Egyptian court sentences Christian family to 15 years for converting from Islam

egyptian-coptic-christian-007In latest news, an Egyptian court has sentenced a woman and her children to 15 years in prison for converting from Islam to Christianity.

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.

Map of Countries Hostile to Christians or in which Christianity is restricted

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. keeps a list of reported Islamic attacks. Their count for the last week is 209 dead bodies and 358 critically injured.

Joshua 24 – Reading Note

  • While the whole journey from Egypt has been riddled with stories of the Israelites sinning against God, they seem changed at the end of Joshua. When Joshua gives them a choice, they promise to worship only God, citing his care for them in rescuing them from Egypt and giving them a home. Joshua 24: 14 – 21

Joshua 3 – Reading Note

  • God wanted the people to know that he was with Joshua the way he had been with Moses. (3: 7)
  • Once again, God proceeds to give the Israelites proof that he was with them and would keep his promises. That was one of the things he hoped to achieve by drying the Jordan for them to pass (3: 9 – 13). It was a pretty awesome miracle.

Deuteronomy 29 & 30 – Reading Note

  • Foreigners were living with the Israelites all the while they were traveling to canaan. This probably included the Egyptians who had left Egypt with them (Deut 29: 9 – 11)
  • God said he was making his covenant not just with the Israelites present, but also with those who were not there. (Deut 29: 14, 15)
  • God made a strange promise to the Israelites. He said if they repented from their sins and turned to him, he would circumcise their hearts so they could love and serve him. He promised to do it after, not before. (30: 1 – 7)

Deuteronomy 27 – Reading Note

  • The importance of the law was made clear in a lot of passages, but God goes on to further immortalize it by commanding the people to write it on stones covered in plaster and set it up in a prominent place. (27: 1 – 8)

Verse to note:

‘ The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:…

“Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 “Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” ‘ – Deut 27: 14, 18, 19, 25.

Deuteronomy 26 – Reading Note

  • The Israelites were to identify with their ancestors. Instead of saying “our fathers were maltreated in Egypt”, they were to say “we were maltreated in Egypt”.

Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me. ” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household. – Deut 26: 5 – 11

Deuteronomy 25 – Reading Note – Let’s Discuss Women

  • The law demanded that flogging be limited to forty strokes. Any more would be degrading to the offender (25: 1 – 3).
  • If a man died without leaving a son, his brother had duty to his widow to marry her and give her children. There was no punishment for refusing to do so, but he would be shamed for his refusal.

“However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.”  That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.” – Deut 25: 7 – 10

  • If a two men were fighting and the wife of one of them grabs the other by his private parts, her hand was to be cut off (25: 11, 12). I have written about this before.
  • God detests anyone who acts dishonestly – like deceiving someone about the price of a good (25: 13 – 16). No exceptions? Like deceiving a potential murderer?
  • And finally, God told them not to forget what the Amalekites had done to them and to make sure they destroyed Amalek.

Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget! –Deut 25: 17 – 19