are at greater risk than ever. The cases will increase in the future,” Tadros said. “It will be much harder for people to return to Christianity.”
President Mohamed Morsi, who was elected last June and succeeded the secular reign of Hosni Mubarak, who is now in prison, pushed the new constitution through last year.
The most interesting fact about this story is that those hearing it probably think it is something tragic, but rare. In truth, these are daily occurrences in North Africa, Southern Asia and the Middle East. Every Christmas and Easter, churches are burned and Christians are slaughtered. Even in the relatively pecaeful countries, Oman for example, where my parents currently live, simply telling a non-Christian about Christianity (proselytizing) is illegal. Thankfully, you’re not likely to be charged with anything unless someone turns you in. Non-islamic religious gatherings are not permitted in homes, but only in locations specifically set aside by the government. You can’t distribute non-islamic religious literature to people outside your religious group. In fact, the basic philosophy is: you can practice your religion as long as you keep it to yourself and do nothing that the government does not like. (Where have I heard something similar?). Blasphemy, which could be anything from saying Allah is not God to accusing Muhammad of having sex with a nine year old girl is forbidden.
You’re probably picturing some sort of hellhole, right? No, Oman is a quiet, beautiful and safe place. Safe, that is, for those who do as they are told. If you believe the citizens, the Sultan (King) is the best thing since Netflix. Some people occasionally make mistakes – over the summer, a number of people were arrested for insulting the Sultan but it’s nothing like Saudi Arabia where Christians were arrested for ‘plotting to celebrate Christmas‘. At least that’s what I think. I don’t really know what would happen if my parents were to put a Christmas display in their yard in December. I doubt they want to find out.
The most painful part of this is not the silence in the mainstream media. It’s the fact that every church burning, mass slaughter, execution, imprisonment is greeted with the insistence that those are just the ‘radical Muslims’. The whole bloody Muslim world is like that! I often think that there are only two types of Muslims in the world: those who persecute others and those who with their money, silence, ignorance, or self delusion, support the persecution.
I write that in anger and honesty. It is immoral to see evil around you and do nothing to stop it. In a moral society, the strong fight for the weak. But it is not so on earth. Atheists get their whiskers in a bunch because high school cheerleaders have Bible verses on their banners. ‘Christians’ live as if the most important things in their lives is the latest news about Kim Kardashian. Muslims respond with fury that someone is terrified that the heavily bearded Arabic speaking man is going to behead them – the Islamophobes. And the cries of those Buddhists, Christians, and atheists oppressed in communist, atheist and Muslim regimes are met with crickets.
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ keeps a list of reported Islamic attacks. Their count for the last week is 209 dead bodies and 358 critically injured.