It’s a room with no exit door.
From MEMRI (thanks to Looney Tunes):
A public debate has been underway in Egypt over the regime’s treatment of the country’s Christians. This debate emerged following lawsuits by Christians who had converted to Islam and then reconverted to Christianity, and who were now demanding that the Egyptian Interior Ministry issue them new official documents in their original names and with “Christian” in the “religion” entry field.
In April 2007, the Egyptian administrative court rejected an appeal by Christians who had converted to Islam and then reverted to Christianity, and also accused them of apostasy against Islam — the punishment for which is death, according to the common interpretation.
Two months after the court ruling, the plaintiffs’ appeal was accepted. The Supreme Administrative Court instructed the Interior Ministry to permit the plaintiffs to have their identity cards again denote them as Christians, and called for a new law banning “playing” with religions. Further ruling in the case was postponed until September 2007.(1)
The Egyptian religious establishment backed up the court’s rulings, and at the same time argued that repeated conversion creates confusion that endangers societal stability. The Egyptian press published articles with a similar view, claiming that religion should not be changed with the aim of obtaining material aims. In protest, representatives of the Christian community and human rights organizations in Egypt called this discrimination and violation of freedom of religion.
The following is a review of responses in the Egyptian press to the court ruling:
Egyptian Court: A Christian Who Converts to Islam and Reverts to Christianity is Murtadd(2)
In December 2005, Bashi Razaq Bashi, a Christian who converted to Islam, changing his name to Muhammad Razaq Mahdi, and who subsequently reverted to Christianity, filed a lawsuit against the Egyptian interior minister and the head of the civil affairs department for refusing to issue him an identity card and birth certificate in his original name and with his original religion in the “religion” entry field.(3) The court also had dozens of similar cases awaiting decisions.(4)
The court explained its actions by stating that Egypt’s constitution guaranteed the principle of equality of public rights and obligations and freedom of belief and worship, which are also anchored in the international conventions, without discrimination as to gender, origin, language, religion, or belief, as long as this did not harm the public order. At the same time, the court decided that shari’a law took precedence over international convention and the Egyptian constitution in establishing freedom of belief, stating that “there is no coercion in religion [Koran 2:256].”
However, the court ruling went on to state: “There is a big difference between freedom of belief and worship and the freedom that some seek to play with belief by moving between one religion and another for material aims. This game has two stages: first, playing with the [Christian] religion that [a person] adopts and in the name of which he receives official documents from the Interior Ministry and conducts social relations with the rest of the citizens, and second, playing with the religion [of Islam] to which he devoted himself for part of his life and during which he conducted social relations with others, with the intent of reverting to his first religion… “
Read it all.