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06/13/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Anti-Christian violence last week in Upper Egypt regarding a conversion case resulted in a reconciliation session that has led to an unsteady calm for Christians.

The incident started when a Christian woman voluntarily converted to Islam, left the village, then returned on Eid married and pregnant to a Muslim man. Initially, when it became known that she converted to Islam, her family had to temporarily flee the village because of harassment from their new Muslim in-laws. The woman’s return would cause mob violence targeting her family to spread through the village.

When the incident first began developing, a reconciliation session led the Christians to believe that the woman would not be allowed back into the village. This outcome was ignored by the authorities. A more recent reconciliation session expelled the woman from the village. The incident was also raised in Parliament.

While the outcome does ease the tension in the village, reconciliation sessions are inherently problematic. These sessions reinforce the concept that religious tension should be solved outside the law, a concept which often leads to further persecution. It is good that in this case the Christians were not expelled from the village a second time because of hardline Islamic harassment. However, the end result meant engaging in a process which is strategically detrimental to religious freedom.

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