Last week, Compass Direct News published the following with regards to the Christian case in Egypt:

Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court heard a final appeal last week for 45 Coptic Christian citizens who were denied their attempt to legally reclaim their Christian identities after officially converting to Islam.

Of the 45 plaintiffs, half were adults when they changed the required religion section on their national identity cards from Christian to Muslim. The remainder were children whose Coptic parents had become Muslims. All have declared they want to return to their Christian faith.

Arguing before presiding Judge Essam Eddin Abdel-Aziz on June 18, Coptic lawyer Naguib Gabriel declared that a lower administrative court’s April ruling against his 45 clients’ joint-action suit had “embarrassed the Egyptian government at an international level.”

“This [refusal] says that the government is forcing people to embrace beliefs against their free will,” Gabriel said. “It is forcing them according to their official papers to belong to a religion they don’t believe in.”

Further in the article, the worrying case of Baha’is is also mentioned:

Although next week’s verdict will directly affect citizens from Christian background, it will also impact the legal stalemate against both the tiny Baha’i religious community and Egypt’s growing number of ex-Muslims who have become Christians.

“This verdict indirectly targets converts to Christianity, and the Baha’is, too,” one former Muslim in Cairo told Compass. “During the past three years, it had become so much easier for former Christians to change back,” he said, referring to the first watershed decision in April 2004, which permitted a Coptic-born woman who had converted to Islam to recover her legal Christian identity. “Now, this ruling is saying, indirectly, that it is impossible to let any Muslim change his religious identity.”

Visit the news article to read more of the coverage.

Here is also a news clip (Arabic) in the Al Masry Al Youm newspaper [click for larger image:]

(Hat tip for the news clipping: Bilo)

There is no justification for Egypt’s unnecessary and unreasonable religious restrictions. Our duty as Muslims is to be accepting and peaceful as opposed to enforcing our beliefs on others. If the Koran itself rewards people of other faiths, as stated in this verse here:

2:62 – “Verily they that believe and those of Jewry and the Christians and those Sabaeans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day,
and do what is right, their rewards await them with their Lord, and fear shall not come upon them, neither shall they be grieved.”

Then why should Egypt not recognize these basic rights?

Islam emphasizes interfaith, personal freedom, and good deeds, while Egypt punishes them. Does it not agree with the words and teachings of Allah?

The Egyptian government should recognize Baha’i and Christian rights, and allow its citizens to independently choose their own religious path without any strict or unfair process. If not, then as we stated before in the below video, Egypt has no place in the UN’s Human Rights Council:

In its human rights pledge to the UN, Egypt stated:

Egypt will also emphasize the importance of focusing on the objectives of poverty eradication, fighting racial discrimination and xenophobia, promoting cultural and religious tolerance, advancing the rights of women and children, and raising the overall global awareness of human rights with strong emphasis on the role of education.

Read full document here (word file.)

If Egypt truly believes this, then the government will no longer oppress minorities simply for having different beliefs. Why does Egypt claim to be religiously tolerant and in support of human rights if Baha’is, Christians, and even bloggers and activists remain to suffer throughout the country?

This isn’t the Egypt we should approve of. This isn’t our Islam. This isn’t anything we should stay silent about! Egyptian Muslims must take action and help oppressed religious minorities gain an equal and fair status so they can practice their faiths proudly and fearlessly. This is our true duty as Muslims.