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Egyptian family given jail term for restoring Christian names in Egypt

15 years in jail: Egyptian family charged for attempting to restore Christian names

ICC Note: A woman and her seven children were given a 15 year prison sentence for 'illegally' changing their Muslim names to Christian names on legal documents. The arrests are an early sign that religious freedom in Egypt is quickly deteriorating under the country’s Islamist-dominated government and the recently approved Islamic constitution.

01/16/2013 Egypt (RT) -An Egyptian mother and her seven children have been given lengthy jail sentences for illegally changing their names on official documents. The family wanted to use their Christian names again after a conversion following their Muslim father's death.

Nadia Ali Mohamed was born Christian but converted to Islam when she married her husband Mustafa Mohamed Abdel-Wahab. When he died in 1991, she wanted to go back to being a Christian, and pushed her seven children to convert.

In 2004, after the family had converted back to Christianity, they replaced their Muslim names on their identity cards with their Christian names. They had also moved to a different city of residence, which was changed on the documents as well.

Two years later, one of Mohamed’s sons was arrested by police at the information Center of Beni Suef, a town about 115 kilometers south of Cairo, where they were living at that time. Officials suspected that the boy's documents had been forged.

The boy confessed his conversion to Christianity, and said that the subsequent name changes in the documents were at the behest of his mother. When the police passed the case on, judges decided to bring charges against the mother and all of her children, as well as the seven clerks from the registration office who had changed the family's documents.

The entire family now faces 15 years behind bars for violating the Egyptian laws governing name changes; the clerks will be jailed for five years, Asia News web portal reported on the ruling Tuesday.

[Full Story]

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