Conversion from Islam to Christianity is an insult to Islam, according to the Egyptian authorities. Islamic Tolerance Alert from Compass Direct:
A Muslim sheikh jailed in Egypt for 18 months has declared from his prison cell that he is under arrest for “insulting Islam” by becoming a Christian.
Egypt’s secret police transferred Bahaa el-Din Ahmed Hussein el-Akkad, 57, to the Wadi el-Natroun Prison last month. He was told he would remain there indefinitely unless he agreed to work as a government informer against other converts to Christianity.
According to the prisoner’s Cairo attorney, Athanasius William, his client remains incarcerated in this desert prison “only because he has chosen a different belief, to be a Christian.”
El-Akkad was imprisoned without charges for more than a year after officials of the State Security Investigation (SSI) arrested him in Cairo on April 6, 2005.
Although subjected to repeated interrogations, the former Muslim was never told the specific accusations against him. But several of his cellmates spread rumors that he was converting and baptizing people into Christianity, sparking verbal abuse and at least one severe beating from a fellow prisoner.
When the courts finally ordered El-Akkad’s release from provisional detention 10 weeks ago, SSI authorities deliberately ignored the ruling. Instead, they held him in their Gaber Ibn Hayyan office in Giza and then transferred him to the Wadi el-Natroun Prison, located 60 miles north of Cairo along the highway to Alexandria.
William told Compass it was strictly illegal for the SSI to have re-arrested El-Akkad and jailed him indefinitely “without the orders of a legally authorized official,” as required under Article 280 of the Egyptian penalty laws.
Disillusioned with Islam
In a series of handwritten notes smuggled out of prison in recent months and obtained by Compass, El-Akkad declared that he had “chosen the Christian faith” after years of research on Islam.
For more than 20 years, the former sheikh was a member of the fundamentalist Islamic group Tabligh and Da”wa, which actively proselytized non-Muslims but strictly opposed violence. He also led a mosque community in Al-Haram, in the Giza area adjacent to Cairo. In 1994 he had published, Islam: the Religion, a 500-page book reviewing the traditional beliefs of the Islamic faith.
But he became disillusioned, and five years ago the sheikh said he began to pray that he could somehow know God personally. It was not until January 2005 that he talked for the first time with someone who explained the tenets of the Christian faith to him. He began intensive study of Christian Scripture, and within weeks he became a follower of Jesus.
“This is a proof to all Muslims,” El-Akkad wrote, “that the person who studies the two religions from an objective and serious perspective will choose the Christian approach.”…
Although Egypt’s Christian citizens are free to embrace Islam and obtain legal Muslim identities, Muslim citizens are not allowed to change their religious identity. Those who become Christians are subjected to severe harassment by the SSI, which often arrests converts for either insulting Islam or “threatening national security.”